US tech giant Apple has reportedly paid a fine of 1.2 billion roubles ($13.65 million) to the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), settling an alleged case of abusing its dominant market position concerning in-app payments. The FAS announced on Monday that the fine had been paid on January 19, and the funds were subsequently transferred to Russia’s federal budget.
Apple, which did not provide an immediate response to requests for comment on Monday, had previously expressed its disagreement with the FAS ruling. The antitrust agency argued that Apple’s distribution of apps through its iOS operating system granted the company’s products a competitive advantage.
This is not the first time Apple has found itself in hot water with Russian authorities over antitrust issues. In February 2023, the FAS disclosed that Apple had paid a fine of approximately $12.1 million in another case related to the alleged abuse of its dominance in the mobile apps market.
Russia has been engaged in disputes with various foreign technology companies for several years, focusing on concerns such as what Moscow considers unlawful content and the failure of these companies to store user data locally. Tensions escalated notably after Russia deployed troops to Ukraine in February 2022.
As a response to the conflict in Ukraine, Apple halted all product sales in Russia and implemented limitations on its Apple Pay service in the country. These actions by Apple underscore the broader impact of geopolitical events on the strategies of multinational tech corporations.
While Apple’s settlement with the Russian FAS resolves the immediate issue, the broader context of technology companies navigating geopolitical tensions continues to shape their operations and relationships with global regulators.