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'Europe' Articles

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

Apple to Attend EU Hearing on Tuesday to Discuss Taxes

Apple, Google, McDonald's, and IKEA representatives will be in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss their tax deals in Europe, reports Reuters. The hearing will be hosted by the European Parliament's tax committee, but the lawmakers do not have the power to order any changes, according to the report. Nevertheless, the meeting should raise some important questions about each company's compliance with EU tax rules in the past and present. Apple is one of several multinational corporations that have been targeted for possible corporate tax avoidance in Europe. In September 2014, the European Commission formally accused the iPhone maker of receiving illegal state aid from Ireland, where it has reportedly paid a reduced tax rate of around 1.8% on it overseas profits. Apple operates multiple subsidiaries in Ireland to pay significantly less tax outside of the U.S., where it earns up to 60% of its revenue. The company's $64.1 billion in profits generated from 2004 to 2012 could be subject to a higher 12.5% tax rate, in which case it would owe more than $8 billion in back taxes. A decision in the tax probe was originally expected in late 2015, but the European Commission's request for additional information has pushed the investigation into 2016. Last week, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager told reporters "don't hold your breath" in terms of when the commission will make a decision. Apple previously said it pays all of its taxes and added that it would appeal any decision made against the company. Update: While Reuters says the hearing will take place on

EU Competition Chief on Apple Tax Probe: 'Don't Hold Your Breath'

A decision in the European Commission's probe of Apple's tax affairs in Ireland may not be reached soon, according to EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager (via Bloomberg).“Don’t hold your breath,” she told reporters in Brussels on Monday about the timing of decisions targeting Apple and online shopping giant Amazon.com Inc, whose tax affairs in Luxembourg are also under intense scrutiny. “I’m just warning you.”Apple is one of several multinational corporations, alongside Amazon, McDonald's, Starbucks, and others, that have been targeted for possible corporate tax avoidance in Europe. Brussels launched the probe in June 2014, and it formally accused the iPhone maker of receiving illegal state aid from Ireland three months later. If Apple's $64.1 billion in profits generated from 2004 to 2012 are subjected to a 12.5% tax rate, compared to its current foreign tax rate of about 1.8%, the company could owe more than $8 billion in back taxes. Apple continues to deny any wrongdoing, and vows to appeal any decision that goes against the company. Apple operates multiple subsidiaries in Ireland to pay significantly less tax outside of the U.S., where it earns up to 60% of its revenue. A decision in the tax probe was originally expected in late 2015, but the European Commission's request for additional information has pushed the investigation into 2016. 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

Tim Cook Visits Europe to Meet EU Antitrust Chief, Pope Francis and Italian Developers

Apple CEO Tim Cook traveled to Europe this week to meet with European Commission antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager in Brussels on Thursday, before heading to Rome on Friday to meet Pope Francis and Italian developers. Cook first met with Vestager to lobby against an European tax investigation that could force the iPhone and iPad maker to pay more than $8 billion in back taxes on overseas earnings, according to Bloomberg. European Commission headquarters in Brussels (Image: Hungary Today) Apple is accused of operating multiple subsidiaries in Ireland to avoid paying higher taxes outside the United States, where it earns just under 60% of its revenue. Apple books its taxes in Ireland using low operating costs, allowing it to pay a foreign tax rate of only 1.8%, according to the report. If the European Commission finds wrongdoing with Apple’s corporate arrangement in Ireland, the company's $64.1 billion in profit generated from 2004 to 2012 could be subject to a higher 12.5% corporate tax rate -- just over $8 billion in back taxes. A decision in the probe could be made by March, but may take longer due to additional information requested by European regulators. Apple continues to deny any wrongdoing, and vows to take the European Commission to court over any negative verdict. Meanwhile, the agenda of Cook's meeting with Pope Francis remains private. The 15-minute discussion was held at 11:30 a.m. local time. Pope Francis is known to incorporate technology into his position and takes to Twitter fairly regularly to share messages, and his old iPad was

Apple Now Accepting iPhone 6s In-Store Reservations in Second Wave Launch Countries

Apple is now accepting iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in-store reservations through its Reserve and Pickup program in six European countries where the smartphones are set to launch this Friday, October 9, including Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus reservations on Apple Online Store in Switzerland European customers can select an iPhone model, color and storage size and make a reservation at a local Apple Store for in-store pickup on October 9. Most iPhone 6s models remain available for in-store reservation in all six countries, but iPhone 6s Plus models are very limited at most locations. When you arrive at the Apple Store during your 30-minute check-in window, most locations should have a special line for customers with reservations. Only the person named on the reservation can pick up the iPhone -- bring a government-issued photo ID. Reservations are limited to 2 per customer. The new iPhones launch in 40 more countries on October 9: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan. Apple plans to launch the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in over 130 countries by yearend.

T-Mobile Expands Simple Global Coverage to All of Europe and South America

T-Mobile has announced the expansion of its Simple Global coverage to an additional 20 countries to now cover all of Europe and South America. Simple Global is now available in the Bahamas and 145 total countries worldwide, covering more than 90% of the areas that Americans travel abroad each year. Simple Global provides Simple Choice postpaid customers with unlimited low-speed data and texting at no extra cost, and flat-rate calls for 20 cents per minute, outside of the United States. It is complemented by Mobile Without Borders, which allows full talk, text and 4G LTE data usage in Canada and Mexico at no extra cost.“We’ve just made your traveling even easier in 20 more destinations around the world, expanding Simple Global to cover all of Europe and all of South America,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “The carriers have made billions overcharging consumers who just want to stay connected overseas, and we’ve changed all that! Today, we made it even simpler to text, search or keep up on social media in a total of 145 countries and destinations, all at no extra cost!”Simple Global is now available in these additional countries and destinations: Caribbean: Bahamas, Haiti Europe: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Guernsey, Alderney, Jersey, Sark, Isle of Man Others: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, KyrgyzstanSimple Global provides a standard data speed of 128 Kbps. No tethering is allowed. Update: Sprint has also added 33 new countries to Open World, which provides free calling and

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus Priced Higher in Canada, Australia and Europe as U.S. Dollar Remains Strong

Apple has set higher prices for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in Canada, Australia and other countries to reflect a strengthening U.S. dollar and fluctuating currency exchange rates. The off-contract prices for the iPhone 6s Plus in Canada, for example, are $1,029, $1,159 and $1,289 CAD for 16GB, 64GB and 128GB of storage space respectively. Comparatively, the iPhone 6 Plus cost $969, $1,099 and $1,229 in Canadian dollars for the same capacities prior to Apple's media event yesterday. That is $60 less for each model. The off-contract prices for the iPhone 6s Plus in Australia are $1,229, $1,379 and $1,529 AUD for 16GB, 64GB and 128GB of storage respectively. Earlier this week, the iPhone 6 Plus retailed for $1,149, $1,299 and $1,449 in Australian dollars for the same storage sizes respectively. Similarly, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have higher prices at launch than the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in euro-based countries such as France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands. The base 16GB iPhone 6 retailed for €699 last September, for example, while the 16GB iPhone 6s will debut for €739. Not all countries have been affected by the exchange rate, however, as the iPhone 6s Plus is priced the same as the iPhone 6 Plus in the United Kingdom. iPhone 6 Plus was most recently priced at £619, £699 and £789 in the U.K. for 16GB, 64GB and 128GB respectively, while the iPhone 6s Plus will have equal prices. The new iPhone 6s Plus retains the same pricing as the iPhone 6 Plus in the

Apple Being Sued in Europe Over 'iWatch' Ad Campaign on Google

Irish software development studio Probendi is suing Apple in a Milan court for using its "iWatch" trademark in Europe as part of a Google AdWords campaign, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been paying for sponsored links on Google in an attempt to redirect users that search for "iWatch" to the Apple Watch website, in order to avoid missing out on customers that search for the wrong product name.“Apple has systematically used iWatch wording on Google search engine in order to direct customers to its own website, advertising Apple Watch,” says a tribunal filing obtained by Bloomberg. “Apple never replied to our requests and objections, while Google said they are not responsible for links.” "iWatch" was a commonly used name to refer to Apple's much-rumored smartwatch before it was released, however the device was ultimately named the Apple Watch. Apple filed for "iWatch" trademarks in Japan, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey and other countries, but Probendi has owned the trademark in Europe since 2008 for its health and safety communication software. Google's AdWords trademark policy states that it "will investigate and may enforce certain restrictions on the use of that trademark in AdWords text ads," but the company has yet to take any action against Apple. As of writing, searching for "iWatch" on Google in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and multiple other European countries still displays Apple Watch sponsored text ads. Probendi originally planned to capitalize on Apple's announcement of the Apple Watch last year by using its "iWatch" trademark in