Many of the biggest U.S. multinationals have seized on the same exemption, which lets them avoid or delay repatriation taxes by buying Treasuries with their overseas cash. (The top 10 alone hold over $100 billion of the bonds.) That, in effect, enables the companies to turn billions of dollars in potential tax liabilities into millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies--all while they publicly bemoan the sky-high taxes that make it impossible for them to bring the money home.
Since 1962, the U.S. tax code requires overseas profits to be taxed at the corporate tax rates. So, companies can either keep the profits over seas, pay the tax on the already taxed profits, or, as this article details, invest in government securities. Proceeds from such investments are subject to the same tax rules as the overseas profits.
It interesting outlining how Apple's tax scheme works, including its own in-house investment firm to manage its cash investments. Where things go weird on me though is suggesting Apple is getting a tax subsidy buying government debt. The article goes so far to claim Apple has been paid $6 per tax payer over the past 5 years. The fact though is the government sells debt and anyone who buys those securities receives interest on their investments. If Apple, and other companies weren't purchasing the government securities, someone else would.
Interviewing with Amazon
Shivan Kaul Sahib:
My second round interview involved me being on line with a proctor (from ProctorU), whose job was to provide tech support and make sure I don't cheat. As preamble, the proctor made me download some software, one of which spun up a UI for chatting with the proctor and giving them access to my machine so they can take control of my entire computer, including mouse. The proctor then proceeded to shut down all my running applications for me (I never realized what an unnerving experience it is to see your mouse move on your screen under someone else's bidding). Then, my system settings were messed around with to make sure I can't take screenshots. Of course, my camera and microphone are taken control of as well.
Yeah, that's kind of nuts. It seems like agreeing to grant some rando control to your personal computer should be failing the test.
iTunes may be venue for early release movies
21st Century Fox Inc., Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. and Comcast Corp.'s Universal Pictures all confirmed over the past week that they are looking to offer high-priced, home-video rentals of new movies shortly after they open in theaters. Some studio executives have been pushing to allow home rentals as early as two weeks after theatrical debuts and are considering a deal with iTunes as one option...
The early releases likely will be significantly more expensive than typical purchases, but could be pretty compelling, especially for families. One thing I might miss though is high-end surround sound that typically get on Blu-ray and in theaters.
Apple passes 20 million Apple Music subscribers
Since it launched in 2015, Apple has passed the 20 million subscriber number. This is up 15% from September when it posted 17 million subscribers.
The speed with which Apple has built the streaming service -- essentially starting from zero in June 2015 -- may be even more impressive than the latest numbers, which still trail competitor Spotify by 20 million. Cue, who spoke to Billboard alongside Beats 1's Zane Lowe, says "of course we want more and we want it to go faster -- we're hungry!" But, he adds, "We can't forget that, as an industry, we still have very few music subscribers. There are billions of people listening to music and we haven't even hit 100 million subscribers. There's a lot of growth opportunity."
The recent surge in growth likely is attributed to the revamped Apple Music and resulting attention since iOS 10 launched in September.
Single Sign-On Now Available for Apple TV
Most of Apple TV's streaming apps require a cable/dish subscription to access content. With so many apps out there, it's a real inconvenience to authenticate customer credentials on an app-by-app basis. The single sign-on feature announced with tvOS aims to make this easier as requiring users to log in only once to access authorized content across all installed apps.
This feature is now functioning.
While Single Sign-on was introduced and tested in the tvOS 10.1 and iOS 10.2 betas, the feature was remotely released today to all iOS 10 and tvOS 10 devices. Using Single Sign-on does not require one of the betas, and is instead immediately available to all iPhone and Apple TV users running iOS 10 or tvOS 10.
Apple still investigating iPhone 6s battery issues
Apple issued a bulletin in China that appears to expand on the company's repair program. The company said it will issue an iOS update to help gather diagnostics on the issue.
Apple stresses this it doesn't believe this is a safety issue.
As a result of our investigation on this, we found that a small number of iPhone 6s devices made in September and October 2015 contained a battery component that was exposed to controlled ambient air longer than it should have been before being assembled into battery packs. Two weeks ago, we launched a worldwide program to replace affected batteries, free of charge. We again apologize for any customer inconvenience. It's important to note, this is not a safety issue.
A small number of customers outside of the affected range have also reported an unexpected shutdown. Some of these shutdowns can occur under normal conditions in order for the iPhone to protect its electronics. In an effort to gather more information, we are including additional diagnostic capability in an iOS software update which will be available next week. This will allow us to gather information over the coming weeks which may potentially help us improve the algorithms used to manage battery performance and shutdown. If such improvements can be made, they will be delivered in future software updates.
Dropbox app now offers offline mode
With mobile offline folders, you can tag an entire folder to have its contents automatically synced to your phone or tablet--no need to mark individual files for download. Just open Dropbox while you're connected to the internet, and the app will take care of the rest. So whether you're on the go or off the grid, you'll always have access to your most important info.
This seems to work like selective sync on the desktop. This is a nice feature for Pro, Business, and Enterprise customers.
Romeo and Juliet Apple Ad
"Your movies look like movies on iPhone 7."
One little touch is the father doing the filming is shown watching the play and not the phone screen. In the capture everything culture, it's easy to not live in the moment.
Apple details autonomous vehicle efforts in regulatory comment
Making the rounds is Apple's Director of Product Integrity Steve Kenner submitted a comment on Apple's behalf to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The comment is on the federal agency's Automated Vehicle Policy.
Apple uses machine learning to make its products and services smarter, more intuitive, and more personal. The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.
While Apple's exact car plans are not known, it pretty clear Apple is working on autonomous vehicle technology. So, its public comment on a draft policy doesn't really reveal much, but it does seem to be the most public statement of its efforts to date.
Fake Apple chargers fail safety tests
99% of fake Apple chargers tested failed recent sweep of safety tests, according to the BBC. The tests found that the chargers had insufficient insulation.
Trading Standards, which commissioned the checks, said counterfeit electrical goods bought online were an "unknown entity".
Of 400 counterfeit chargers, only three were found to have enough insulation to protect against electric shocks.
It comes as Apple has complained of a "flood" of fakes being sold on Amazon.
Apple revealed in October that it was suing a third-party vendor, which it said was putting customers "at risk" by selling power adapters masquerading as those sold by the Californian tech firm.
The big issue with Amazon is it sells Apple accessories that are fulfilled by third-party retailers. Amazon typically defaults to an less expensive retailer, so unless the buyer is astute on their order screen, they not aware of who is actually selling the product. If the product looks legit, consumers may not know they got an inferior product.