response Stories June 11, 2014

Apple responds to EU investigation into tax practices: “Apple pays every euro of every tax that we owe”

Following a report yesterday that the European Commission was about to launch a formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in Ireland, the EU has now officially announced the investigation at a press conference. Bloomberg reports that the investigation will include not just Apple, but also Starbucks and Fiat Finance & Trade SA and will look at “whether the tax deals in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are illegal state aid.” 

“Special secret deals should be outlawed across the EU,” Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, said in an e-mailed statement. “All tax breaks and reliefs should be openly available for qualifying businesses.”

“We need to fight against aggressive tax planning,” Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, said at a press conference in Brussels. He said it’s “still too soon to anticipate” possible recovery if the EU finds the tax rulings to be illegal.

Apple responded with a statement to Bloomberg following the news claiming that it “pays every euro of every tax that we owe” and that it “received no selective treatment from Irish officials.” Apple’s full statement is below:

“Apple pays every euro of every tax that we owe,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “We have received no selective treatment from Irish officials. Apple is subject to the same tax laws as scores of other international companies doing business in Ireland.”

Apple last year faced a U.S. Senate hearing on its offshore tax practices in which it denied taking advantage of any tax loopholes in Ireland. The SEC also closed its own investigation without establishing any wrong-doing in October of last year.

response Stories August 2, 2013

Apple calls DOJ ebooks remedy proposal ‘draconian and punitive’

Following the Department of Justice’s proposed settlements for the iBooks court case, Apple has submitted a response to the court that clearly shows the company is in no way interested in the suggested changes. The 31 page document is summarized quite well by the initial introduction:

Plaintiffs’ proposed injunction is a draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple’s business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm. Plaintiffs propose a sweeping and unprecedented injunction as a tool to empower the Government to regulate Apple’s businesses and potentially affect Apple’s business relationships with thousands of partners across several markets. Plaintiffs’ overreaching proposal would establish a vague new compliance regime—applicable only to Apple—with intrusive oversight lasting for ten years, going far beyond the legal issues in this case, injuring competition and consumers, and violating basic principles of fairness and due process. The resulting cost of this relief—not only in dollars but also lost opportunities for American businesses and consumers—would be vast.

Here is the response in its entirety (via TNW):

 

response Stories May 8, 2013

What does Samsung’s S-Voice assistant think of Siri?

Despite having access to a pretty powerful voice-enabled, predictive search engine with Google Now, Samsung is still pushing ahead with its own ‘S Voice’ app to try and provide a unique Siri-like experience on its devices. We’ve seen many comparisons of how Samsung might have borrowed from Apple for its own voice-controlled assistant, but today a post from AndroidCentral got us curious about how S Voice reacts when asked about Siri.

The screenshot we grabbed above speaks for itself with the Galaxy S4 returning snappy answers when asked about the iPhone and Siri. When asked, “Have you ever used an iPhone?,” S Voice responded, simply, “No, I have standards.” Another question, “Are you Siri?,” returns the answer, “I think that I am, but I’m a little biased.”

Results appear to vary for users, but it’s certainly an easter egg that Samsung has intentionally included in the app at some point. Siri isn’t free of its own clever responses with users finding several easter eggs and controversial remarks since the app first launched on iPhone 4S. Asking Siri about Samsung or its devices, however, usually just provides a vague response or directs users to Apple’s website or the web.

Some answers Siri gives are amusing, such as responding to marriage questions with “My End User License Agreement does not cover marriage”. People are more amused by the silly stuff, like when you say “call me an ambulance” and she responds by acknowledging “From now on, I’ll call you ‘an ambulance’”.

response Stories April 30, 2013

Today a number of reports are flowing in claiming that social network app Path is sending spam messages to people listed in the user’s address book. The issue apparently isn’t new with some Android users on Reddit experiencing the spam a few months back, while a growing number of users on Twitter today have complained of their contacts receiving both spam text messages and calls. The messages, as pictured right, say the user has photos to share on Path and urges the recipient to downed the free Path app.

However, Path confirmed to The Verge that the issue is actually a feature of the app that sends messages to a user’s Facebook friends during sign-up: expand full story

response Stories April 9, 2013

After receiving some clarification from Apple last night over the removal of discovery app AppGratis, CEO Simon Dawalt is weighing in today with a statement posted on the AppGratis website explaining that the situation has been “absolutely crazy” to deal with:

And that is pretty much where we stand, still stunned that Apple took the decision to destroy so much value within their own ecosystem, but more than ever convinced that what we’re doing is good, and accomplishing a much needed mission in a broken App Discovery world.

While explaining that App Gratis has gone through a number of rejections for breaking App Store guidelines in situations that were later resolved with Apple, Dawalt shed some light on what happened on Apple’s side: expand full story

The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

response Stories April 2, 2013

Tim-cook-chinaAccording to a new report from Reuters, Apple’s decision to publicly address controversy over its warranty policies in China yesterday has already resulted in a positive reaction from the state-controlled media outlets that originally organized the smear campaign.

With its rare apology, Apple Inc went from pariah to praiseworthy in the eyes of China’s state-controlled media, a lesson for other foreign firms not to underestimate the speed and power of the government press… The Chinese newspapers that threw brickbats at Apple a few days ago have since changed their tune.

Apple attempted to appease government in China yesterday by issuing a letter from CEO Tim Cook to announce changes to its warranty policies in the country. The move followed a campaign by state-run media outlets that bashed Apple over its warranty policies compared to other countries and provided first-hand accounts from disgruntled customers. Apple initially stood its ground after the first critical reports as far back as July, but yesterday’s “rare” apology from Cook appears to be already having a positive impact in the country.

One of the media outlets that has now changed its tune is tabloid the Global Times, a newspaper published by the Communist Party’s People’s Daily, while government officials are also praising Apple for its decision: expand full story

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