Tag - Russia
A new advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to increase taxes stemming from US companies trading in the country, in an attempt to try and make it easier for local competitors to take on their American counterparts. German Klimenko, the country's Internet czar, is going after Apple, Google, and Microsoft just six weeks after taking the role, with the taxation plan expected to help raise revenue for the government at the same time as making services such as Yandex and Mail.ru more attractive to citizens.
Apple is said to be making it easier for Russian iPhone users to be able to buy content from its online stores, by expanding carrier billing to the country. A report claims Apple is working with one mobile phone company to enable Carrier Billing, which allows for iTunes and App Store purchases to be charged directly to a mobile phone account, instead of requiring the use of a credit card or other standard payment method.
Apple is once again turning to the debt markets to finance its stock buyback and dividend payout programs, a new filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed. The iPhone maker will issue a new, €2 billion Euro (roughly $2.26 billion US) debt offering in order to continue to take advantage of extremely low interest rates. Only two notes will be offered, at €1 billion each, which will mature between January 2024 and the fall of 2027. The company last offered a Euro-based debt sale late last year.
Virgin America is upgrading its in-flight Wi-Fi service, claiming it will be powerful enough to stream video. Partnering with ViaSat to use its high-capacity 140-gigabit Ka-band satellite connection, it is said that Virgin America's in-flight Wi-Fi will be between eight and ten times faster than similar services on other aircraft, and close to connections available at home. Ten A320 planes will be the first to get the connection in September, with passengers on routes to Hawaii likely to benefit from the connections first.
Russian search engine Yandex has demanded that antitrust authorities investigate Google. Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has been instructed to look into Mountain View's bundling of services with mobile operating system Android, and how it impacts the market share of other companies' services in the country.
Apple has extended its actions against Russia by blocking authorized retailers from selling or shipping products in Crimea in accordance with sanctions, reports say. The measure was first mentioned on Twitter by blogger and consultant Eldar Murtazin, and then picked up by Russian media. The move follows the termination of all developer agreements with Apple and software makers located in the region. The measures take effect on February 1.
The tiny region of Crimea, recently annexed by Russia, has fallen victim to sanctions imposed against Russia by the US and European Union -- one aspect of which has been Apple's new notification to developers in the region that they are now suspended from the developer program and no longer allowed to sell programs in the App Store. The developer agreement have been terminated, effective immediately, in compliance with a US executive order, though there is a potential workaround.
Apple's Russian online store is back online, following an almost week-long downtime. The store was taken down to review and change prices -- and accordingly, many products are now substantially more expensive. A 16GB iPhone 6 is now 53,990 rubles, or about $988, far higher than the 34,990 rubles ($643) it sold for previously. A Retina iMac starts at 189,990 rubles, or $3,467. The same system is $2,499 in the US.
Apple is increasing the prices of both apps and in-app purchases at the Russian App Store, according to a new memo issued to developers. An app that would normally be $1 in the US, for example, is now 62 rubles. That indicates that apps have almost doubled in cost in Russia during 2014, though the increase is largely due to recent currency pressures.
Apple is temporarily shutting down its Russian online Apple store while it reviews pricing, according to company spokesman Alan Hely. The value of the country's currency, the ruble, dropped 19 percent today, despite attempts to stall a months-long decline using an interest rate increase. Apple's reaction is unusually sharp, given that the company normally just adjusts prices on-the-fly in foreign stores if there's a significant currency fluctuation. In November, it hiked the Russian cost of the iPhone 6 by 25 percent.