Apple’s Irish tax woes deepen as European watchdog finds ‘illegal state aid’ unacceptable

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2014

The European Commission publicized its ruling that Apple benefited from a favorable Irish tax rate, arguing that Apple’s funneling of revenues and earnings to Ireland, where the Cupertino firm cut a favorable tax deal with the Irish government in the late 1980s and early 1990s, constitutes illegal state aid, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Responding to these accusations, Apple issued a written statement denying it’s received preferential treatment from the government of Ireland. Apple is urging the need for corporate tax reform, insisting its tax arrangements in Ireland are perfectly legal. Read More

 

This is what new ‘EU Internet’ switch in iOS 8 Beta 4 does for you

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 28, 2014

The most recent beta of iOS 8 has introduced an easily overlooked new option under the Cellular section of the iOS Settings app. It’s called ‘EU Internet,’ applies only to those traveling in the European Union and is a bit puzzling.

As a quick recap, exorbitant roaming charges for data downloads in the European Union have already been reduced in an effort to make prices more realistic for those using mobile devices outside their home country.

That’s just the beginning as the European parliament recently passed a new regulation, currently needing an approval by the Council of the European Union, that promises to render all roaming charges in the EU illegal by December 2015.

As a result, European customers will always pay the same price for all phone calls, text messages and mobile data usage everywhere in the EU… Read More

 

European Commission green-lights Apple’s $3B Beats buy

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 28, 2014

The European Commission has okayed Apple’s purchase of the Beats Music streaming-music service and Beats Electronics’ premium headphone business, concluding that the agreement would not be detrimental to consumers across Europe. This is an important though expected development as Apple hopes to complete the $3 billion transaction by the end of the September quarter, pending regulatory approval in the United States… Read More

 

EU officials upset as Apple remains mum on proposed IAP policy changes

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 18, 2014

In-App Purchase, a way overused feature which provides a way for supposedly free games and apps to ask users for cash in order to enable advanced features or unlock virtual items, is increasingly drawing ire of regulators across the globe.

In-App Purchases are notorious for fooling less-informed adults and kids into downloading so-called freemium apps so it’s no wonder the European Union officials have repeatedly warned that companies like Apple and Google should stop labeling free-to-download apps that contain In-App Purchases as “Free”.

Companies could soon be forced to make the “true cost of apps” unambiguously clear before purchase, according to a complaint the European Commission filed today… Read More

 

Belgian judge threatened to block Apple websites over EU warranty shenanigans

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 4, 2014

For quite some time now, Apple has been at odds with EU watchdogs who’ve been complaining a lot about the iPhone maker’s unacceptable stance and practices when it comes to educating EU buyers on their consumer rights.

At the heart of the issue: Apple’s unwillingness to explain to its users in an unambiguous manner that EU consumer laws entitle them to at least two years of coverage on consumer electronics.

As Apple’s standard warranty provides twelve months of coverage, the company was caught cunningly beating around the bush by attempting to upsell buyers to its pricey AppleCare+ extended protection plan, which it introduced last September in the United Kingdom, Italy, France and elsewhere in Europe.

Apple was even fined over this in Italy and now comes word that a Belgium judge has contemplated blocking access to all Apple websites in the country because the company has continued to mislead consumers about warranty protections available for products purchased from its brick-and-mortar and online stores… Read More

 

EU demanding ‘concrete answers’ from Apple and Google regarding in-app purchasing concerns

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 27, 2014

Reuters is reporting that The European Commission has invited Apple and Google to discuss a flurry of user complaints surrounding in-app purchases. The move follows numerous media reports that center on disgruntled parents who were shocked to find that their children racked up vast credit card bills by making content purchases in free-to-play games.

The Commission is arguing that it’s Apple’s and Google’s responsibility not to misleading consumers. The Commission also called upon greedy app creators to provide “very concrete answers” in respect to in-app purchasing concerns… Read More

 

Apple, Samsung and others demand patent trolling protection from EU judges

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 25, 2014

After asking the United States Supreme Court to approve of stiffer penalties for patent trolls who bring frivolous lawsuits against them, Apple and Samsung – along with seventeen other technology companies – have joined forces and issued a letter to the European Union asking for limits on injunctions in patent infringement cases.

As reported by Bloomberg, the companies are asking EU judges to curb patent trolls and introduce anti-trolling changes into Unified Patent Court and the upcoming European Unitary Patent systemRead More

 

EU lawmakers drafting legislation that could force Apple to change its Lightning plug

By Cody Lee on Dec 20, 2013

EU lawmakers agreed yesterday to draft legislation that will force all mobile phone manufacturers to consent to the use of a common standard for battery chargers which can fit any device. The draft could be voted on by the EU Parliament as early as March 2014.

While many see this as a huge win for consumers, who would no longer have to purchase new charging accessories for different devices, it would be a huge blow to Apple. The company uses a propriety plug, the Lightning connector, in all of its iOS product lines… Read More

 

Apple and fellow tech titans expand fight against patent trolls to EU

By Ed Sutherland on Sep 27, 2013

Apple and more than a dozen other titans of technology have written to European Union officials, expressing concern that a unified patent court system could encourage patent trolls to expand their lawsuits overseas.

New rules now being developed could create “significant opportunities for abuse” allowing patent owners to “extract substantial royalties,” according to the letter obtained by the New York Times.

Starting in 2015 trolls could take infringement cases to non-member countries or nations without much experience, creating a European version of the Eastern District of Texas. Courts in that U.S. district are notorious for rulings favorable to companies suing tech firms, according to the letter… Read More

 

France probes Apple’s iPhone contracts with carrier partners

By Ed Sutherland on Sep 25, 2013

Apple is yet again under investigation. An arm of France’s finance ministry is probing how the iPhone maker contracts with French cell phone carriers.The examination comes less than a week after Apple released two new smartphones, the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the administrative section of the country’s finance department is “investigating the terms of contracts between cellphone suppliers and French phone operators for the sale of devices such as the iPhone.”Read More

 

Penguin agrees to end Apple ebook deal to appease the European Commission

By Cody Lee on Jul 26, 2013

The EC announced yesterday that it has reached an agreement with book publisher Penguin, ending its antitrust probe into the company. As part of the settlement, the New York-based firm has agreed to terminate its iBooks deal with Apple.

Penguin is one of 5 major publishers that allegedly conspired with Apple to lower ebook prices, sparking antitrust investigations in both the US and Europe. But it looks like this resolution will put an end to the European Commission’s quest… Read More

 

Germany wants EU to ban ‘patent box’ tax breaks

By Ed Sutherland on Jul 9, 2013

It’s a common practice now under fire from Germany’s finance chief: giving corporations tax breaks to locate and develop their patents – and hopefully hire local workers. In a Europe struggling with widespread economic troubles, the tactic known as the ‘patent box’ should stop, Germany asked a gathering of European Union finance ministers.

At the heart of the dispute between Germany and other European countries are reports Apple and others multinationals used local tax laws to save money… Read More

 

Samsung wants to settle EU antitrust case over Apple to sidestep $17.5B fine

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 25, 2013

The European Union six months ago launched a formal investigation into a potential breach of EU antitrust rules by Samsung. The antitrust investigation focused on the South Korean conglomerate’s handling of industry-essential patents that EU regulators insist should be licensed to others on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND).

The investigation determined that Samsung was abusing its patent portfolio by seeking high royalties it knew didn’t make business sense, just so it could later assert those patents against rivals such as Apple. ”Samsung has been involved in settlement discussions for several months now,” an unnamed source told Reuters on Tuesday. “Samsung wants to settle”… Read More

 

EU advances probe of iPhone sales tactics

By Christian Zibreg on May 27, 2013

The New York Times back in March reported that a group of unnamed European wireless carriers complained to the European Commission about Apple’s strict volume and marketing commitments in regard to iPhone sales. Today, the Financial Times claims to have seen documents proving that Brussels is moving a probe into iPhone sales tactics to the next stage.

The news couldn’t have come at a worst time for Apple, which earlier this month faced U.S. Senators who grilled CEO Tim Cook along with two other high-ranked executives over Apple’s tax avoidance tricks and refusal to repatriate revenue from sales made overseas… Read More

 

EU examining tax evasion tricks by Apple, Google and Amazon

By Ed Sutherland on May 22, 2013

More than $1 trillion leaked from the tax coffers of EU member states each year, an amount large enough to prompt European leaders Wednesday to hold a summit on reforming corporate taxes. The move follows high-profile investigations showing Apple and other tech giants used European countries to avoid paying taxes in their home countries.

Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook testified before a Senate subcommittee investigating how the iPhone maker used a hole in Ireland’s tax laws to lower its U.S. tax burden on $74 billion held overseas… Read More

 

EU takes issue with Motorola’s patent abuse against Apple

By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2013

In a preliminary ruling, the European Commission on Monday found that Motorola Mobility had abused its dominance in wireless communications patents in seeking an injunction against Apple in Germany. The finding opens the door to a potential antitrust charges to be filed against Google. The EU in its formal statement of objections informed the Google-owned smartphone maker of its allegations that it had leveraged its market position and abused standards-essential patents in order to enforce an injunction against Apple… Read More

 

French government takes issue with Apple’s AppGratis removal

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 11, 2013

The AppGratis app curation software is no longer available on the App Store but the controversy is far from being over. After AppGratis CEO Simon Dawalt lambasted Apple on a company blog for kicking his app out of the App Store, a move he called “an absolutely crazy situation to deal with,” a French minister today slagged the iPhone maker over the ouster. Fleur Pellerin, France’s junior minister for digital economy, publicly described Apple’s decision to pull AppGratis as “extremely brutal and unilateral.”

She urged European regulators to “think about legislation” because Apple is not “behaving ethically” in its dealings with small startups like AppGratis… Read More

 

EU scrutinizing Apple’s ‘unusually strict’ iPhone contracts with carrier

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 22, 2013

The cost of selling the iPhone is anything but cheap – just ask Sprint. Because Apple makes the iconic smartphone which helps sell pricey wireless contracts, carriers typically agree to Apple’s way of doing biz that entail committing to large-volume iPhone purchases costing billions of dollars in upfront payments.

Sprint, America’s third-largest carrier, for example, bought an astounding $15.5 billion worth of iPhones to be sold over the course of four years. The New York Times reported Thursday that European Union regulators are taking a closer look at Apple’s iPhone distribution agreements with European carriers, who remark that these contracts are “unusually strict” and assert that Apple’s behavior could be viewed as anticompetitive… Read More

 

EU scolds Apple over AppleCare warranty rights

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 19, 2013

Apple’s woes over its shady warranty practices in Europe just took a turn for the worse as the European Union through the mouth of its Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding made it clear it has no intention of letting Apple off the hook. In her speech today, she criticized the tech giant for not complying with consumer laws in many EU states.

The Cupertino firm stubbornly insists on its AppleCare terms of service which aren’t in sync with EU laws. The company had been previously reprimanded of failing to communicate in no unambiguous terms to its EU buyers that they are entitled to an additional year of coverage… Read More

 

EU watchdog tightens privacy rules governing mobile apps

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 14, 2013

The Article 29, a watchdog comprised of the European Union’s top privacy protection groups, today issued a set of new recommendations aimed at app developers and tech giants that run the mobile application stores in the latest attempt to bring order to how your apps handle your private information.

The new set of more detailed recommendations arrives following the recent EU probe into the privacy practices of Google and other tech firms.

The United States Federal Trade Commission set out a similar set of guidelines last month so EU’s new recommendations could have serious ramifications on how Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store and other application stores operate… Read More

 
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