The government of Ireland will back Apple in its fight against EU’s tax bill from hell

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 2, 2016

Following news earlier this week that the European Commission had ruled that Apple must pay €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in back taxes to the government of Ireland because its sweetheart deal with Dublin that lets it be subjected to a lower tax rate constitutes “illegal state aid,” the Irish government said today it would join Apple in its fight against the ruling.

“Paradoxically, Ireland is determined not to accept the tax windfall, which would be equivalent to what it spent last year on funding its struggling health service,” says the report. Read More

 

Here’s Tim Cook’s message to Apple community regarding massive Irish tax bill

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 30, 2016

The European Commission has ruled that Apple is on the hook for €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in back taxes as its “sweetheart deal” to pay a lower tax rate in Ireland has been characterized as “illegal state aid”.

Apple is going to appeal the ruling and now CEO Tim Cook has penned an open letter, entitled “A Message to the Apple Community in Europe,” in which he explains Apple’s position in this case, writing he is “confident” that the huge tax bill will be reversed. Read More

 

EU orders Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 30, 2016

At a press conference Tuesday, the European Commission’s competition commissioner Margarethe Vestager announced that the European Union has ordered the government of Ireland to collect up to €13 billion, or about $14.5 billion, in back taxes from Apple. The sum represents Europe’s largest tax penalty and a significant increase over the 1 billion figure floated around ahead of the ruling.

Apple will appeal the decision. Read More

 

Apple given go-ahead to start building its massive $1 billion data center in Ireland

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 12, 2016

Following months of back and forth between Apple and Ireland’s independent planning body An Bord Pleanála, plans for a massive $1 billion data center in Galway County have been approved, reports Business Insider. “Despite opposition from a number of individuals and local businesses,” Apple’s been granted the go-ahead to build the first stage of the data center on a 197-hectare site.

The facility will support Apple’s online services for customers in Europe, including the iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri. Read More

 

Apple Maps launches Traffic data in Greece

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 2, 2016

Real-time updates about vehicular traffic on Apple Maps have expanded to include Greece, home to population of eleven million people, according to an update posted on Apple’s iOS Feature Availability webpage. The latest expansion comes hot on the heels of launching public transit directions on Maps in Prague earlier in the week.

Traffic data on Apple Maps is currently available in about three dozen countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark and more. Read More

 

EU rules e-books can’t be subject to lower taxes

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 5, 2015

The top court of the European Union has determined that e-books shouldn’t be treated like their printed counterparts when it comes to taxes and therefore should be subject to higher tax rates, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

“But the European Commission signaled it may change the rules next year to allow for equal taxation of books in any form,” reads the report. Read More

 

Apple institutes app price hikes in Europe, Canada and Russia as iPhones get more expensive in Brazil

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 9, 2015

As reported by AppleInsider, Apple has raised minimum prices of iPhone and iPad applications in the App Store in Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway and in the European Union.

As a result of the changes, customers in Canada will now see a minimum app price raised from $0.99 (USD$0.83) to $1.19 (USD$1.01). In the United Kingdom, the new minimum tier has gone up from £0.69 ($1.04) to £0.79 ($1.19) and €0.99 ($1.17) in the European Union, up from €0.89 ($1.05) before.

In addition, smartphones, tablets and other gadgets Apple sells in Brazil saw their prices skyrocketing by an average of 10 percent due to the steady devaluation of the country’s currency, real. Read More

 

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

 
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