Law requiring pre-installed Russian software comes into force

Law requiring pre-installed Russian software comes into force

The long-promised Russian software legislation favouring local companies came into force late this week. Smartphones, computers and other smart devices purchased in Russia must now come pre-installed with Russian software.

As we reported last December, the law was adopted by the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, on the 21st of November – after three revisions – and then signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

This move aims to help Russian IT firms compete with foreign counterparts and to help the country as a whole to reduce its dependence on foreign companies and countries. The law apparently applies to smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, laptops and PCs produced after the first of April.

The apps on the list include internet browsers, search engines and maps and navigation providers, along with apps for using Russian payment system Mir.

However, this probably won’t be the end of the matter. A second package of more than 60 support measures for the industry is apparently already being discussed by government. Reuters suggests that further proposals could include tax breaks for Russian IT companies and a required local presence for non-Russian businesses.

Russia’s cellphone market is dominated by foreign companies. With the introduction of the new law, one of the biggest players, Apple, has had to agree to offer a way for users to install Russian software during iPhone setups. However, it insists that apps from Russian developers will need to be reviewed to ensure they comply with Apple’s standards for privacy, security and content.