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Apple just paid a multi-million-dollar antitrust fine directly into Russia’s state budget

 Apple logo.
Apple logo.

In resolution to a longstanding antitrust dispute, Apple has reportedly paid a fine worth 1.2bn rubles (around $13.4 million) imposed by the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Services (FAS).

The payment, received by the Russian government on January 19, according to Russian news agency TASS, marks the end of a FAS investigation that started in July 2022.

The core issue centered around Apple’s alleged decision to force Russian iOS developers to use Apple’s payment tool within their applications, which the FAS claimed fostered an anticompetitve environment.

Apple pays $13m fine to Russia

The regulator said: “On January 19, 2024, Apple paid the fine. The money was received by the government of the Russian Federation.”

The fine of 1.178bn rubles was, at the time of issuance, worth around $17.4 million. Geopolitical circumstances have seen the value of the Russian ruble plummet, in turn dropping Apple’s fine considerably in terms of dollar value.

According to the FAS, “App Store rules prohibited iOS app developers from informing customers inside the app about the possibility of paying for purchases outside the App Store and using alternative payment methods.”

While Apple has clearly paid the fine, it remains unclear whether the tech giant has agreed to amend its App Store policy to encourage third-party payment options.

Despite ongoing challenges in Russia, Apple continues to operate its App Store in the country, even after suspending product sales and services like Apple Pay in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

However, certain sanctions have proven to be unsuccessful. Parallel imports, for example, are permitted, which means that other stores can still stock the latest Apple hardware.

TechRadar Pro asked Apple to share a comment on the fine, but the company did not immediately respond.

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