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The Russian antitrust agency has raised concerns with Apple regarding restrictions on users’ payment options

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has imposed fines totaling approximately $26 million on Apple over the past two years. The antitrust agency recently addressed a letter to Apple, seeking clarification on why Russian users of Apple devices are restricted in accessing full functionality of banking and payment services.

Apple has not yet responded to requests for comment regarding the matter, which were made outside of U.S. business hours. The FAS has previously penalized Apple for what it considers to be abuses of its dominant market position, particularly concerning mobile app distribution and in-app payments.

In the past, Apple has expressed disagreement with FAS rulings that its iOS app distribution practices unfairly advantage its own products. However, the FAS contends that Apple’s policies have led to the exclusion of most Russian banks from the App Store. Furthermore, Apple’s restrictions prevent users from installing apps from sources other than the App Store, hindering the functionality of Russian banks and contactless payment services.

According to the FAS, Apple’s actions may constitute violations of antitrust laws, prompting the agency to request a detailed explanation from the company regarding its stance on the issue. This move reflects the FAS’s commitment to ensuring fair competition in the Russian market.

In response to regulatory pressures, Apple recently made significant concessions in Europe to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). Among these changes, Apple announced that developers would have the freedom to distribute their apps directly to consumers, bypassing the App Store if they choose to do so. This move represents a significant shift in Apple’s approach to app distribution and highlights the company’s willingness to adapt its policies in accordance with regulatory requirements.

Overall, the FAS’s inquiry into Apple’s practices underscores the growing scrutiny faced by tech giants regarding their market dominance and business practices. As regulators worldwide continue to monitor these companies closely, it is likely that further investigations and regulatory actions will follow to ensure fair competition and consumer protection in the digital marketplace.

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