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'Europe' Articles

AirPods Deliveries Arrive Across Europe as Retail Store Stock Dwindles

Early orders of AirPods arrived across Europe this morning as people were seen waiting outside Apple retail stores eager to get hold of a pair of the new wireless earphones before initial stock ran out. Queues were reported outside Apple's Regent Street store in London and some other brick-and-mortar stores scattered around the U.K., but stock is reportedly limited and going fast. Regent Street was said to have only 150 units, while the Apple Store in Bath reportedly had only 10 in stock upon opening. Reddit user googang619 said that Newcastle's Eldon Square store initially had 25 pairs in at 9 a.m. but "they had sold twenty of them in the first 10 minutes". People queue for AirPods outside Regent Street Apple Store (Image: Derek Baker) For those lucky enough to have got in on the first wave of online orders last week and received the earphones on Monday via courier, the first impressions of Apple's audio accessory have so far been overwhelmingly positive, with wearability and ease of pairing coming in for particular praise. Bringing a new case of AirPods within two inches of an unlocked iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and flipping the lid brings up a dialog on the screen offering to pair the device. Once the option is tapped, the AirPods are identified as the owner's and subsequently pair automatically. MacRumors reader The Game 161 said of the Bluetooth connection: "Incredible, left phone in house, walked up the drive and it was still there". Twitter user Long Zheng called the Bluetooth connection range "spectacular" and said he was able to walk around

Apple Set to Appeal EU Tax Ruling This Week

Apple is set to appeal this week against the European Commission's ruling that it must pay up to 13 billion euros ($13.8 billion) to Ireland in back taxes (via Reuters). EU regulators concluded in August that Apple had received undue tax benefits from Ireland – where the company's European headquarters are located – which allowed it to pay substantially less than other companies. Apple CEO Tim Cook vowed to appeal the ruling at the time, calling the back tax calculation a "false number" and the EU's judgement "total political crap". The Irish government also rejected the conclusion and said it would fight to reverse it. On Monday, Apple's General Counsel Bruce Sewell told Reuters that the company's imminent legal challenge will be based on its belief that EU regulators willfully ignored tax experts to come to its conclusions. "The Irish put in an expert opinion from an incredibly well-respected Irish tax lawyer. The Commission not only didn't attack that - didn't argue with it, as far as we know - they probably didn't even read it. Because there is no reference (in the EU decision) whatsoever."Sewell also said Apple intends to challenge the EU's basis for its penalty judgement, and will argue that a "crazy notion of non-residency" was chosen on purpose to produce a punitive amount, when other legitimate tax law arguments could have been used that would "produce much lower numbers". As to why the EU had gone down its chosen route, Sewell said he believed regulators had singled out the company because of its success. "Apple is not an outlier in any sense that

European Union Moves Forward With Plans to Eliminate Roaming Charges Next Year

European Commission members met on Wednesday to discuss draft rules intended to eliminate roaming charges in the European Union as of June 15, 2017. (Image: TapSmart) The Commission said it is determined to put an end to roaming charges commonly billed by carriers when a customer calls, sends messages, or uses data on their mobile device while abroad in the European Union, outside of their primary country of residence, subject to proportionate checks for abusive usage. European regulators have proposed a "Roam like at Home" solution that would allow travelers to call, text, and browse the web on their mobile devices when abroad in the European Union for no extra charge than the price they pay at home. It is not intended to be used for permanent roaming. "Roam like at Home" is aimed at people who travel in the European Union for work or leisure. "They spend more time at home than they do abroad, and they make most of their calls, texts and use data in their home country," the Commission explained.Example: with his €70 per month contract, Tim living in Netherlands gets unlimited calls, texts and data for his smartphone. When he travels abroad on holidays, he will have unlimited calls and text. For data, he will get twice the equivalent of €70 worth of data at the wholesale roaming data price cap, i.e. 0.85 cent/MB according to the Commission wholesale proposal, meaning more than 16 GB in this case. While roaming, he will get twice the volume he has paid for.The latest draft further clarifies consumer rights, such as ensuring that customers abusing a carrier's

Apple Maps Now Provides Traffic Conditions in Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Slovenia

Apple Maps has recently been updated with all-new traffic data in Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Slovenia, providing users with real-time updates about vehicular traffic in three more European countries. As usual, highly congested areas will display orange or red lines along the roads to indicate that drivers may face delays. The traffic feature is also now available in Gibraltar, a small British territory on Spain's south coast. Apple Maps traffic data is available in over 40 other countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Gibraltar, and select other regions in

Ireland to Formally Appeal $14 Billion Apple Tax Ruling This Week

Ireland's government will this week formally submit an appeal against the European Commission's ruling that it must collect 13 billion euros in unpaid back taxes from Apple, according to Ireland's finance minister Michael Noonan."The government fundamentally disagrees with the European Commission's analysis and the decision left no choice but to take an appeal to the European Courts and this will be submitted tomorrow," Noonan told a European Parliament committee in Brussels on Tuesday.Ireland agreed in September to join Apple in its fight against the European Commission, which in August said the iPhone maker received illegal state aid from the country. The ruling followed a three-year inquiry that found Apple paid between only 0.005% and 1% in taxes in Ireland between 2003 and 2014, compared to the country's headline 12.5% corporate tax rate. Ireland is looking to protect its tax regime that has benefited several multinational corporations, according to Reuters. Apple previously said it is "confident" the ruling "will be overturned" by European courts, but noted the process is "likely to take several years." Apple said it has "provisioned several billion dollars for the U.S. for payment," but it does not expect any near-term impact on its financial results. Apple insists it is "the largest taxpayer in the world" and "follows the law and pays all of the taxes" it owes in each country it operates. Apple CEO Tim Cook has described the tax accusations as "total political crap," and said the lower-end 0.005% tax rate calculated by the European Commission is a "false

Apple Maps Now Provides Traffic Data in Four More European Countries

Apple Maps has recently been updated with all-new traffic data in Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, and San Marino, providing users with real-time updates about vehicular traffic in four more European countries. As usual, highly congested areas will have orange or red lines along the roads to indicate that drivers may face delays. Apple Maps traffic data is available in over 30 other countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, and other European countries. Meanwhile, Apple Maps transit directions are now available in São Paulo,

T-Mobile Extends Free Data in Europe and South America Until 2017

T-Mobile has announced it is extending its free unlimited high-speed data travel promotion throughout South America and 19 European countries until the end of 2016. Simple Choice and T-Mobile ONE customers will be able to text and use data at the fastest available roaming speeds up to 4G LTE at no extra cost between October 1 and December 31. European Destinations: Armenia, Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, U.K. South American Destinations: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Easter Island, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay,

Apple Facing European Commission's Tax Ruling Without a Lobbying Presence in Brussels

Following the European Commission's ruling that Apple must pay 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back taxes because of its "undue tax benefits" in Ireland, The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that Apple is facing the EC "without the army of lobbyists and public relations campaigners typical in such fights." The company's lack of a lobbying presence in Europe isn't new, however, as it spent less than €900,000 lobbying European institutions in 2015. According to public filings, in total Apple "doesn't employ any full-time lobbyists" in Brussels, and only five people work part-time. In contrast, Google spent "at least" €4.25 million in 2015, and employs more than ten people in lobbying positions in the European capital. Apple's retail location in Brussels Sources familiar with the matter stated that Apple's "lack of a presence in the EU capital" led to it being unsuccessful in gathering information over the past few years about the impending tax evasion ruling from the European Commission. Still, a source close to the commission's competition office theorized that a heavier lobbying presence might not have been all that helpful for Apple in the end, since the lobbying tactics of a company like Google have not gotten it out of "many antitrust investigations" over the past few years. Google’s experience with the commission’s many antitrust investigations over the years may suggest a bigger Apple lobbying presence in Brussels wouldn’t have had a meaningful impact on the regulator’s decision. People familiar with the directorate say there is

Ireland Agrees to Appeal European Commission's Apple Tax Ruling

Ireland's coalition government has agreed to appeal the European Commission's ruling that it must collect 13 billion euros in back taxes from Apple, according to Reuters. A motion will come before the country's Parliament on Wednesday seeking an endorsement of that decision, a government spokesperson said. It was always expected that both Apple and Ireland would appeal any adverse decision, as insisted by the country's finance minister Michael Noonan, but Ireland's cabinet members became divided on the matter following the ruling. After meeting on Friday, however, the cabinet has seemingly come together and agreed to join Apple's fight against the European Commission. Earlier this week, the European Commission ruled that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland, following a three-year inquiry into the company's tax arrangements in the country. The investigation's results showed that Apple allegedly paid between 0.005% and 1% in taxes in Ireland between 2003 and 2014, compared to the the country's headline 12.5% corporate tax rate. Apple CEO Tim Cook called the findings "total political crap" and described the lower end 0.005% tax rate as a "false number." In an open letter, Cook said Apple is confident the decision "will be reversed," but the appeal process could take several years in European courts. Apple has previously said it fully complies with international tax law and is the largest taxpayer in the world. Cook also said that Apple has "provisioned several billion dollars for the U.S. for payment," and he forecasted that it could repatriate that

Tim Cook Calls Apple's Irish Tax Avoidance Accusations 'Total Political Crap'

Apple CEO Tim Cook today spoke with Paschal Sheehy, the host of Irish radio show Morning Ireland, providing more commentary on the situation with the European Commission and its decision to make Apple pay 13 billion euros in back taxes from a period between 2003 and 2014. Cook's stance falls in line with his open letter on the situation from earlier in the week, first providing backstory about Apple's history in Ireland and then remaining hopeful that the ruling will ultimately be overturned. His wording -- calling the ruling "political crap" -- also echoes an interview from late last year surrounding a similar tax evasion topic. The radio show marks the first interview Cook has made since the European Commission's ruling earlier in the week. He calls the decision "wrongheaded," and specifically refers to the 0.005 percent tax rate claim as a "false number." In its ruling, the EC stated that Apple paid only a 0.005 percent tax on its European profits, but Cook affirmed that Apple is "subject to the statutory rate in Ireland of 12.5 percent," and that the company "paid $400m in taxes in 2014." When asked directly how he feels when Apple is painted as gaining an "illegal" advantage over tax benefits, Cook mentioned his frustrations over the ruling, and compared it to the company's reaction to the FBI drama earlier in the year, saying Apple never chooses the "easy thing" over the "right thing." In this vein, responding to the question of whether Apple has anything to apologize for or if it did anything wrong, Cook said succinctly "no, we haven't done anything

Apple Expects Appeal of Irish Tax Ruling to Take 'Several Years' With No Impact on Near-Term Financial Results

Following the European Commission's ruling that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland, and must pay $14.5 billion in back taxes to the country, the company has published a new FAQ that addresses potential concerns investors may have about the decision and the effect on its bottom line. Apple started out by confirming the decision is not final and that it plans to appeal. The company is "confident" the ruling "will be overturned" by courts in the European Union, but it notes the process is "likely to take several years." In the meantime, Apple does not expect any near-term impact on its financial results.How does this decision impact Apple’s near-term financial results? Will you take a tax charge? Does this alter your previous guidance? We do not expect any near-term impact on our financial results nor a restatement of previous results from this decision. We have previously accrued U.S. taxes related to the income in question. The tax rate guidance for Apple’s fourth fiscal quarter that we provided on July 26, 2016 does not change as a result of this decision.Apple added that it does not currently expect the decision to have an impact on its tax rate or cash balance going forward, but the company anticipates it will place an unspecified amount of cash in an escrow account. Apple expects the amount will be reported as restricted cash on its balance sheet. The European Commission's ruling followed a three-year inquiry into Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland, where it paid between 0.005% and 1% in taxes from 2003 through 2014, compared to the country's

Tim Cook Pens Open Letter on Tax Evasion Claims, Says Apple is Confident Decision 'Will be Reversed'

Tim Cook has posted an open letter on Apple's website in response to the European Commission's ruling that Apple must pay 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back taxes dating from 2003 through 2014. Cook's letter begins by discussing Apple's long history in Ireland, which dates back to a small facility that housed 60 employees in 1980. That statistic has now expanded to 6,000 employees across Ireland in total, benefiting both the company and local economies. As it's grown, Cook says that Apple has become "the largest taxpayer in the world," and that "Apple follows the law and we pay all the taxes we owe." Directly confronting the European Commission's ruling, Cook claims that the EC has "launched an effort to rewrite Apple's history in Europe." As responsible corporate citizens, we are also proud of our contributions to local economies across Europe, and to communities everywhere. As our business has grown over the years, we have become the largest taxpayer in Ireland, the largest taxpayer in the United States, and the largest taxpayer in the world. Over the years, we received guidance from Irish tax authorities on how to comply correctly with Irish tax law — the same kind of guidance available to any company doing business there. In Ireland and in every country where we operate, Apple follows the law and we pay all the taxes we owe. The Apple CEO points out that the claim -- stating Ireland gave Apple a "special deal" on its taxes -- is completely false and "has no basis in fact or in law." Cook thinks the commission's ruling also has the potential to set a

Apple Must Repay $14.5 Billion in Back Taxes, EU Commission Rules

Apple must repay 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back taxes dating back to 2003-2014, the European Commission has ruled (via BBC). The Apple tax ruling was confirmed this morning, after the judgement was leaked to the media yesterday. In unequivocal wording, the EU commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Apple's tax benefits in Ireland are "illegal". "The Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid." Vestiges said this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1 percent on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 percent in 2014. Therefore in 2014 Apple paid 0.005 percent tax on EU profits, which means that "For every million euros in profits, it (Apple) paid just €500 in taxes," said Vestager. "This is based on an in-depth investigation, it's based on the facts. I also think and hope that if it goes to the courts that it will be upheld by the European Court." According to the EC's press release, the existing tax rulings endorsed a way to establish the taxable profits for two Irish incorporated companies of the Apple group (Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe), which did not correspond to economic reality: "Almost all sales profits recorded by the two companies were internally attributed to a 'head office'. The Commission's assessment showed that these 'head offices' existed only on paper and could

European Commission Rules Apple Received Illegal State Aid From Ireland, Owes Billions in Back Taxes

The European Commission on Tuesday will rule that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland, according to a 130-page judgment known by Financial Times.Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager circulated the final ruling to her counterparts in the EU’s executive branch only on Monday morning, deploying a fast-track procedure in a bid to minimize leaks. The usual notice period is two weeks.The ruling follows a three-year investigation into Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland, where it has reportedly paid around 2% or less in taxes compared to the country's headline 12.5% corporate tax rate. The commission's ruling asks Dublin to raise a new tax assessment on Apple, which could have to restate its accounts as a result of the ruling, according to the report. One area of focus is Apple's tax arrangements for its intellectual property assets, which is "a hotly disputed area likely to lead to a large claim for back taxes." The ruling means Apple could owe several billions of euros in back taxes. JPMorgan estimated the company could be forced to pay up to 19 billion euros ($21.2 billion) in back taxes, although a previous study placed the figure around $8 billion, and some analysts believe the amount could be a comparatively lower $1 billion. Europe's competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager will provide an actual estimate of Apple's potential tax bill when the European Commission's findings are publicly released on Tuesday, according to the report. Apple declined to comment on the matter, reiterating that the company fully complies with international tax

Adverse Ruling Against Apple Expected in European Tax Probe

The 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

U.S. Warns Apple Tax Probe in Europe Could Set 'Undesirable Precedent'

Just weeks before the European Commission is expected to make a decision in its landmark Apple tax probe, the U.S. Treasury department has criticized the Brussels-based body for "threatening international agreements on tax reform," and warned that a decision against the iPhone maker could "set an undesirable precedent." Apple's offices in Cork, Ireland According to Financial Times, the U.S. Treasury said the European Commission is becoming a "supranational tax authority," going beyond acceptable enforcement of competition and state aid law. The U.S. has previously called out Brussels for setting unfair and "disturbing" precedents and singling out U.S. companies. Brussels has accused Apple of sheltering tens of billions of dollars in Ireland, partly in exchange for creating jobs in the country, a deal that could be considered illegal state aid. Apple operates multiple subsidiaries in Ireland to pay significantly less tax outside of the U.S., where it earns up to two-thirds of its revenue. Apple's $64.1 billion in profits generated from 2004 to 2012 could be subject to a higher 12.5% tax rate, compared to the sub-2% it has paid in Ireland, in which case it could owe more than $8 billion in back taxes. Apple insists that it is the largest taxpayer in the world and pays every cent of tax it owes under current laws. A decision in the tax probe is expected in September or October, according to Ireland's finance minister Michael Noonan. Apple CEO Tim Cook said last month that the company would appeal any unfavorable ruling against the company. Note: Due to the

Nobel-Winning Economist Calls Apple's Irish Tax Arrangement 'Fraud'

Joseph Stiglitz, an economic professor at Columbia University and 2001 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, has described Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland as "a fraud" in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV."Here we have the largest corporation in capitalization not only in America, but in the world, bigger than GM was at its peak, and claiming that most of its profits originate from about a few hundred people working in Ireland -- that’s a fraud,” Stiglitz said. “A tax law that encourages American firms to keep jobs abroad is wrong, and I think we can get a consensus in America to get that changed."Under current U.S. laws, Apple is able to shift billions of dollars in profits to Ireland, where it operates multiple subsidiaries, sheltering those earnings from up to a 35 percent corporate tax rate in the United States. Ireland has a much lower corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, but Apple is believed to have a sweetheart deal with Ireland that sees it pay less than 2 percent in exchange for creating jobs in the country. Apple has been the subject of a European Commission probe related to its Irish tax arrangements since June 2014, with the executive body investigating whether the deal constitutes illegal state aid. Ireland's finance minister Michael Noonan recently said he expects a decision to be reached by September or October, and Apple could owe more than $8 billion in back taxes depending on the outcome. Apple insists it is the largest taxpayer in the world and that it pays every cent of tax it owes under current laws. In a late 2015

Ireland Expects EU to Reach Decision in Apple Tax Probe by October

A decision in the European Commission probe of Apple's alleged "sweetheart tax deal" in Ireland is expected to be reached by September or October, according to Ireland's finance minister Michael Noonan (via Reuters)."Commissioner Vestager indicated to me that there wouldn't be a decision in July but there would probably be a decision early in the autumn. My expectation is September or early October," Michael Noonan told a news conference after meeting antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Tuesday.Apple is accused of sheltering tens of billions of dollars in Ireland in exchange for creating jobs in the country, a deal that could be considered illegal state aid. The company operates multiple subsidiaries in Ireland to pay significantly less tax outside of the U.S., where it earns up to two-thirds of its revenue. Apple's $64.1 billion in profits generated from 2004 to 2012 could be subject to a higher 12.5% tax rate, compared to the less than 2% that it pays, in which case it could owe more than $8 billion in back taxes. Apple insists that it is the largest taxpayer in the world and pays every cent of tax it owes under current laws. A decision in the tax probe was originally expected in late 2015, but the European Commission's requests for additional information pushed the investigation into 2016. Apple is one of several multinational corporations to be scrutinized for corporate tax avoidance in Europe recently, alongside Google, McDonald's, IKEA, and others. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in

Apple's Website Has Hidden Easter Egg to Celebrate Euro 2016

Apple quietly updated the "choose your country" selector on its website a few weeks ago in the United Kingdom and other European countries, adding Euro 2016 country groups and a bracket to celebrate the ongoing football tournament in France. Apple also temporarily added a handful of countries and regions that it does not have regional websites for, including Albania, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Ukraine, and Wales, to ensure that the groups and bracket are filled out properly. The fun "easter egg" discovery is for the 2016 UEFA European Championship currently being held between June 10 and July 10 in France, where eight teams remain: Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and

T-Mobile USA Offering Free Unlimited Data in Europe This Summer

T-Mobile has announced a new promotion that will offer postpaid customers free unlimited high-speed data, at up to 4G LTE speeds, in all European countries, except Andorra, between July 1 and August 31 of this year. The carrier noted that customers will receive the highest available data speeds depending on where they are traveling in Europe, while text messaging is free worldwide and calls are 20 cents per minute throughout the continent. Customers do not have to take any steps to take advantage of the promotion. T-Mobile will also be gifting all passengers on any domestic U.S. flight with Gogo service with one free hour of Wi-Fi on their smartphone between this Friday and Sunday at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Being a T-Mobile customer is not required. Last, T-Mobile will be adding Belize to its Simple Global coverage area starting July 1, bringing free unlimited low-speed data and texting, and calls for 20 cents per minute, to the country. The expansion means that Simple Global will now be available in every country in the central and south