EU Stories May 10

AAPL: 153.26

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The European Union is planning a new law to address what it describes as ‘unfair contractual clauses’ following a complaint by Spotify, Deezer and others.

While Apple was not specifically named in the complaint, Spotify considers it unfair that Apple takes a 15% cut of in-app subscription purchases, arguing that this makes it less competitive against Apple Music

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EU Stories December 30, 2015

AAPL: 107.32

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Apple, which was accused by the Italian government of failing to declare more than $1.3B of income when paying corporation tax in the country, has now agreed to pay the full €318M ($347M) claimed by the Italian tax office. The company has 16 Apple Stores in Italy.

Apple was accused of funnelling profits from Italian sales through its Irish subsidiary in order to benefit from the lower tax rate the company had agreed there. (Those tax arrangements are the subject of a separate EU investigation.)

La Repubblica (via The Local) reports Apple Italia was listed as a “consultant” for Apple Ireland, enabling the company to book profits through Ireland, paying just 2.5% tax under the terms of an agreement said to have first been reached with Steve Jobs back in the 1980s …

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EU Stories June 30, 2015

Europe finally agrees to abolish roaming charges – but not until 2017

Europe is an odd place to live. In some respects, it acts like one big country (you can drive across it without ever seeing a border or showing a passport), while in other ways it is very definitely individual countries – like paying roaming charges outside your own country for calls, text messages and data.

We’ve been promised an end to roaming charges for what feels like forever, and the good news is that after years of discussion and debate, the European Union finally agreed to a date. The bad news is that the date isn’t until June 15th 2017.

It means that from 15 June 2017 you can use your mobile device when travelling in the EU paying the same prices as at home (domestic prices). For instance, if you pay for a monthly volume of minutes, SMS and data in your country, any voice call, SMS and data session you make while travelling abroad in the EU will be deducted from that volume as if you were at home, with no extra charges. This means the end of roaming charges as Europeans experience them today in their daily life.

The EU has gradually imposed caps on roaming charges, and the current ones of €0.19/minute for calls and €0.06 per text message aren’t too bad, but €0.20/MB for data is the killer, making it easy to rack up a hefty bill with perfectly normal use of a smartphone in other European countries.

The EU has also agreed to net neutrality rules, though watered down with exceptions for ‘innovative’ services that require higher than usual bandwidth – like Netflix. The EU says that these services can be prioritized so long as this doesn’t harm other services, but as everyone would otherwise get the fastest speed for everything, this provision doesn’t appear to have any real meaning.

EU Stories June 1, 2015

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Irish Examiner got an inside look at Apple’s EU headquarters in Cork along with some interviews with employees there. The campus holds around 4,000 Apple employees that the report points out span across support services, distribution, mapping and manufacturing. expand full story

EU Stories May 6, 2015

New data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows that smartphone users ditching Android devices in recent months helped drive iOS growth across the EU. The data tracked the EU’s biggest markets in 1Q15— Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain— and shows iOS grew 1.8 percentage points from last year to 20.3% market share this year. That includes around 32.4% of new Apple customers switching from an Android device, according to the report, while Android lost 3.1 percentage points during the quarter: expand full story

EU Stories January 13, 2015

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Last week, we reported on a flaw with the EU’s new no-questions-asked 14-day refund policy that meant customers could effectively get paid apps for free, as refunding the app does not delete it from customers’ devices.

In response, Apple has adjusted its App Store purchases slightly for customers who have an excessive number of refunds on file. This means people with a track record of refunding purchase effectively lose the right to refund their purchase.

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