Top tech companies offer unbiased services that include search function or maps. But, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Google and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) favored Russia and accommodated annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in their maps.
Russia annexed Crimea in 2014
Russia took control of the Black Sea’s northern side in 2014. It has taken over Crimea from Ukraine during political unrest in that nation. According to world leaders, Russia intentionally helped the crisis in Ukraine to instigate further and took advantage of unrest in that nation. They said Russia violated the sovereignty of Ukraine using its military might.
Tech firms heed to the demands of Russia
Controversy regarding the annexation of Crimea is ongoing, but tech firms Google and Apple are in no mood to wait for the judgment of the history to incorporate changes in their maps. In the past, Crimea is part of Ukraine. Russia warned tech companies that referring Crimea as not its part is a criminal offense. Google and Apple heeded to the demands of Russia and made changes to the maps.
Apple now shows Crimea as part of Russia in its weather apps and maps. Authorities in Russia said Apple complied with its obligations and incorporated changes in applications. However, when viewed from the US, tech firms appear to be neutral. In the maps of both Apple and Google, Crimea neither belongs to Ukraine or Russia.
In the Google maps, a prominent borderline on the northern side separates the Crimea from the Ukraine province – Kherson Oblast. The borderline is missing between Crimea and Russia in both Google and Apple maps. Their decisions are based on local laws. A spokesperson of Google said it focuses on disputed regions in its maps. However, the company adheres to the local laws and makes appropriate changes in the maps specific to that region.
In October 2019, Apple received criticism for removing Taiwanese emoji from its iOS keyboard specific to Hong Kong. When someone searches for Crimea in the maps of Apple inside Russia, it appears as part of Russia. However, Crimea is not labeled as part of Russia when searched elsewhere in the world.