According to the federal law on consumer protection, as well as government decree No. 1867, now all smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers and smart TVs on the Russian market must be sold with Russian software preinstalled. How this will turn out for a mass Russian buyer, Rosbalt asked the general director of the Institute for Internet Studies Karen Kazaryan.
– Karen Razmikovich, the first natural question: will we not be left without this most important type of technology from the 1st? Will the counters empty?
– No, they won’t. The new rules apply to goods introduced into circulation on April 1. For those devices that were imported and cleared through customs before the entry into force of the law, the requirements do not apply. In addition, according to the Ministry of Digital Science, devices imported after January 1, but before April 1, can also be sold without preinstalled programs. Of course, I’m not sure that all phones sold and in stock will have time to be updated, but stock remains can be safely sold.
What’s next? It is already known that the world’s largest manufacturers have met Russian legislation (including Apple, with which it was the most difficult to negotiate). They have already submitted new firmware (operating system versions) updated in accordance with our law. Manufacturers have chosen the path of the so-called “selection window”: at the first start, you will simply be offered to update the firmware, which will contain windows for installing Russian software. These companies cover 90 percent of the Russian smartphone market.
True, we still have a significant number of Chinese devices in circulation, ordered through AliExpress, but I do not think that anything will change in their relation, even if they do not formally comply with the law – you can always buy yourself a cheap device. There are some more exotic manufacturers that officially sell phones, but there are not very many of them. LG has had complaints, but now LG phones are not very popular. It can be assumed that some brands will stop selling through official distributors, but it will not be difficult to find them on sale – now this is how “gray” phones are sold.
– The second concern: will this lead to an increase in the price of gadgets?
– Is that insignificant. It seems to me that the growing dollar rate affects their rise in price much more than these “dressing up”.
– By the way: what, in fact, is changing so much: after all, almost all of us have for many years already had some or other gadgets on which domestic software is already installed: the same Yandex, at least …
– You shouldn’t cut everyone with the same brush: I, for example, do not have Yandex on my smartphone. But the absolute majority, of course, does. It’s just that until now this software was connected by private agreement of its Russian manufacturers and foreign manufacturers of gadgets.
It has now become a must. There are 16 main categories of different devices. For each of them, the Ministry of Digital Development has identified at least one domestic application that should be offered for installation. In turn, now 14 categories of software products have been approved for pre-installation on smartphones, and each of them must be accompanied by at least one application, and preferably two. It can be Yandex, Vkontakte, Mail.ru-mail, ICQ, MyOffis, Gosuslugi, a fairly extensive list.
Are there any problems along the way? There are some. The only acceptable method for manufacturers, in terms of both logistics and security, is to provide the user with a “window of choice”. This requires, first, an update of the operating system. Secondly, all applications from the list must be tested for compatibility with the device. For if it does not work correctly, the user will not figure out who is to blame.
If the first was more or less coped with, then, as I understand it, there were problems with the second. A number of manufacturers reported that they could not establish contacts with the developers of domestic software and test applications and include them in the pre-installation.
Somehow they will try to fulfill it. Based on the results of filling the bumps, by October they will write an updated version of the government decree, which will take into account all the bumps that have been filled. As it usually happens in Russia.
– And what about the complaints of the most advanced users about the quality of domestic software?
– But nobody takes away from the user the choice between Russian and foreign software. The only thing that can be troubling here from the point of view of market development is that, at least now, “the rich are getting richer” in our country. The pre-installation will increase the share of already known and popular applications.
Everything that is available by default gets a serious advantage over competitors that no one knows about yet. For example, when a few years ago the Federal Antimonopoly Service made a decision regarding Google to give the user a choice of a search engine, the share of Russian Yandex began to grow quite seriously. Despite the fact that nobody imposed Yandex. But if you poke a user with your face – here, they say, you have the opportunity to download such an application, he may be interested.
And if we now have some good application, promising, from Russian developers, but not the most popular, then it will be harder for it to break into the market. This reduces overall competition. The Ministry of Digital Industry and the Federal Antimonopoly Service are aware of this fact and plan to change something in this regard by October, when there will be a certain debriefing. Honestly, I don’t know how yet, I can’t find any good way, how to please everyone.
– Among the concerns, there was also such that the seller will now have to unpack the goods to install Russian software. After which this product immediately becomes “second-hand”. Really, whose headache is this?
– Draw. In the decree governing the pre-installation, it is quite clearly written that at the first start, the user must make his own choice. Why the seller should do this is not clear.
– And the question also arises, who should pay VAT on this security, since a Russian developer should provide it to the manufacturer free of charge?
– But with VAT – yes, there is a problem. This was forgotten when the law was adopted, we don’t have it otherwise. As far as I understand, some kind of clarification of the Federal Tax Service is being prepared in this regard. Like, “It’s okay, don’t worry, we’re changing the Tax Code right now.”
– And the last question: are some of our freedom-loving citizens beginning to fear that our special services will get more and more able to follow us through domestic software? Even if this is a conspiracy theory, you can understand these fears.
– Special services are already watching the telecom operators: let’s not forget that “according to the Yarovaya law”, all our negotiations are preserved. But if the user is worried about some applications in order to collect his data … I can admit that some abuse is possible here. Often, even without malicious intent, applications collect a lot of personal information, which, in principle, can be sold to the outside. Well, a particularly troublesome user can simply delete any applications. If something is suddenly not deleted, these are already claims not to officials, but to manufacturers, to whom some developers could have paid.
Interviewed by Leonid Smirnov