Tag - Politics
Apple, which is seen as a relatively minor political player compared to other tech firms, has opted out of supporting the Republican Party's 2016 presidential convention due to presumptive nominee Donald Trump's long string of racist, misogynist, and minority-bashing comments. A number of other tech and non-tech companies have also indicated they will not provide funding or other support for the convention as well -- HP had previously said it would skip the convention, and Microsoft has opted to cut back on its contribution. Most of the big tech players generally offer computers and cash to both of major party conventions.
The Sunlight Foundation defines itself as "a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for open government globally and uses technology to make government more accountable to all." To this end, in 2012, the foundation launched a website called Politiwoops, a place where the Twitter feed of any US politician can be looked up and checked for posts that have been deleted -- including timestamps for when it was posted, and when it was deleted. Three weeks ago, after operating for three years with Twitter's approval, the site's API access was revoked. Yesterday, the Sunlight Foundation was informed of the revocation of their access, and why.
Apple paid about A$80.3 million in taxes to the Australian government last year, despite pulling in A$6 billion in revenues in that country, according to documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. While the company's actual tax bill must legally be kept confidential, an expense figure has to be produced for the sake of annual accounts. The A$80.3 million sum is over twice the A$36.4 million Apple paid in 2013, when it actually took in more revenue, A$6.1 billion.
Apple has been accelerating its attempts to gain sway in Washington DC during the last year, Bloomberg notes. Lobbyists representing Apple approached the White House, Congress, and some 13 departments and agencies through to the third quarter of 2014, according to data collected by OpenSecrets.org. A more recent example is CEO Tim Cook's meeting with Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Another development last year was the hiring of Amber Cottle -- former chief of staff for the Senate Finance Committee -- as the head of Apple's lobbying office.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a "generous personal financial investment" in Project One America, an LGBT rights effort run by the Human Rights Campaign, according to an announcement. Project One is concentrated on securing marriage and nondiscrimination rights for LGBT people in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. HRC says it's interested in "tearing down misperceptions, and providing concrete protections for those who need it most." The organization also lauds Cook for being the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company, calling it a "clear and powerful message" about it being acceptable to be gay.
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Lu Wei -- the chairman of China's State Internet Information Office -- during the latter's recent trip to the US, reports say. Lu is also said to have met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. It's unclear what Lu discussed with the executives.
British Chancellor George Osborne has announced a 25 percent tax on "profits generated by multinationals from economic activity here in the UK which they then artificially shift out of the country," the BBC reports. The move is forecast to generate an extra £1 billion in tax revenue over the next five years, on top of £4 billion pulled in from cracking down on tax breaks for banks. Both predictions are disputed by the Office for Budget Responsibility, which suggests that the situation is too complex to pin down definite numbers.
Apple CEO Tim Cook's stay in DC on Tuesday involved meeting Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, the latter's office has confirmed. Hatch is the chairman of the Republican Party's High-Tech Task Force, and has been supporting a number of tech-related agendas. One of these involves addressing patent trolls -- patent-holding firms that make their income solely through licensing deals and lawsuits. Hatch backed a Senate patent reform effort this year, and may well bring the issue up again in 2015.
Apple has launched a minisite promoting the company's involvement in the US federal government's ConnectED initiative. The program is concerned with getting better Internet access and computing equipment to underfunded schools, and Apple has pledged some $100 million. Newly revealed in the minisite is that Apple's grants have reached 114 schools in 29 states, and that 92 percent of the students at those schools "are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage."
For Apple, getting Apple Pay working in China is a major priority, CEO Tim Cook tells China's state-run Xinhua news agency. "China is a really key market for us," he says. "Everything we do, we are going to work it here. Apple Pay is on the top of the list." He adds, however, that the company still has to learn the steps needed to bring Apple Pay to China, and has yet to meet with local banks, merchants, and carriers.