March 2022


Russian Invasion of Ukraine Impacts Apple World

I won’t pretend to be an expert on international affairs, but it doesn’t take expertise to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Whatever Vladimir Putin’s trumped-up excuse may be, setting the mighty machines of war in motion is inexcusable, especially in today’s modern, interconnected world. If nothing else, the COVD-19 pandemic has shown just how dependent we all are on one another.

Nothing I can say or do will have any impact on the actual conflict, but I wanted to remind readers that this is not just some tempest in a teapot on the other side of the world. Ukraine has a flourishing Apple development community that’s home to MacPaw (Setapp, Clean My Mac X, Gemini, and more), BeLight Software (Live Home 3D, Swift Publisher, and more), Readdle (PDF Expert, Spark, and more), CS Odessa(ConceptDraw), and Skylum (Luminar), among others. I’ve corresponded with all of these companies over the years, and several have sponsored TidBITS at various times. More personally, I hung out with Julia Petryk and Oleksandr Kosovan at the Jamf Nation User Conference in November 2019, I’ve enjoyed chatting with Irene Stepanovska and others from BeLight at several Macworld Expos, and way back in 2004, folks from BeLight gave me some Ukrainian gifts (see “BeLight Software Sponsoring TidBITS,” 29 November 2010):

Despite their far-off location in Ukraine, I had the pleasure of meeting a few of the BeLight folks at Macworld Boston in 2004; we had corresponded previously and they kindly brought me a few small presents to remember them by, including some excellent Ukrainian vodka and a tiny statue of the Duc de Richelieu, a French nobleman who is considered one of the founding fathers of Odessa and subsequently became Prime Minister of France. He still stands on my desk, reminding me of just how small the world has become.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but these are real people, and I’m worried about them and their families. Their companies are working to protect them and maintain continuity for their customers—MacPaw and Readdle have issued statements, and BeLight has posted a short note on Twitter. And Julia Petryk, who has been staying in a bomb shelter, pointed us to the Help Ukraine Win page, which collects various ways to help Ukrainians. I wish them all the best and fervently hope that they can return to their regular lives soon.

The Russian invasion has caused other ripples in the Apple pond. Frank Blome, CEO of ProjectWizards, has announced that his company is stopping all business with Russia and is calling on other developers to do the same. Given that Merlin Project could be used by Russia in managing the invasion effort and the fact that ProjectWizards likely knows who their clients are, it’s not hard to see what might have triggered Blome’s statement.

On an even wider stage, the economic sanctions imposed by the US, UK, European Union, and Australia have resulted in those governments freezing the assets of Russian banks. That has resulted in the suspension of Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other digital wallets in Russia. Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov has called on Tim Cook to stop selling Apple products to Russia and block Russian access to the App Store. Apple hasn’t responded to that request, though Tim Cook has posted on Twitter, calling for peace and saying that Apple is supporting humanitarian efforts.


One thing you can do is remain vigilant for Russian cyberattacks. The US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has published Shields Up, a page offering cybersecurity guidance for organizations and recommendations for corporate leaders. As usual, its advice is probably more urgent for Windows-focused organizations, but particularly with the prevalence of the iPhone and Pegasus-like hacking software out there, Apple users can’t afford to be complacent.

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