Apple CEO Tim Cook has received high marks for maintaining an ongoing dialog with President Trump amid the turmoil of growing trade war battles. War is hell and battles are won and lost, but cozying up to and kowtowing to dictators could have an unhappy ending.
News in recent weeks has been filled with issues in China and Hong Kong, U.S. trade war tariffs, Russia and Crimea on Apple Maps, and now another problem Apple needs to fix.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed legislation requiring all smartphones, computers and smart TV sets sold in the country to come pre-installed with Russian software.
iPhones, iPads, and Macs come pre-installed with applications, and each device can display a variety of languages from around the world, Russian included.
This new law requires Apple to put Russian applications on each device.
Who controls which apps go on each device?
The law has been presented as a way to help Russian IT firms compete with foreign companies and spare consumers from having to download software upon purchasing a new device.
Is that what Russia really wants? Or, is this merely an opportunity to put spy and tracker apps on each device?
This is exactly the kind of behavior you see in totalitarian states where dictators want to run the show, unimpeded by outside influence, so they can control their country’s citizens. They also put restrictions on internet access, destroy the free press, and suppress both competition dissidents.
Getting in bed with dictators has ramifications. Is Tim Cook’s Apple sleeping with an enemy?