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Apple Halts Online Sales in Russia as Ruble Plummets

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After a series of “extreme” fluctuations in Russia’s currency–the ruble–California-based Apple Inc. has made the decision to halt the online sales of its products there, the iPhone 6 included, as the company reviews a strategy to deal with Russia’s economic crisis.

Apple only provides its products online, as it does not have any stores there, according to Bloomberg. However, the tablets and smart phones are still available through some Russian carriers and retailers.

Until late November, Apple had refused to increase the price of its iPhone 6, making Russia the most reasonable place in Europe to buy it, at $700 a pop, Bloomberg notes. Last month, Apple increased the price of the iPhone 6 by 25% in an attempt to offset the fluctuations.

Russia faced a currency meltdown on December 16, which prompted Russia’s Central Bank to raise interest rates by a staggering 62%, inflating the value of the ruble before the currency collapsed, closing the day with the ruble down by 20%.

According to Andrew Bartels, an analyst at the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Forrester Research Inc., “Anything you earn there now in rubles is going to be coming back to dollars or into euros at very depressed rates, so the bottom line for tech vendors right now should wisely be pulling back from Russia as Apple has done.”

This past November, a 2013 memorial to late Apple Inc. founder, Steve Jobs, was dismantled from St. Petersburg, Russia, citing the need for Russia to abide by a law combating “gay propaganda.” The decision came just one week after Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook announced that he is gay.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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