Tag - Luxembourg
The European Commission believes Amazon's tax arrangement with Luxembourg can be classed as "state aid." A document published today suggests that Amazon benefited from an agreement with Luxembourg over taxes payable in Europe, one which allowed the retailer to pay proportionately less than other companies had to over the last decade.
A firmware update for the Pebble smartwatch range adds iOS 8 support to the device, among other new additions. Version 2.5 of the firmware also activates its compass features using its magnetometer, allowing developers access to the component, as well as reintroducing the Domo watch face and adding the ability to display emoji within notifications and messages.
The second group of international iPhone 6/6 Plus launches will happen on September 26, checks at Apple's international storefronts indicate. Some countries discovered so far include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Taiwan, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The United Arab Emirates will get the new phones on September 27.
Apple's Volume Purchase Program is coming to 16 more locations in the near future, according to pages on the company's Business and Education sites. Most of the new regions are in Europe, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Also joining in are Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
As was hinted yesterday, the European Commission has announced a formal investigation of Apple, Fiat, and Starbucks for possible tax evasion. In particular the probe will concentrate on Apple's affiliates in Ireland, Starbucks' footprint in the Netherlands, and Fiat Finance and Trade in Luxembourg. "In the current context of tight public budgets, it is particularly important that large multinationals pay their fair share of taxes," states Joaquín Almunia, the Commission's VP for competition policy. "Under the EU's state aid rules, national authorities cannot take measures allowing certain companies to pay less tax than they should if the tax rules of the Member State were applied in a fair and non-discriminatory way."
Luxembourg's data-protection commissioner has reportedly opened an investigation into connections between Skype and the National Security Agency's PRISM surveillance program, according to a Guardian report. The commissioner is said to be looking into potential violations of the country's data-protection and privacy laws, which could lead to fines or other sanctions.
(Updated with complete list of countries) Access to movies and TV shows via iTunes in the Cloud is rolling out across several more European countries, reports say. The one confirmed country is France, where the feature has been tested with both iTunes and the Apple TV. Various people on Twitter, however, are claiming that the option is now also available in Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
A Luxembourg official has spoken out against a recent investigation into Apple's tax avoidance strategies. In a letter to the editor of the New York Times, an executive director at the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office defended Apple and the country, saying they are applying EU tax law correctly.
The third-generation iPad is now on sale in an additional 25 countries. The emphasis is mostly on Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden are included. The only non-European countries are in fact Macau, Mexico, and New Zealand.
Global iPlayer will make it to the iPhone and iPod touch on December 8th, the BBC has announced. The paid video-on-demand service has been available on the iPad for about five months. A list of countries getting the iPhone app on the 8th includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R