Adverse Ruling Against Apple Expected in European Tax Probe

Apple-BondsThe European Commission is poised to hand down an adverse ruling against Apple next week following a three-year inquiry into the company’s tax arrangements in Ireland, according to Financial Times.

Expectation of an adverse ruling gathered pace this week after the US Treasury issued a stinging attack on the commission’s investigation, saying the EU executive was becoming a “supranational tax authority” that threatened international agreements on tax reform.

The Brussels-based body, led by competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, has been investigating whether Apple’s alleged “sweetheart deal” with Ireland constitutes illegal state aid, which it determined based on its preliminary findings in 2014.

The commission has accused Apple of sheltering tens of billions of dollars by transferring revenue to multiple subsidiaries in Ireland, where it pays a significantly lower tax rate of around 2%, compared to the country’s headline corporate tax rate of 12.5%.

An adverse ruling could result in Apple owing up to $21.2 billion in back taxes, although a previous study placed the figure around $8 billion, and some analysts believe the amount could be as low as $1 billion.

Apple is one of several large corporations accused of tax avoidance in Europe over the past three years, joining the likes of Starbucks, Fiat Chrysler, Amazon, Google, IKEA, and McDonald’s. Starbucks in particular is currently appealing its case in Netherlands, where it was ordered to pay as much as 30 million euros in back taxes.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has insisted that his company fully complies with international tax law, said last month that it would appeal any unfavorable ruling in European courts. Apple has also said it is the largest taxpayer in the world.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury department warned that an adverse ruling against Apple could “set an undesirable precedent.” It also said the European Commission is becoming a “supranational tax authority,” going beyond acceptable enforcement of competition and state aid law.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Apple-BondsThe European Commission is poised to hand down an adverse ruling against Apple next week following a three-year inquiry into the company’s tax arrangements in Ireland, according to Financial Times.

Expectation of an adverse ruling gathered pace this week after the US Treasury issued a stinging attack on the commission’s investigation, saying the EU executive was becoming a “supranational tax authority” that threatened international agreements on tax reform.

The Brussels-based body, led by competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, has been investigating whether Apple’s alleged “sweetheart deal” with Ireland constitutes illegal state aid, which it determined based on its preliminary findings in 2014.

The commission has accused Apple of sheltering tens of billions of dollars by transferring revenue to multiple subsidiaries in Ireland, where it pays a significantly lower tax rate of around 2%, compared to the country’s headline corporate tax rate of 12.5%.

An adverse ruling could result in Apple owing up to $21.2 billion in back taxes, although a previous study placed the figure around $8 billion, and some analysts believe the amount could be as low as $1 billion.

Apple is one of several large corporations accused of tax avoidance in Europe over the past three years, joining the likes of Starbucks, Fiat Chrysler, Amazon, Google, IKEA, and McDonald’s. Starbucks in particular is currently appealing its case in Netherlands, where it was ordered to pay as much as 30 million euros in back taxes.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has insisted that his company fully complies with international tax law, said last month that it would appeal any unfavorable ruling in European courts. Apple has also said it is the largest taxpayer in the world.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury department warned that an adverse ruling against Apple could “set an undesirable precedent.” It also said the European Commission is becoming a “supranational tax authority,” going beyond acceptable enforcement of competition and state aid law.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Discuss this article in our forums

Spotify Punishing Artists Who Offer Apple Music Exclusives

Spotify and Apple Music are becoming increasingly bitter rivals, and according to new reports from The New York Times and Bloomberg, the feuding is now affecting artists. Spotify has been punishing artists who agree to Apple Music exclusives, displayin…

Spotify and Apple Music are becoming increasingly bitter rivals, and according to new reports from The New York Times and Bloomberg, the feuding is now affecting artists. Spotify has been punishing artists who agree to Apple Music exclusives, displaying their content less prominently and offering fewer promotional opportunities.

Spotify has explicitly told artists who offer Apple Music exclusives that their music won’t be included on featured playlists, and Spotify has also “buried” their songs in its search rankings. The music streaming service has reportedly been using these retaliatory tactics for about a year.

applemusic

Spotify has been retaliating against musicians who introduce new material exclusively on rival Apple Music by making their songs harder to find, according to people familiar with the strategy. Artists who have given Apple exclusive access to new music have been told they won’t be able to get their tracks on featured playlists once the songs become available on Spotify, said the people, who declined to be identified discussing the steps.

Spotify’s tactics may not affect major artists in a significant way, but according to Bloomberg, the service has also threatened smaller acts who introduce their music on Beats 1 Radio with Zane Lowe.

Since Apple Music launched last year, Apple has been using exclusive content as a way to lure new subscribers to the service. Artists like Drake, Frank Ocean, Dreezy, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry have debuted content exclusively on Apple Music, something both Spotify and record labels have become increasingly uncomfortable with.

Earlier this week, Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grange told employees that UMG is now prohibiting its artists from offering music exclusives, meaning popular content from Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, and more, will no longer be eligible for debut solely on Apple Music. UMG’s new policy has already affected Apple, preventing Apple Music from inking a deal with Lady Gaga.

At its one year anniversary in June, Apple Music boasted more than 15 million subscribers, and should it continue its rapid growth rate, the service could eventually eclipse Spotify as the most popular streaming service. Spotify continues to have approximately twice as many subscribers but the music service continues to struggle because it has yet to become profitable.
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MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Luxury Leather Briefcase From Pad & Quill

For the next four weeks, MacRumors is running a special giveaway event, which will see us highlighting and giving away high-quality luxury bags from manufacturers like Pad & Quill, Intrepid Bag Co, Whipping Post, and Saddleback Leather Company. We’ve got all of these bags on hand so we can give clear details on construction, quality, utility, and more.

For today’s giveaway, we’ve partnered with Pad & Quill, a company that makes a whole line of luxury Apple accessories from cases to Apple Watch bands to leather bags. We’ll be giving away the Luxury Briefcase in Galloper Black with Chestnut accents.

luxurybriefcase1
Pad & Quill’s Luxury Briefcase, priced at $495, is a large bag (15 inches by 11 inches by 4.2 inches) with enough pockets to hold whatever you might need to carry on a day to day basis.

There are two outer pockets for holding papers or other small, flat accessories, along with a main interior pocket that can hold up to a 15-inch MacBook. The main pocket has several smaller pockets inside (two dividers with five pockets total), perfect for holding all kinds of accessories.

I was able to fit my MacBook Pro, Retina MacBook, iPad Pro, iPad mini, iPhone in the bag along with various sundries like a hairbrush, a water bottle, a battery pack, pencils, two notebooks, and more. It holds a lot. There’s a full nickel zipper at the top and a flap that folds over and snaps, so the contents within the bag stay safe and protected while you’re hauling it around. When full, this is not a light bag – it weighs in at three pounds by itself.

Made of a thick, durable full-grain American cowhide leather, the Luxury Briefcase is immaculately constructed with features like careful hand stitching, rigid but comfortable leather handles and a removable shoulder strap with a leather pad. Out of the box, the Luxury Briefcase is stiff and pristine, but with use, it’ll loosen up and develop a unique, worn in look. The leather has been tanned so it’s resistant to stains and water, and the interior is made from a durable pigskin that looks like it’s going to hold up well to daily abuse.

Pad & Quill’s bags are all handmade and it shows in their construction. This looks like a $500 bag, and it’s nice enough to take to the office, but casual enough that it doesn’t look out of place in a less formal setting.

luxurybriefcase2

One MacRumors reader will be able to win a Luxury Briefcase from Pad & Quill. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize.

You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (August 26) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on September 2. The winner will be chosen randomly on September 2 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.

Discuss this article in our forums

For the next four weeks, MacRumors is running a special giveaway event, which will see us highlighting and giving away high-quality luxury bags from manufacturers like Pad & Quill, Intrepid Bag Co, Whipping Post, and Saddleback Leather Company. We’ve got all of these bags on hand so we can give clear details on construction, quality, utility, and more.

For today’s giveaway, we’ve partnered with Pad & Quill, a company that makes a whole line of luxury Apple accessories from cases to Apple Watch bands to leather bags. We’ll be giving away the Luxury Briefcase in Galloper Black with Chestnut accents.

luxurybriefcase1

Pad & Quill’s Luxury Briefcase, priced at $495, is a large bag (15 inches by 11 inches by 4.2 inches) with enough pockets to hold whatever you might need to carry on a day to day basis.

There are two outer pockets for holding papers or other small, flat accessories, along with a main interior pocket that can hold up to a 15-inch MacBook. The main pocket has several smaller pockets inside (two dividers with five pockets total), perfect for holding all kinds of accessories.

I was able to fit my MacBook Pro, Retina MacBook, iPad Pro, iPad mini, iPhone in the bag along with various sundries like a hairbrush, a water bottle, a battery pack, pencils, two notebooks, and more. It holds a lot. There’s a full nickel zipper at the top and a flap that folds over and snaps, so the contents within the bag stay safe and protected while you’re hauling it around. When full, this is not a light bag – it weighs in at three pounds by itself.



Made of a thick, durable full-grain American cowhide leather, the Luxury Briefcase is immaculately constructed with features like careful hand stitching, rigid but comfortable leather handles and a removable shoulder strap with a leather pad. Out of the box, the Luxury Briefcase is stiff and pristine, but with use, it’ll loosen up and develop a unique, worn in look. The leather has been tanned so it’s resistant to stains and water, and the interior is made from a durable pigskin that looks like it’s going to hold up well to daily abuse.

Pad & Quill’s bags are all handmade and it shows in their construction. This looks like a $500 bag, and it’s nice enough to take to the office, but casual enough that it doesn’t look out of place in a less formal setting.

luxurybriefcase2

One MacRumors reader will be able to win a Luxury Briefcase from Pad & Quill. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize.

You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest will run from today (August 26) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on September 2. The winner will be chosen randomly on September 2 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.

Discuss this article in our forums

Twitter’s Night Mode Now Available for iOS

twitterTwitter today announced that it is expanding its “night mode” option to its iOS app, allowing Twitter users to enable a darker mode suitable for reading tweets at night. Twitter first brought night mode to Android devices in July and after a beta testing period, the company is now ready to offer the option in both of its mobile apps.

Night mode can be enabled by tapping on the gear icon and choosing the “Turn on night mode” option. It is disabled in the same way, by tapping the gear icon and selecting “Turn off night mode.”

Night mode should be a welcome addition for those iOS users who have been hoping Apple will implement its own Night Mode option, as it makes the Twitter interface much darker and more comfortable to look at in low light conditions.

Rolling out today – we’re bringing night mode to iOS! 🌙 https://t.co/XxNZHQdth9 pic.twitter.com/WLwKi4H0Oe

— Twitter (@twitter) August 22, 2016

Twitter’s new night mode feature is rolling out to Twitter users starting today. The Twitter app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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twitterTwitter today announced that it is expanding its “night mode” option to its iOS app, allowing Twitter users to enable a darker mode suitable for reading tweets at night. Twitter first brought night mode to Android devices in July and after a beta testing period, the company is now ready to offer the option in both of its mobile apps.

Night mode can be enabled by tapping on the gear icon and choosing the “Turn on night mode” option. It is disabled in the same way, by tapping the gear icon and selecting “Turn off night mode.”

Night mode should be a welcome addition for those iOS users who have been hoping Apple will implement its own Night Mode option, as it makes the Twitter interface much darker and more comfortable to look at in low light conditions.


Twitter’s new night mode feature is rolling out to Twitter users starting today. The Twitter app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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Nike Rebrands Running App to ‘Nike+ Run Club’ With Personalized Workouts

Nike today updated its popular “Nike+ Running” iOS app with a new name, “Nike+ Run Club,” as well as introducing various user interface changes and features (via Fast Company). The big new addition centers around “coaching plans” that let users choose …

Nike today updated its popular “Nike+ Running” iOS app with a new name, “Nike+ Run Club,” as well as introducing various user interface changes and features (via Fast Company). The big new addition centers around “coaching plans” that let users choose a workout and running plan, which then dynamically adapt to the specific progress made by each user.

Some of these plans include categories like “Getting Started” and “Get More Fit,” which falls in line with Nike’s mission statement of treating each one of its customers like a professional athlete in order to help them “reach their full potential.” Within each plan there’s a new “Benchmark Run” that gauges the improvements — or slacking off — of each user as they work their way through a workout.

nike iphone

With the latest version of fitness app Nike+ Run Club, for example, personalized coaching for newbie runners is central to the experience. As the app learns more about you, it tailors your workouts accordingly.

“If you have a body, you’re an athlete,” says Jay Lee, global head of product for Nike+. “What we’ve learned is that we really need to serve [athletes] as individuals if we want them to reach their full potential.”

On the social side of things, Nike has made it easier to share progress with friends on social networks as well as tweaked its leaderboards tab with new ways to compare and compete with people who are also using the app. Users will also be able to use the companion Apple Watch app independently of the iOS app, since the new update allows users to “run free” and leave their iPhone behind.

The new “Club” naming style follows in the footsteps of Nike+ Training Club [Direct Link], which focuses on a wider array of weight and strength training. For anyone who has yet to download it, Nike+ Run Club is available for free on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Nike+

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iPhone-Compatible ZEISS VR ONE Plus Headset Launches for $129

ZEISS has announced that its iPhone-compatible VR ONE Plus virtual reality headset is now available at Best Buy stores across the United States for $129. The headset has a universal smartphone tray that fits most smartphones with a screen size between 4.7 and 5.5 inches, including the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

zeiss-vr-one-plus-fold
iPhone users can use the VR ONE Plus with thousands of virtual reality apps on the App Store, including Google Cardboard apps, in addition to 360 degree YouTube videos and Google Street View. The headset has an immersive field of view of approximately 100° and can be used while wearing eyeglasses.

ZEISS is also accepting VR ONE Plus orders through its website in the U.S. and Europe.
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ZEISS has announced that its iPhone-compatible VR ONE Plus virtual reality headset is now available at Best Buy stores across the United States for $129. The headset has a universal smartphone tray that fits most smartphones with a screen size between 4.7 and 5.5 inches, including the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

zeiss-vr-one-plus-fold

iPhone users can use the VR ONE Plus with thousands of virtual reality apps on the App Store, including Google Cardboard apps, in addition to 360 degree YouTube videos and Google Street View. The headset has an immersive field of view of approximately 100° and can be used while wearing eyeglasses.

ZEISS is also accepting VR ONE Plus orders through its website in the U.S. and Europe.
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Facebook Announces Video-Based Social App ‘Lifestage’ For High Schoolers

Facebook has released a new teens-only social app called “Lifestage” that asks users to create profiles by uploading video clips instead of filling in text fields.

The standalone app is aimed at high school kids aged 21 and under, and doesn’t requir…

Facebook has released a new teens-only social app called “Lifestage” that asks users to create profiles by uploading video clips instead of filling in text fields.

The standalone app is aimed at high school kids aged 21 and under, and doesn’t require a Facebook account. Users are asked to select their high school and are then shown video profiles of people at the same school or ones nearby, as long as at least 20 people from the same school use the app.

facebook-lightstage

User profiles ask kids to upload videos of their “happy face”, “sad face”, likes, dislikes, best friend, the way they dance, and more, and Lifestage turns the clips into a video profile that others can then watch on the app’s social feed.

While there’s no restriction on who can download the app and create an account, anyone 22 or older will only be able to see their own profile, although Lifestage notes during sign-up that it can’t verify that users are the age they say they are. The app includes various highly visible blocking and reporting options, apparently to guard against the possibility of suspect users.

TechCrunch reports that the app was designed by Michael Sayman, a 19-year-old Facebook product manager who aims to replicate Facebook’s original incarnation as a college student network. “I wanted to work on an app that my demographic would relate to, or at least that my friends would want to use,” said Sayman.

The launch of Lifestage is certainly consistent with Mark Zuckerberg’s stated goal of putting video at the heart of all of Facebook’s apps and services, but it also points to the company’s continuing concern at Snapchat’s surging popularity among younger users, which has already led Facebook to imitate several of the app’s features in its photo-focused social offering, Instagram.

Time will tell whether Lifestage succeeds in attracting a younger crowd, or goes the same way as Poke, Slingshot, Paper, and Notify, all of which Facebook eventually binned following a lack of uptake.

Lifestage is a free download for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Facebook

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Apple Accepting Donations for Louisiana Flood Relief

Apple has added banners to its U.S. website, iTunes Store, and App Store encouraging customers to donate to the American Red Cross to help support people who have been affected by the widespread flooding in southern Louisiana.

Donation tiers available include $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $200, with all proceeds from donations sent to the American Red Cross. All transactions are processed as iTunes or App Store purchases.

redcrosslouisiana
Flooding in Louisiana, which started last week after torrential rainfall, have damaged more than 40,000 houses and left many thousands of people without homes. More than 20 parishes have been affected, and in many of the areas, flood insurance was not common because they weren’t known flood zones. The Red Cross has called the Louisiana flooding the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy.

Apple often puts out a call for donations for disaster relief. In the past, Apple has collected Red Cross iTunes donations for the 2016 fires in Alberta, the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the refugee and migration crisis in the Mediterranean sea, the 2013 Philippines typhoon, and more.

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Apple has added banners to its U.S. website, iTunes Store, and App Store encouraging customers to donate to the American Red Cross to help support people who have been affected by the widespread flooding in southern Louisiana.

Donation tiers available include $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $200, with all proceeds from donations sent to the American Red Cross. All transactions are processed as iTunes or App Store purchases.

redcrosslouisiana

Flooding in Louisiana, which started last week after torrential rainfall, have damaged more than 40,000 houses and left many thousands of people without homes. More than 20 parishes have been affected, and in many of the areas, flood insurance was not common because they weren’t known flood zones. The Red Cross has called the Louisiana flooding the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy.

Apple often puts out a call for donations for disaster relief. In the past, Apple has collected Red Cross iTunes donations for the 2016 fires in Alberta, the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the refugee and migration crisis in the Mediterranean sea, the 2013 Philippines typhoon, and more.

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