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Silicon Valley is boycotting Russia over Ukraine invasion


Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at an Apple event in Cupertino (California), September 10, 2019.

Stephen Lam | Reuters

It has become more difficult for Russians to get access to the best technology in the world by Silicon Valley’s top tech companies. President Vladimir PutinContinues his invasion in Ukraine

Most of these actions were taken to comply with U.S. sanctions.

AppleIt started the ball rolling Tuesday, when it declared it was halting sales in RussiaiPhones, iPads MacBooks, Macs, and All Other Products

CCS Insight chief analyst Ben Wood stated that “They are leading from the front” and added that it puts pressure on rival firms to follow.

The Cupertino-headquartered firm also said that it removed Russian state-backed media outlets RT News and Sputnik News from its App Store around the world except for Russia.

Google has removed both news outlets from its Play Store in Europe too.

The Mountain View search giant told CNBC on Friday that it is also suspending all advertising in Russia.

The decision comes after Russia’s internet watchdog, Roskomnadzor, accused YouTube, a division of Google, of running large ad campaigns to misinform Russians about the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

“In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we’re pausing Google ads in Russia,” a Google spokesperson said.

“The situation is evolving quickly, and we will continue to share updates when appropriate,” they added.

Meanwhile, home-sharing platform Airbnb, said it is suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus.

Brian Chesky, the company’s CEO and co-founder, announced the move on Twitter late on Thursday, three days after Airbnb said it will offer free, temporary housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Further up the West Coast in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft is also retreating from Russia.

Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog Friday that the company will “suspend all new sales of Microsoft products and services in Russia” and stop “many aspects of our business in Russia in compliance with governmental sanctions decisions”. Microsoft didn’t clarify how and if it plans to continue supporting existing customers in Russia.

The question now is how much further will the tech giants go?

Earlier this week, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, called on Apple CEO Tim Cook to finish the job and block App Store access in Russia.

He also urged Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation to stop supporting Russian markets and “temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts.”

MetaHas said it hopes to stay online in Russia so that it can help to counter the propaganda that is being shared on its platform.

Nick Clegg said, “We think turning off our services at a crucial moment would silence important expression.” recently named the company’s vice president of global affairsOn Sunday, he wrote:

Chinese technology companies have, in the meantime, been notably quiet. Huawei is one of the companies. Xiaomi AlibabaCNBC reached out to them about cutting their Russian business and they declined to respond.

TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance is one of only a few Chinese companies that has taken action. TikTok announced it would limit access to RT in Europe and Sputnik there.