Don’t hate the player, hate the game -NYTimes’ ‘How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes’

The New York Times delves into a divisive subject in American politics right now: Tax avoidance. Apple, like most international companies, sidesteps many California, United States, European, etc., taxes by using tax havens like Nevada, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Virgin Islands.

The problem for the protagonists is that this is all very legal and practiced by just about every multi-national company in the interest of remaining competitive and maximizing stockholder share. Like most matters of this sort, the problem lies with the laws and loopholes that allow this to happen. Big companies spend a lot of money on lobbyists making sure that those loopholes do not get closed.

What may not be terribly patriotic are Apple, Google, Cisco, and other’s lobbying efforts against paying U.S. taxes on repatriating their overseas earnings. Apple currently has $74 billion overseas and a “tax holiday” on bringing that money and over $1 trillion from other companies back into the U.S. could cost the U.S. federal government $79B, according to the report. (Great Graphic at Bloomberg on why the $1 trillion holiday is likely going to happen.)

Apple responded to the NYT below:

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HTC fights ‘slide-to-unlock’ in London as Samsung continues patent war with Apple ahead of settlement talks

With court moderated settlement talks between Apple and Samsung executives set to take place within the next 90 days, Samsung has now filed a counterclaim in a California federal court alleging Apple’s iOS devices are infringing eight patents. The counterclaim is part of an original patent infringement lawsuit initiated by Apple in February. Foss Patents reported:

It comes as no surprise that Samsung retaliated with infringement claims. Samsung owns roughly 30,000 U.S. patents. It has from the outset of its dispute with Apple demonstrated its belief that a good offense is the best defense. So far, none of Samsung’s infringement claims against Apple has succeeded anywhere on Earth, despite efforts in nine different countries, but Samsung keeps on fighting.

Apple is also in the middle of patent infringement cases with HTC, which just told a court in London that its touchscreen devices, specifically its “slide-to-unlock” functionality, do not infringe on Apple’s patents. Bloomberg reported today that HTC’s lawyers described the functionality in question as “extremely simple implementations of commonly known techniques.” Apple’s lawyer Simon Thorley argued HTC is “attacking the validity of four patents” and claimed, “It is clear the inventions make the requisite contributions.”

If HTC is successful, it could have an impact in ongoing patent infringement related cases with Apple in Dutch and German courts. The report described the functionality Apple claims is covered in the patents:

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Tim Cook to appear as opening-night speaker at D10 conference

AllThingsD just announced Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook would appear as the opening-night speaker at this year’s D10 conference. The 10th D: All Things Digital conference will be Cook’s first time speaking at the event, and AllThingsD noted this is his first-ever appearance onstage at a non-Apple event since becoming CEO last year. Past D conferences were notably a stage for many in-depth discussions and interviews with Steve Jobs. Jobs last appeared at the event at D8 in 2010.

Walt Mossberg and I could not be more thrilled to announce that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, will be the opening-night speaker at our 10th D: All Things Digital conference.

The D10 conference is slated for May 29 to May 31, 2012 at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
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Former Apple exec Bob Borchers talks Apple marketing, packaging, and his time at Apple

Update: Apple had these videos taken offline.  We will make an effort to see if they exist somewhere else. Help us out in the comments if you find them.

Former Apple marketing executive Bob Borchers, who was part of the original iPhone team and helped lead the Nike+iPod partnership and third-party iPod integration with car manufacturers, recently gave a talk at a school in California to discuss his experiences at Apple (part 2 below). In case you are unfamiliar, you might remember Borchers from several “guided tour” videos for iPhone and other Apple products a few years back. He has also been a source for many of the interesting stories coming from Adam Lashinsky’s new book “Inside Apple.”

At the starting of his talk to students, Borchers surveys the crowd to find out the ratio of Android users to iPhone users, leading him to joke: “Alright that’s good. I’ll keep my Apple stock.” As a former marketing executive, Borchers showed and talked about a few ads, but also discussed the AT&T partnership, as he noted, “We broke rules in terms of how we worked with folks like AT&T”:

“AT&T as a company… they buy the cellphones and then they sell them to you and I… we said, ‘no we don’t want to do that’. We want to be able to sell the iPhone. We want to be able to talk directly to the customer. That was a big, big change for the industry.” 

Other than telling some recent stories that have debuted in “Inside Apple,” Borchers also talked about Steve Jobs’ initial mission to create the iPhone, describing the late CEO as wanting to create “the first phone people would fall in love with.” He also discussed how important the multitouch display and having the full “Internet in your pocket” was to the original concept. Before wrapping up his speech, Borchers talked about how the iPhone was developed from his point of view on the product marketing/product management team and the importance of Apple packaging:

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Apple, Google, and five other companies must face lawsuit over no-poaching agreements

Late last week we told you that the U.S. Justice Department apparently had evidence that Apple, along along with Google, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, Intel, and Lucasfilms, entered “no-poach” agreements as part of an antitrust investigation from 2010. U.S. District Judge Lucy H Koh made a statement yesterday at the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., confirming the companies must face a lawsuit. According to the report from Bloomberg, Koh said she would allow plaintiffs to re-file their complaint even if an initial request by the defendants to dismiss the claims is granted.  

Judge Koh’s decision yesterday will result in Google and the other companies having to provide a detailed account of the agreements made with other companies. They must also allow lawyers to take depositions. One lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Joseph Saveri, said, “We get to see what really happened,” claiming the case could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Google provided statements to Bloomberg claiming they have “always actively and aggressively recruited top talent,” while the others have declined to comment.
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Samsung requests Apple reveal terms of Qualcomm partnership, might reveal next LTE chips

Samsung made a formal request with the U.S. District Court in California for Apple to reveal the intricacies of its contract with wireless chipmaker Qualcomm, who currently supplies chips for the iPhone 4S, CDMA iPhone 4, and iPad 2. Qualcomm is currently in a cross licensing agreement with Samsung, bringing up the question of whether “Apple’s buying Qualcomm chips is as good as paying for the patents.” The documents could potentially reveal Apple’s plans to move to Qualcomm LTE chips in future iOS devices.

Specifically, Samsung defense lawyer Dylan Ruga wants to know if Apple is considered a “Qualcomm Customer,” a term that is “defined in certain licensing agreements between Samsung and Qualcomm.” The request was discovered in court documents by Korea Times and later confirmed by Samsung Electronics spokesperson Lim Yoon-jeong. Korea Times reported:

Samsung Electronics is alleging that Apple has infringed on Samsung-owned patents that relate to technology embodied in chipsets used in Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The documents are expected to determine whether Apple is in fact a direct customer of Qualcomm — and potentially immune from Samsung’s suits — or whether it purchased its chips through an intermediary.

Here is an excerpt from the document that has not been released by the courts: Read more