Russia threatens to nationalize Apple, seize assets

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What you need to know

  • Apple is under the threat of nationalization in Russia.
  • Russia is planning to seize the assets of 59 major foreign brands that have stopped operations in the country.
  • It could see companies like Apple, McDonald's, Microsoft, and others placed under external management, nationalized, and more.

Multiple reports indicate that Russia is threatening to nationalize companies that have stopped operations in the country, including Apple.

From CNN:

Russia said it could seize the assets of Western companies that have suspended operations in the country.Dozens of American, European and Japanese companies from almost every sector of the economy have abandoned joint ventures, factories, stores and offices in the last two weeks in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the ensuring sanctions

Vladimir Putin reportedly told government officials on Thursday that Russia was considering plans to introduce "external management" to companies that had stopped operating in the country as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. That would include Apple, as well as companies like Microsoft, IBM, McDonald's, IKEA, and more. Putin reportedly said "We need to act decisively with those [companies] who are going to close their production... it is necessary, then ... to introduce external management and then transfer these enterprises to those who want to work."

The measures could see the accounts and assets of such companies seized, or could see them placed under external management or nationalized. Apple does not operate any retail stores or manufacturing in the country, but does have staff located in the country including a corporate office opened in February to comply with government law.

A multitude of companies, including Apple, have stopped operating in Russia as a direct response to its invasion of Ukraine. Russia has responded with its own measures, including banning many Western media outlets and apps including Instagram, which will go dark from Monday, March 14. Apple has stopped selling products in the country through its online store, and has de-platformed state-sponsored news outlets Russia Today and Sputnik. It means devices like Apple's best iPhone, the iPhone 13, are not available to purchase through the company's website. Third-party resellers who are still operating have increased their prices by 50% since the invasion began.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • Then what hmm
  • I am neutral but I will say this in a nice way without getting too political you push a bear in a corner it will strike back nobody’s listening the bear is hungry it will fight for room so who’s right who’s wrong there’s two sides of the story we have questions of the UN and I’m not gonna say one world order because if it did that would lead into war war is a very big word to many people using it in the wrong way so put a bear in a corner walk up to it see what happens it’s going to charge you it’s going to attack because no one is feeding the bear is the bear fair a bear doesn’t care about anything get the point so if you wanna listen to the lies there’s always two sides of the story I didn’t say who’s right or who’s wrong who is unfair I’m not talking about death and not talking about life I’m not talking about emotional stuff the government is not emotional
  • Russia's war is really a distraction from its true goal: resource control. Putin sees the way the world is headed and knows that he who controls the ever scarcer resources controls the world. Russia invaded the Ukraine to make a point about its might. Their rubbish excuses about the purity of the Ukraine or being backed into a corner are ludicrous. Did Russia feel threatened by the NATO superpower on its eastern doorstep and invade Alaska? No, and why do you think this is? Ukraine was an easy target to make an example of. The war also coincidentally sent prices for Russian exports (mainly to neutral countries like China and India) skyrocketing.
  • "Did Russia feel threatened by the NATO superpower on its eastern doorstep and invade Alaska? No, and why do you think this is? Ukraine was an easy target to make an example of." Well I disagree with most of what you wrote, but regardless Ukraine wasn't the easy target Russia anticipated. And China is many things but neutral is never one of them.
  • Russia assumed Ukraine would be an easy target and yes, they were indeed wrong. The Russian war has also backfired for Putin's divide and conquer strategy he has been playing for the last decade. All our big western shakeups like the election of Trump and Brexit were all achieved via the Russian disinformation machine. They served to divide and demoralise and it bloody well worked! But the invasion of Ukraine has united the west against Russia and whilst our extraction of Russian resources from our economy might prove to be painful it is the right thing to do. China might not be neutral on many things but it has niether decried nor supported Putin's campaign.
  • I know what are they expect to do start building Apple phones? They don't have any technology to do so no support from Apple and no parts same with every other company they want to hijack. They want to keep all the a320s they're leasing it's like and do what? You can't get parts.
  • More importantly iOS is what makes iPhone an iphone and they won't have that. So basically they will have an iphone knock off device running android.
  • As a consequence we deleted all configurations and certificates for backup access for our former Russian customers. Not sure what Putin is trying to achieve here.
  • Reassembling the Soviet Union, one-by-one.
  • The Russian government must realize if they do this, there will never be another foreign investment in their country. Russia will become a black hole. Russia = North Korea. Very, very bad idea.
  • How much foreign investment do Russia have, if Russia seize our assets, we, and the world seize theirs, who will lose more at the end?? Will Putin’s generals allow him to destroy their assets?
  • Why do you say our asset... It's not your asset, it's not mine. It's asset of Billionaire. Who care really.
  • It's a criminal regime run by a murderer. I think I can speak for most human beings when I say ... go f yourself Russia!
  • I can only imagine what cheap knock off Russian version of Apple, Micki Dee's, etc...
    "I'll have the sturgeon royale with cheese and an order of borscht"
  • I can't see this being much of a success for Russia taking over someone's business What are they going to do with Apple it's not like Russia can manufacturer the phones and iPads as apple keeps their manufacturering process secret and I don't see Apple leaving much behind when they pull out and pretty much the same could be said for other companies And how will they recreate the flavours and standards that makes McDonald's tasty how will they get the supplies as the supplies would come from a McDonald's warehouse it's not like they can get such supplies from a 7/11 And if any of these companies had any sense they wouldn't keep company money in Russia or would at least been aware of something kicking off and transfered money out before the $hit it the fan I mean if I was a business owner that would of been the first thing I would do And if I was closing a business down I would take with me all that I can especially important stuff that makes a company operate and what I cannot take then destroy it or burn the darn place down ( prob not a good idea buring it down but hay ) End of the day I hope these companies make it difficult or better still make it impossible for the seizes company to operate As for all those planes they are threatening to seize I would say go ahead seize the f**kers but don't forget how many billions of money that has been seized by Western powers that's enough to compensate the plane owners for their losses .. And I'm not sure on this but as these planes need to be registered before they are allowed in international skies couldn't the aviation Authorities just blacklist those planes and prevent them from leaving Russia or better from leaving the ground I would assume that's possible but do correct me if I am wrong I cannot see how Russia can pull this tactic off they may get the business but they won't be able to get the supplies required to run it so essentially they are f**kes
  • I would think that any hardware seized by Russia could easily be blocked/bricked by Apple when trying to register. I don't think you can do much with those devices unless they are registered in some kind of way.
  • Putin wants to Nationalize many US Companies because they didn't go with his flow in Ukraine.
    Many of these US Companies didn't go along with the flow of We The People.
    They sold their souls to the Neo Marxist movement in America with their dirty billions to Neo Marxist Black Lives Matter.
    What goes around comes around.
  • I fail to see what effect a move like this would have on Apple at all. With no manufacturing in the country there is nothing to nationalize and take over. And with no stores in the country, what is there to take possession of and then use? This is just an empty threat and nothing can come of it.