Copyright © 2016
Tag - European Commission
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.
Apple may end up paying out billions to regulators in Europe, according to analysts looking at a regulatory investigation into the company's tax affairs. Depending on how much it decides to punish Apple, the European Commission's investigation into tax avoidance practices allegedly used by Apple, which involved ferrying taxable funds through various subsidiaries to minimize payable tax, could end up charging over $8 billion in owed taxes.
Europe's business practice investigative organization, the European Commission, has chosen to investigate Apple's tax deal with Ireland closer. A series of expanded supplementary questions has been sent to the Irish government about the matter, likely pushing the final verdict well into 2016, and past Ireland's general elections, which could come as soon as February.
An investigation into whether Apple's deals with major record labels did anything to hurt or impede its competition has concluded that no such collusion took place, according to a new report from the European Commission. The body said it would continue to monitor the streaming industry overall, but cleared Apple Music of any alleged wrongdoing.
The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation into Amazon's business practices around e-book distribution and sales. The Commission will in particular investigate certain clauses included in Amazon's contracts with publishers that require publishers to inform Amazon about more favorable or alternative terms offered to competitors.
Apple has filed its latest quarterly report with the US government, and in so doing noted that an ongoing European Commission investigation of Ireland and its government's corporate tax rate could "require Ireland to recover from the company past taxes covering a period of up to 10 years reflective of the disallowed state aid," calling that potential amount "material." While difficult to gauge, the eventual impact could be in the billions for Apple.
The European Parliament has voted in favor of new regulations that would require new vehicles to call the emergency services in the event of an emergency. The eCall regulation, due to come into force from April 2018, will force manufacturers to install equipment that will automatically contact the 112 European emergency services line if in-car sensors or safety features are triggered, for example when the airbag deploys.
The European Union's first antitrust case against Google -- where the advertising giant is accused of giving more prominence in search results to its own shopping comparison services than competitors -- will include 19 companies as complainants, giving them the ability to see and comment on the full list of charges leveled against Google. However, a number of the companies are not directly involved in online shopping, suggesting that the charges brought against Google could be more wide-ranging than previously suspected.