Confirming observations made by journalists, Russian minister Nikolai Nikiforov said that Russian government officials have swapped their iPads for Samsung‘s tablets not so long ago. This was supposedly prompted by fears of the US using Apple’s products to spy on the Russian government.
The US spying on other countries’ governments isn’t exactly news but recent incidents, particularly the situation with the Crimea peninsula, have only served to heighten Russia’s fears. Of course, Apple has always denied complicity in any of the US government’s spying activities, especially within the US itself, but that could just mean they aren’t explicitly aware of it.
To be clear, Nikiforov says that dumping the iPads isn’t a sanction on US products, in response to West’s own sanctions against Russia over issues involving Ukraine. They are, however, mindful that the US will now keep an even closer eye on Russia, prompting many in the government to rethink their preference of brands. The minister also pointed out that Samsung devices, especially more recent ones, exhibit special security features that are designed for the handling of critical information, most probably referring to the Samsung KNOX framework.
This recent move by government officials can practically open up the mobile device market not just to Samsung, but to Chinese manufacturers and even homegrown ones. Inside Russia itself, Yandex is poising itself to be the Google of the region, providing Yandex.kit, it’s counterpart to Google Mobile Services, for other Russian manufacturers to use for their own mobile devices.