Tag - European Commission
The probe by the European Commission into Apple's tax arrangements may come to an end soon, possibly next month, according to one official. Irish finance minister Michael Noonan believes the Commission could offer its ruling in July, one that will decide the legality of Apple's movements of funds through specific countries to avoid paying high amounts of tax, as well as other arrangements beneficial to the company provided by EU member states.
Governments should be more mindful of "sharing economy" services and must try to avoid banning them, according to draft guidelines created by the European Commission. European Union member states should be mindful of implementing restrictions on online services such as Airbnb and Uber, with the commission warning rules that work against these types of companies should be justifiable, and also proportionate to the public interest.
The European Commission has published a new proposal that would force streaming media services to invest in content created in Europe, alongside other video-related rule changes that would affect services including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and others. Initially leaked last week, the directive would require online streaming services to ensure at least 20 percent of its catalog provided to European subscribers is made up of European-origin content.
The European Union's anti-trust agency, the European Commission, has officially launched an investigation against Alphabet and Google about anti-competitive behavior in the Android operating system. The regulatory agency claims that Google violated anti-trust laws by "requiring manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google's Chrome browser and requiring them to set Google Search as default search service on their devices" in addition to "preventing manufacturers from selling smart mobile devices running on competing operating systems based on the Android open source code."
Apple will not be able to stop the European Union's investigation into whether or not it has paid the correct amount of tax on the continent if it moved all of its funds from overseas to the United States, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has advised. The investigation, which has taken place against a number of companies accused of abusing tax laws across a number of countries to minimize taxes paid, will continue regardless of Apple's actions.
The European Union's competition chief has warned reporters "Don't hold your breath" for a quick ruling concerning Apple's Irish tax affairs. Speaking in Brussels, Margarethe Vestager was "warning" anyone expecting a result in the investigation anytime soon that they may have to wait for longer, as the European Commission continues its thorough examination into how major tech companies move funds around to minimize how much tax they pay.
A draft framework that would dictate how the privacy of European Union citizens can be protected when data is passed to the United States for processing has been published by the European Commission (EC) and the Department of Commerce (DoC). The EU-US Privacy Shield, created to replace the struck-down Safe Harbor framework, is meant to "protect the fundamental rights of Europeans where their data is transferred to the United States" for commercial and governmental purposes.
Following a meeting by Apple CEO Tim Cook with the head of the antitrust investigation against Ireland on behalf of the European Commission, Apple's CFO has told London's Financial Times that should Ireland be found guilty of giving companies like Apple "special state aid," Apple should owe nothing in back taxes. The crux of remarks by Luca Maestri is that Apple did not receive any special deal from Ireland, but if Ireland illegally lowered its tax rate to benefit corporations, it is the state -- and not the companies that benefitted from the lower rate -- that should pay any penalties.
Apple has received some unexpected support from the outspoken Mayor of London, concerning its European tax investigation. Mayor Boris Johnson wrote in defense of Apple's attempts to pay as little tax as possible on its European earnings, suggesting it is only following the rules of the tax systems across the continent to its advantage, and that the European Commission shouldn't be trying to fix something that the Irish government intended to happen.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has spent the past couple of days in Europe, where he met with the head of the European Commission's antitrust division as well as Pope Francis at the Vatican in a brief private meeting. On Thursday, Cook met with Margrethe Vestager, the antitrust chief, presumably to reiterate the company's innocence in the Irish tax scandal that could conceivably result in Apple owing billions in back taxes, despite the fact that Ireland's politicians appear to be the guilty party. Cook also met with some Italian developers as Apple opened a new development center in the country.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE