Apple, other companies accused of trying to avoid tax share
Apple will be the focus of a US Senate hearing next Tuesday, Politico says it has learned. The company's CEO, Tim Cook, is expected to testify in front of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation regarding offshore tax practices. Other witnesses are also expected to speak, such as representatives from the Treasury Department and the IRS.
Company complies with government censorship
Apple has pulled "at least one" app from the Chinese App Store for containing books banned by the Chinese government, the Financial Times reports. Although the name of the app hasn't been identified, it is said to have provided access to 10 books, include three by political activist Wang Lixiong, whose works are mostly illegal in the country. The banned books in the app discuss Tibet, the future collapse of the Chinese government, and a visit by Wang to Xinjiang, followed by his detention by state security.
Prohibitions against phones likely to stay in place
The US Federal Aviation Administration is hoping to announce looser restrictions on in-flight use of portable electronics by the end of 2013, according to sources for the New York Times. The people belong to an industry working group set up by the FAA, and add that the latter is specifically considering allowing reading devices during takeoff and landing, including tablets and e-readers. Devices may still have to be set to Airplane mode, though, and cellphones are expected to remain off-limits.
Adds to political support for
A group of US Senators, including Al Franken and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have introduced a bill that would restore rights to unlock phones after a contract has expired. Called the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, the legislation would undo a Library of Congress ruling from last year which stripped unlocking protections from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Beyond Franken, other politicians behind the bill include Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Committee Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
Says workers can't be treated equally with law in place
The US Defense of Marriage Act "hurts legally married same-sex couples and prevents companies from treating all employees as equals," Apple spokesman Steve Dowling tells AllThingsD. "Apple strongly supports marriage equality and we hope the Supreme Court will declare the law unconstitutional." The quote comes in response to questions about Apple's participation in legal measures against DoMA and California's Proposition 8.
Major tech companies wield influence on American government
Google increased the amount it spent on lobbying the US government 90 percent year-over-year in 2012, according to data compiled by Fortune. The company ended up spending $18.22 million, easily beating out any other American technology firm. Microsoft, in fact, came in second place with $8.09 million, despite likewise increasing its spending. Other major tech businesses that funneled more money toward lobbying last year included HP, Facebook, and Amazon.
Culpability depends on which trips were paid for
Apple could be guilty of trying to bribe Russian officials through a seminar in London, according to Russian news agency Regnum. The service says that Apple is organizing a week-long event during which Russian regional ministers of education and other officials, responsible for public purchases, will be familiarized with Apple products. People participating in the event will stay in downtown London, and visit Apple Stores outside customer hours.
Promotes site in rare interview
The widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs, has launched a new website to help her promotion of the Dream Act. The site, The Dream is Now, features videos of immigrants who would benefit from the act's passing. The project was completed with the help of filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, best known for An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman. The former film, notably, centered around the climate change activism of current Apple board member Al Gore.
Mayor's office suggests crime would otherwise be down
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is blaming a surge in thefts of Apple products for an increase in the city's overall crime rate, says the New York Times. Bloomberg made the comments during his weekly radio show. Statistics published this week by the New York Police Department show 3,484 more major crimes in 2012 than last yea; the number of Apple product thefts, meanwhile, is up by 3,890. "If you just took away the jump in Apple, we’d be down for the year," adds the mayor's press secretary, Marc La Vorgna.
Apps, websites to require consent before obtaining data
The US Federal Trade Commission has formally updated rules derived from the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, better known as COPPA, says the Wall Street Journal. The act was originally passed by Congress in 1998, but subsequent evolution of the Internet prompted the FTC to start reconsidering its enforcement in 2010. Influenced by feedback, proposed changes started emerging last year.
Sites in Texas, California also allegedly under consideration
The states of Oregon and New York may be competing for a chip factory under consideration by an Apple supplier, says The Oregonian. Oregon's economic development agency, Business Oregon, says it is trying to recruit a company operating under the codename "Azalea." A non-disclosure agreement is preventing any more details from emerging, though a similar project --tagged with a "Project Azalea" codename -- is being pursued in New York state.
Cuomo mentions Apple has interested party
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has hinted that Apple may be connected to a plan for a chip factory in the state measuring some 3.2 million square feet, the Times Union reports. The factory was recently proposed to economic development officials in the state, but the company or companies behind the deal have been kept quiet. Apple's name has been speculated, but when approached, the Empire State Development Corporation refused to comment to the Union.
California Democrats ask FTC not to accuse Google of unfair acts
Two California congresspersons have weighed in on the looming FTC antitrust case against Google, asking the Federal Trade Commission to refrain from accusing the search giant of "unfair" acts in building its antitrust case. The lawmakers -- both of which have received campaign contributions from Google -- allege that a reliance on "unfair" acts in building the FTC's case would amount to the agency overreaching its authority in pursuance of a case. Such an overreach, they say, could lead to difficulties and uncertainties for companies, stifling economic growth.
JPMorgan's Jamie Dimion
US President Barack Obama recently called several CEOs for advice on dealing with the upcoming "fiscal cliff" faced by the federal government, according to a White House official in contact with CNN. Four executives have been named, including Apple's Tim Cook, JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, Boeing's Jim McNerney, and Costco's Craig Jelinek. The calls follow meetings with other CEOs last week, including conversations with General Electric's Jeffery Immelt and American Express' Kenneth Chenault.
Fight over island chain extends into iOS 6
The South Korean government is demanding that Apple change the name of a chain of islets in iOS 6 Maps, the Korea Times reports. The chain is known as Dokdo in Korean, but Apple also lists the English (Liancourt Rocks) and Japanese (Takeshima) names for the land, reflecting the fact that both Korea and Japan dispute the land's ownership. "We protested to Apple’s Korean unit that, because Dokdo is clearly an integral part of our territory, the new reference is unacceptable and it should be marked as the Korean name of Dokdo wherever it is searched for," a Korean foreign ministry official comments. Previously Apple relied on data from Google, which uses just the Korean and English names, but is still believed to be unacceptable to the Korean government.
EPEAT, tracking among issues in Apple's agenda
Apple spent about $470,000 lobbying US Congresspeople during the second quarter of 2012, versus Google's $3,920,000, Fortune notes. New Congressional lobbying reports have been released, indicating that both companies spent slightly less during the quarter in their efforts to influence politicians. During the first quarter, Google spent $5,030,000, versus Apple's $500,000.
Effects of EPEAT withdrawal begin to ripple
The federal government has joined the list of US political bodies reconsidering Macs in the wake of Apple withdrawing products from EPEAT certification, according to a government source reached by Politico. A product's EPEAT rating is considered by many organizations looking to buy computers in bulk. The source notes that the federal government is currently in the process of making procurement decisions for fiscal 2013; officials are reportedly worried that with Apple backing out, other companies may follow suit, wrecking government attempts to buy environmentally friendly hardware.
Could be harbinger of wider problems for Apple
San Francisco will soon stop buying Macs for the city's 50 agencies, according to Department of Environment officials speaking with the Wall Street Journal. The officials say that within the next two weeks it will send out letters to agencies explaining that Macs "no longer qualify" for city money, following Apple's request to have 39 desktops, monitors, and notebooks pulled from a list of EPEAT-certified products. Workers will still be able to buy Macs, but only through a process described as "long" and "onerous."
Company may be looking to exert political influence
Apple CEO Tim Cook quietly met with several leaders of the US Congress last Tuesday, according to Fortune. Sit-down sessions are said to have been been organized with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The one person left out of the loop was House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi, who was on her way back from Afghanistan when Cook was in Washington, DC.
Apple taxes correctly in EU says Luxembourg official
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.
Includes suggested salary protections, hiring deadlines
The Travis County Commissioners Court has voted in favor of a deal to bring a second Apple campus to Austin, Texas, the Austin-American Statesman reports. In the end commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of the plan, which was recently amended to include stricter hiring requirements. The lone dissenter was Precinct 2 Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt, who argued the deal should have stronger requirements to hire people from the county; she was also upset that requirements for the poor were dropped. Judge Sam Biscoe said he was willing to take Apple's word that it would hire the poor despite no contractual obligations.
New deal would put strict hiring demands on Apple
Travis County commissioners could potentially approve an altered handout deal to Apple later today, according to the Austin-American Statesman. Apple is hoping to build a second campus in Austin, Texas worth $304 million, and is expected to bring 3,665 more jobs to the city over the course of the next 10 years. The county may contribute $6.4 million out of a total $36 million in incentives, but last week skepticism about the deal postponed a vote on the matter.
May aid Proview in settlement talks
Chinese government officials are currently siding with Proview in the company's iPad trademark dispute with Apple, reports suggest. The Associated Press quotes Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the National Copyright Administration, as saying that the government considers Proview Shenzhen to be the rightful owner of the trademark. The Wall Street Journal meanwhile cites Fu Shuangjian -- the deputy director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce -- as having a slightly different perspective.
Italian location furthers international push
As a part of his visit to Beijing on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook also met with Guo Jinlong, the mayor of Beijing, a local newspaper reports. The exact details of the encounter are unknown, but it's suggested he talked about expanding markets, and cooperating more closely with Beijing in the future. Yesterday Apple would only say that Cook was in the country to talk with "Chinese officials" about expanding operations in the region; he was nevertheless spotted at the Xidan Joy City Apple Store in Beijing.
Executive also spotted in Beijing Apple Store
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Chinese government officials on Monday, company spokeswoman Carolyn Wu tells MarketWatch. The executive was reportedly there to discuss expanding Chinese operations, but Wu has refused to elaborate. Cook "had great meetings with Chinese officials today," according to Wu. "China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth here."
Twitter, Facebook among scrutinized companies
The US Congress' House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman and chairman Fred Upton have issued a letter to 33 iOS developers, asking them about privacy policies when it comes to apps, reports say. A number of prominent developers are included in the list, such as Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, Turntable.fm, Path, and Tweetbot creator Tapbots. The letter actually claims that 34 developers have been contacted, but only 33 are mentioned.
New campus could take city, county, state money
An Apple official today answered questions in front of Austin City Council in an attempt to secure funding for its expanded presence in the city. The Council is offering to pay $8.6 million in incentives over 10 years if Apple meets job and investment targets. Apple may also receive $21 million from the state-level Texas Enterprise Fund, and still more cash from Travis County, although county officials are believed to be waiting until after a City Council vote to say what it might contribute.
Also had top secret clearance in Pixar era
The US Commerce Department has confirmed that Steve Jobs did in fact serve on the President's Export Council during the George Bush Sr. administration, according to the Associated Press. This week the FBI published a 191-page file on Jobs from 1991, dealing mainly with a background investigation for an appointment to the Council. The AP remarks that Export Council members are unpaid, and meet a minimum of twice a year.
Former husband likely to be mentioned by Obama
Steve Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, is on the official guest list for tonight's State of the Union address by US President Barack Obama, according to the White House. She will watch the speech from First Lady Michelle Obama's box in the House of Representatives. Laurene is likely to be mentioned by the President in light of Steve's death on October 5th, but the invitation may also reflect an expected educational agenda in the speech.
City official accused of exploiting power
A political row has surfaced over plans to build a larger Lincoln Road Apple Store in Miami Beach, Florida, notes the Miami Herald. Earlier in the year Apple proposed demolishing a structure at 1001 Lincoln Road, about a thousand feet from the current store, in order to create a bigger outlet (seen in images) featuring a predominantly glass design with a tall stone sidewall. Heritage organizations protested, given that the target building dates back to 1926. Apple withdrew its proposal, but business leaders are said to be worried that Apple might simply move to a different city and take heavy shopping traffic with it.
Apple exporting US jobs, says Brown
Members of the Occupy protest movement should target companies like Apple, rather than protest at places like the docks in Oakland, California, says former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown. On Sunday the San Francisco Chronicle published an editorial by Brown, in which he accused the Occupy movement of hurting the 99 percent in the form of dock workers and truck drivers. "If the Occupy people really want to make a point about the 1 percent, then lay off Oakland and go for the real money down in Silicon Valley," the column reads.
December 14th deadline applies
Minnesota Senator Al Franken has sent letters to several more companies involved in the Carrier IQ scandal, reports say. Franken is in charge of a Senate privacy panel, and has issued new requests to AT&T, HTC, Samsung, and Sprint, in addition to one sent earlier to Carrier IQ itself. The new parties are being asked to explain how they're using the Carrier IQ technology, and what data they're gathering through it.
Cellphone video regularly used to expose violence
The Syrian government has imposed a ban on iPhone use in the country, according to Customs Department documents reportedly obtained by local activists. "The authorities warn anyone against using the iphone in Syria," the statement reads. The move is believed to be a small additional step by the regime of Bashar al-Assad to prevent news of violence against protesters being made public. Footage from cellphones has often been one of the only means by which the outside world has learned of the crackdowns, since most foreign journalists are currently banned. Over 4,000 people have been murdered in the country since March.
Company may be eager to halt organization
Apple is today training its retail managers on the topic of unionization by workers, an internal document received by CNET is said to indicate. The course is described by Apple as mandatory for all new store managers, and "intended to provide managers with a practical understanding of how unions affect the workplace, how and why employees organize, and the legal do's and don'ts of dealing with unions." The class is also "required biannually for all managers," according to one line.
More info emerges from Jobs biography
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was extremely critical of Fox News, and Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of the network's parent company News Corp., Reuters notes. The information comes from the Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, which shipped on Monday. In June 2010 Jobs agreed to speak at News Corp.'s annual management retreat, breaking a personal policy against such speaking engagements. Why he agreed is unclear, although Apple and News Corp. would later launch The Daily for the iPad.
Exec crticized but supported Obama
More details from Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography -- due on the 24th -- are making their way to the media. Jobs almost, for instance, reportedly missed meeting President Barack Obama in the fall of 2010, as he insisted that Obama personally ask him for a meeting, even after Jobs' wife said that Obama "was really psyched to meet with you;" in all Jobs is said to have held out for five days, but finally conceded and met the President at the Westin San Francisco Airport.
Tablet came straight from Jobs
US President Barack Obama received early access to the iPad, an ABC interview reveals. Obama is well known for carrying an iPad around with him, but the circumstances around how he got it have usually gone unmentioned. "[Former Apple CEO] Steve Jobs actually gave it to me, a little bit early. Yeah, it was cool. I got it directly from him," he admits in the interview.
Brazilian firms lack ability to finance project
Brazil's national development bank, BNDES, could withdraw support for Foxconn's efforts to start iPad production in the country, reports say. Contrary to earlier reports Foxconn has yet to actually begin production in Brazil, although the country's president, Dilma Rousseff, has previously suggested that tablets could roll off the assembly line by the end of the year. Talks are stalling, a local publication claims.
Details encryption measures
FaceTime and iOS as a whole should be compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) security rules, an Apple spokesperson suggests. The standard is important in the US healthcare industry as in order for devices to qualify for government funding, they must ensure that only authorized people will be able to access Electronic Protected Health Information, or EPHI. Encryption is effectively mandatory.
Production leaves China for first time
Brazil's minister of science and technology, Aloizio Mercadante, has announced that a new Foxconn factory in Jundiaí is complete and already producing iPads, reports note. The information was revealed at a hearing of the country's Commission of Economic Affairs. Although production is currently in progress, Brazilian-made iPads are not expected to ship until December.
Area residents worry about traffic, overpopulation
Apple's new Cupertino campus may not have a completely smooth path towards approval, the results of a local public consultation suggest. The meeting was hosted by Cupertino mayor Gilbert Wong, who himself claims that the new complex is "definitely not a done deal," since it has to undergo a "public process." Many people at the meeting also expressed worries connected to the scale of Apple's ambitions.
Asks Obama to challenge 'patriotism' of companies
The president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union, Jim Hoffa, recently singled out Apple as an example of American companies abusing outsourcing, reports note. Speaking in a CNN interview, Hoffa asked President Barack Obama to "challenge the patriotism" of US companies in a speech on jobs, also suggesting a tax plan that might get corporations to "start spending some of that money here in America and put Americans back to work."
Switch could potentially prove expensive
The Indiana state legislature is considering whether or not to adopt iPads for use during sessions, writes the Associated Press. The matter is currently in front of a review committee. In all the legislature would need at least 150 tablets, split between 100 for representatives and 50 for senators.
City of London asks for powers to bypass rules
Apple is hoping to open a new London retail store in the city's financial district, but may be stopped by laws meant to guarantee other property owners access to sunlight, Reuters reports. A source tells the news agency that a US developer, Hines, is looking to buy real estate at 100 Cheapside and build a 10-storey development with 87,000 square feet for offices and 13,000 square feet for retail. Apple is interested in occupying the retail space, the source says.
Tries to influence tracking, patent, sales laws
Apple has so far spent at least $1.3 million on lobbying the US government this year, says First Street Research. The firm's data covers the first two quarters of the year, during which Apple spent $560,000 and $790,000, respectively. The money can be further subdivided between four major contracted lobbying firms: Capitol Tax Partners, Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, Franklin Square Group, and Jefferson Consulting Group.
New headquarters coming one way or another
The mayor of Cupertino, Gilbert Wong, has issued a public statement acknowledging that the city council is backing Apple's new headquarters project, sometimes dubbed the Mothership. "There is no chance we are saying no," according to Wong. The city has in fact held a press conference to disclose its position, and started up a dedicated news page for the building.
Apple salespeople wasted taxpayer money, says SEC
Apple exploited government mistakes to increase the company's profits, an internal probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission notes. Several years ago, when it was chaired by President George W. Bush appointee Christopher Cox, the SEC was looking to escalate its integration of high technology. An Apple salesman persuaded the SEC to choose the company's systems, and by 2008 Apple is said to have got unchecked authorization to make large numbers of purchases, which it took advantage of. Federal regulations require that such purchases be reviewed and approved.
Apple, Google stick to company lines
Apple and Google today made a repeat appearance in front of the US Senate, newly joined by Facebook, for a subcommittee on mobile privacy. The corporations largely stuck to earlier positions in defense of their actions. "Apple does not track users' locations -- Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so," said Apple's VP of government affairs, Catherine Novelli. Criticisms of the company have circled around a cache of Wi-Fi and celltower locations, which until an iOS patch was released extended almost a year back.
Executives repeat defense of location policies
As planned, executives from Apple and Google appeared in front of a US Senate judiciary subcommittee on mobile privacy on Tuesday. Speaking on behalf of Apple was the company's VP of software technology, Guy L. "Bud" Tribble, who repeated some of the company's previous positions on mobile privacy. "Apple is strongly committed to giving our customers clear and transparent notice, choice and control over their information, and we believe our products do so in a simple and elegant way," said Tribble.
Companies called to defend tracking practices
US Senator Al Franken has named the Apple and Google witnesses who will be appearing at a judiciary subcommittee on mobile privacy. Speaking on behalf of Apple will be Guy L. "Bud" Tribble, a VP of software technology. Google's representative will be Alan Davidson, a director of public policy for the Americas. The subcommittee will convene at 10AM on May 10th, according to Sen. Franken's office.