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Apple to Russia: Don't Like Our Map? We'll Fix It

Apple agrees to label Crimea as part of Russia
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2019 5:00 PM CST
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Apple CEO Tim Cook and President Donald Trump speak during a tour of an Apple manufacturing plant, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Austin.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – Using the Russian edition of Apple's App Store? Your Apple Maps and Weather apps, when used in Russia, show Crimea as being part of Russia. This after Russian authorities persuaded Apple to alter its maps and make the hotly contested territory part of Russia, the BBC reports. Seems Apple initially wanted to display Crimean territory as undefined—which Google does on its Maps app—but Apple complied after months of talks. "There is no going back," says Vasily Piskaryov, chair of the security and anti-corruption committee in Russian parliament's lower house, or State Duma. "Today, with Apple, the situation is closed—we have received everything we wanted." Leading the outcry against Apple's decision is former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos.

He called Apple's behavior "shameful" and said it highlights the "downsides of shipping a physical product," which gives governments "leverage." Ukraine's foreign minister compared the move to someone stealing an Apple design "but then somebody ignorant doesn't give a damn about your pain." Indeed, Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 despite Ukraine's contention that it's part of her homeland. Apple recently caused a stir with a similar appeasement of China by pulling a Hong Kong protest app from the App Store—not a huge surprise considering Apple's supply chain and massive customer base in China. "Why Apple would give into Russian demands, though, is much less clear," says Engadget. (Read about a recent prisoner swap that partly involved Crimea.)

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