EghtesadOnline: To evade the possibility of facing US penalties, South Korean tech titan Samsung has curbed Iranians’ access to some of its Galaxy Store services.
Iran IT Organization reprimanded the South Korean firm in a letter signed by Mohammad Jafar Nanakar, the government agency’s deputy for legal affairs, Financial Tribune reported.
The letter points to Samsung’s longstanding presence in Iran and its share in the country’s smartphone market. The company has a 53% share of Iran’s smartphone and tablet market.
Cautioning Samsung about discriminating against Iranian users, Nanakar told Financial Tribune, “Iran might limit Samsung’s access to the Iranian market.”
In response to the government rebuke, Samsung has sent the Tribune a statement that reads, “Samsung’s commitment to its users all over the world, including Iran, is to assure any service such as Galaxy Store is safe, reliable and sustainable. In this regard, we decided to take precautionary steps to assure continued free services available to Iran market. Thus, and due to money transfer issues and possibility of inconvenience for our paid content users, we will suspend and revise our paid services until further decisions so that Galaxy Store players and stakeholders can securely develop their paid services in coordination with our general mission.”
The statement further said, “The precautionary steps exclusively affect our paid services, and free contents and services on Samsung Galaxy Store will remain accessible to all our users in Iran.”
This is not the first time Samsung limits its services in Iran. In January 2019, the firm revised its smartphone warranty terms in the country.
Following the new rules, if a mobile phone is harmed due to the installation of any locally-developed application, the device warranty would still be valid. However, Samsung can charge the customer for damages caused by the app.
Nanakar told Financial Tribune, “We were notified that Samsung could terminate the warranty offered on its smartphones, if users installed apps developed by local companies, which were mostly offered via homegrown app stores.”
Due to the US sanctions, many Iranian firms have been barred from offering their applications through international app stores like Google Play and Samsung’s Galaxy.
On several occasions and without prior notice, Google has removed applications of Iranian developers published on its app store by citing the US restrictions.
Other smartphone makers have also curbed Iranian users’ access to their services. For instance, Apple Inc. has banned Iranian developers from publishing their products on its App Store, rendering iDevices almost useless in the country.