European Union Stories December 14, 2015

AAPL: 112.48

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The long-running investigation into the legality of Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland has been expanded, with the European Commission now seeking additional information from the Irish government, reports the FT. This means that the investigation is likely to be extended well into next year. A ruling had originally been expected before the end of the year.

While Irish authorities had expected the case to be concluded soon, they have instead been sent bulky sets of supplementary questions, meaning it will be difficult to reach a final verdict until after the 2016 election, which is expected as early as February […]

The Irish finance ministry confirmed that the government was supplying the requested additional information to the commission. “We do not expect any decision until after the new year,” said a spokesman.

If the ruling goes against Apple, it could face a bill for billions of Euros in underpaid tax …

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European Union Stories November 11, 2015

AAPL: 116.11

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Update: Apple has since stated that Cook intended to describe the Microsoft Surface Book as “diluted” rather than “deluded.”

The Irish government has announced that Apple will be employing an additional 1,000 staff in Ireland, the country where the company declares much of its revenue from sales throughout Europe, reports Reuters.

Ireland’s main foreign investment agency, the IDA, said Apple was to add 1,000 jobs to its office in Cork by mid-2017 from 5,000 at present. It said the company had also added 1,000 jobs in the past year.

There had been some concern about whether Apple would maintain a significant presence in the country if the European Commission investigation into Apple’s tax dealings in the country went against the company …  expand full story

European Union Stories August 7, 2015

AAPL: 115.52

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The European Union’s inquiry into whether Apple had colluded with music labels to suppress competition from streaming music services like Spotify has concluded that no evidence exists to support such claims.

The investigation involved the questioning of executives from several of Apple’s partner labels to determine whether App Store limitations might “lock out” competitors.

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European Union Stories July 15, 2015

A European trademark holder has filed a lawsuit against Apple over the name ‘iWatch‘, despite the fact that the company’s own product was ultimately named Apple Watch. The issue it seems is paid promotion on Google search ads when the term “iWatch” is searched. Since Apple’s smartwatch was long rumored to be called the iWatch, and many regulars (including Tim Cook) still refer to it as such, Cupertino figured people would search for ‘iWatch’ when looking for its new device and took out some Google ads for the keyword to take advantage. Search for ‘iWatch’ yourself and you’ll almost certainly see a link to Apple Watch as the top result… expand full story

European Union 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.

European Union 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

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