Apple is strengthening its support for Ukraine as it pauses all product sales in Russia. It is also blocking access to Russian media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik News from the App Store outside of the country.
In a statement sent to various media outlets, Apple aired its deep concern about the Russian invasion of Ukraine as the company stands with all of the people who are suffering because of the Russian government’s act of aggression. The Cupertino-based company is also supporting humanitarian efforts by providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, while at the same time providing support to the affected Apple team located in the region.
Apple joined other social media outlets such as Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube that have earlier blocked RT and Sputnik in Europe. Google for its part has removed the two Russian media outlets from its News search results.
Aside from pulling out RT and Sputnik News from all App Stores outside of Russia, Apple also disabled both traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine, similar to what Google did when it disabled live traffic and incident reporting from Google Maps.
Apple’s move could be the result of Ukraine minister, Mykhailo Fedorov’s recent call for Apple to stop product sales to Russia. The vice prime minister’s other request to block Russian access to the App Store remains to be answered though, as the Russian App Store is still available.
Suspending product sales to Russia won’t be such a big loss to Apple as the Russian market for Apple products and services is not that large; the iPhone’s market share is only about 15 percent in the country.
Additionally, Apple assures Ukraine and all those who are concerned that the company will continue to evaluate the situation and communicate with relevant governments on actions that the company will undertake in support of Ukraine.
Apple’s heightened show of support to Ukraine follows CEO Tim Cook’s recent letter to Italian developers urging them to utilize Apple technology in building something that will benefit humanity. True enough, if it continues to provide products and services to Russia, this will be counter to what the CEO was advocating in his letter. Hopefully, access to the Russian App Store will be disabled as well.