Apple: Technology & Tax
The much anticipated iPhone 7 materialised this week, and no doubt it will help to lift Apple's sales given the crucial importance of the iPhone product line to Apple's revenues. Lots of fuss in the media, and especially social media, about the demise of the traditional headphone jack, but, like it or not, Apple has always been quick to get rid of what it sees as legacy technology. Naturally, there is the unhappiness that such a mega-rich company is likely to make even more money from the new wireless headphone opportunity brought about by the change. Meanwhile, the tax affairs of Apple continue to stir debate. The European Commission's demand that Apple should repay Ireland €13 billion in back taxes, having benefitted from 'illegal' tax deals with the Irish government, illustrates the wider power struggle between transnational corporations and governments in running and controlling the global economy. Interestingly, Ireland and the US are both siding with Apple, although for very different reasons. Ireland wants to remain an attractive low-tax destination for foreign direct investment, while the US government is concerned that Apple will offset the extra tax demanded against tax due in the United States. Whatever the outcome of the expected appeal, Apple is likely to remain the most profitable publicly-traded company in the world, while dividing opinion on the costs and benefits that TNCs bring to the global economy of the 21st century..
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Author: Peter Lowe
I am particularly interested in the geographical dimension to conflicts, as well as the geographical aspects to development and globalisation issues.