Tech giant Apple has concluded its payment of a Russian fine amounting to 1.2bn roubles ($13.65m), as confirmed by Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) on Monday.

The antitrust agency had imposed the fine over allegations of Apple abusing its dominant market position, specifically in relation to in-app payments. Apple has previously expressed its respectful disagreement with a FAS ruling.

The FAS contended that Apple’s distribution of apps through its iOS operating system conferred a competitive advantage over its own products.

According to the FAS, Apple completed the payment on 19 January, with the funds promptly transferred to Russia’s federal budget. This settlement follows a similar occurrence in February 2023 when Apple paid a fine of around $12.1m in response to another antitrust case, accusing the company of exploiting its dominance in the mobile apps market.

The fine levied comes at a time when regulation has become a top concern for technology companies, according to GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence Tech Regulation report.

The company’s filings analytics database found that regulation was a greater concern than many other technology themes that tech leaders are facing, including ESG, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

The fine against Apple also comes as Russia has consistently been engaged in disputes with foreign technology companies, particularly over concerns about unlawful content and the storage of user data. These tensions escalated after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

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By GlobalData

In response to the invasion of Ukraine, Apple temporarily halted all product sales in Russia and restricted its Apple Pay service in the country.

The geopolitical backdrop adds complexity to the regulatory landscape as tech giants navigate the intricacies of global market dynamics.

Russian courts also fined the tech giant in August 2023 for not deleting “inaccurate” content about what Russia has called a “special military operation” in Ukraine. 

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russia has issued a spate of fines against Western tech giants. Wikipedia received seven fines totalling 8.4m roubles ($103,000) as of April 2023; Tinder and Twitch-owner Match Group received a fine of 10m roubles ($104,000); and Reddit received its first ever Russian fine, around 4m roubles $43,895 ($43,895) in August.

As of January 2024, fines levied against YouTube, Meta, TikTok and Telegram by Russia had all been withdrawn from the state bailiff’s database.