Tim Cook this week met with the European Commission’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, Bloomberg reports and Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman at Apple, confirms. The Cupertino based company is fighting back against contentions that they have formed a special agreement with Ireland in which they pay significantly lower taxes to the country’s government. The news also appears to coincide with Tim Cook’s announcement in launching an iOS development center in Italy.
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Having already agreed to settle a $347 million claim by the Italian tax office, Cook’s tweet in regards to the first iOS development center has definitely piqued some interest today. If the ruling declares that Apple and Ireland’s agreement is illegal, Ireland would be at legal fault, but Apple would owe the billions in back taxes. So it comes as no surprise that the Irish Prime Minister has chimed in defending the relationship; the one in which Apple would be seen introducing 1,000 jobs by mid-2017.
The tax pressure is only stacked with the encryption/privacy debate being mounted by the likes of AT&T’s CEO, who stated this week that encryption policies should be in the government’s hands, not the company’s. It’s worth nothing that Apple isn’t the only company being investigated here, with Starbucks Corp. and Fiat Chrysler amongst others, but Apple is definitely the most valuable in sheer monetary worth.
While we’ve been reporting on the Apple overseas tax controversies for a few months now, this new information feels timely considering this is the week of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Apple likely has some presence here, where various leaders in business and politics come together to discuss the world’s most pressing issues, considering the other European news coming out of the company.
Whether or not this week’s meeting will ultimately help Apple and the prospect of a massive tax bill remains to be seen.