Samsung will be Putin dreaded Kremlin-approved shovelware on its phones, claims Russia

Now Ru?

illustration showing russian president vladimir putin winking

The Russian government, via mouthpiece RIA Novosti, has claimed Korean tech giant Samsung will comply with a controversial Russian law passed in November that forces smartphones and computers to come pre-installed with domestic-made shovelware.

"Samsung Electronics will be ready to meet the requirements of the Russian legislation provided by the regulator and adapt the company's activities in accordance with the adopted regulations," the state-owned wire service quoted a "representative" as telling it.

The Kremlin has framed this legislation, which takes effect this summer, as a way to provide domestic firms an advantage on their home turf.

Russia is home to a number of search and social-networking platforms across the CIS nations. The most notable of these are the Facebook-style VK, search platform/ride-sharing service Yandex, and Mail.ru, a search and email service partially owned by Alibaba.

Mail.ru also owns cross-platform instant messaging and VoIP client ICQ. Remember that?

Samsung already includes a few Russian-made apps on the phones it sells domestically. The firm regularly appears in the top-three smartphone vendors in Russia, alongside Apple and Huawei.

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Last December's app law has proven controversial. Russia, after all, is a country with a patchy human rights record, prompting some to interpret this legislation as a way to distribute spyware nationwide.

Some also regard it as an "Anti-Apple law", given the firm's steadfast refusal to allow third-party apps to come pre-installed on its phones and computers. This law, depending on how it's imposed, could force Apple to reconsider its presence on the Russian market.

Fines for non-compliance range between 50,000 and 200,000 roubles. And while this is a relatively insignificant sum for a large tech giant, it could prove punishing if the law was applied on a per-device basis.

We asked Samsung to comment and gave it more than ample time to reply. If we do finally hear from the company, we'll update the story. ®

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