Williamson Heckled By Siri

Gavin Williamson’s phone goes off as he speaks at the despatch box. Was he heckled by the sound of his own voice? One of his Insta stories from the Commons chamber? With the audio turned up, it turns out it was actually Siri: “I’ve found something on the web for Syrian Democratic Forces”

Perhaps soon AI will be able to replace MPs as lobby fodder. Dread to think what else Siri has overheard the Defence Secretary say…

Ireland Asserts Tax Sovereignty in European Commission Legal Battle

Ireland’s Finance Ministry is not holding back in the battle with the European Commission. In a legal briefing over the Apple Tax case the Irish government argues that:

  • The Commission has misunderstood the relevant facts and Irish law
  • The Commission has misapplied State Aid law
  • The Commission wrongly invokes novel legal rules
  • The Commission has exceeded its powers and interfered with national tax sovereignty

There is no doubt that the Commission is trying to use State Aid laws to thwart Ireland’s competitive tax regime over which the EU has no competence. Ironically if Ireland loses it gets a windfall of €13 billion in taxes (about €2,600 per person). That is enough to wipe out the budget deficit for a couple of years…

Nevertheless it is a fight that Ireland wants to win. Post-Brexit Ireland wants to be seen as corporate America’s best friend in the EU. Ireland is looking to a high-tech future across the Atlantic…

New Apple Mac Book Has Unlimited Data Retention Capability

book

The new Apple Mac book has been released today, and Techno Guido can bring you a first look at its impressive new features. Good news for users of current Apple products as there is no longer a need to worry about battery life, it offers unlimited data retention, as well as an anti-glare screen, all touch-based interactions, comes with Apple Care warranty and works with a normal pen, too. It’s cheaper than past MacBooks, retailing at just $300. Sorry to get your hopes up – it is alas a $300 Apple Mac book, not a MacBook…

European Commission Hates Tax Competition

apple-jobs x540

Apple has been in Ireland for 36 years, pictured above is Steve Jobs at the opening of Apple’s Cork campus in 1980. The idea that Apple Ireland is some kind of boilerplate operation is nonsense, it employs some 6,000 staff. The Irish Development Agency estimates a further 18,000 jobs depend on Apple, it adds many millions to the Irish treasury every year. When it completes the €850 million Athenry data centre Apple’s investments in Ireland will total over a billion euros. 

Ireland wins foreign investment for three reasons; the highly educated, young, English speaking workforce, the pro-business, low-tax environment and that it is an entrepot to Europe. The European Commission despises the high-growth, low tax competitor on the periphery of the European Union. Ireland knows that it is the trump card played to foreign investors. Instead of competing, the EC wants to snuff out the low tax competitor.

Apple's Cork Campus

Officials in Brussels have long complained about Ireland’s tax competition, that Twitter, Google, Apple and other US tech giants prefer to put their European HQs in Dublin rather than on the continent. Only Luxembourg competes on tax (e.g. Amazon, Guardian Media Group and AOL/Huffington Post). So far Guido has not noticed the Commission going after Juncker’s homeland…

Apple itself argues

The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Ireland’s tax laws and upend the international tax system in the process. The opinion issued on August 30th alleges that Ireland gave Apple a special deal on our taxes. This claim has no basis in fact or in law. We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals. We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don’t owe them any more than we’ve already paid.

The Commission’s move is unprecedented and it has serious, wide-reaching implications. It is effectively proposing to replace Irish tax laws with a view of what the Commission thinks the law should have been. This would strike a devastating blow to the sovereignty of EU member states over their own tax matters, and to the principle of certainty of law in Europe. Ireland has said they plan to appeal the Commission’s ruling and Apple will do the same. We are confident that the Commission’s order will be reversed.

In 2009 the Commission during the Lisbon II Treaty referendum guaranteed not to interfere in Ireland’s tax affairs. The EU has no tax competency, so it is instead using competition policy to extend its reach and claiming that 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.” In fact all businesses in Apples circumstances are treated the same under Irish tax law. This ain’t over…

MP’s Social Media Expenses Paid to Labour Crony

RUTH CADBURY TECH

If an MP had spent a whopping £7,000 of taxpayers’ money on top tech gear, “comms management” and social media training, you would expect to see some results. Ruth Cadbury billed the taxpayer for a Macbook Pro, an iPad Air 2 and an office full of new computers, as well as funnelling £2,575 to former Gordon Brown SpAd Caroline Badley to teach her, among other things, how to use social media. Your money well spent? After the social media splurge Ruth has a measly 680 Facebook followers, just 5,000 odd Twitter followers, and a grand total of zero YouTube subscribers. Is this taxpayer cash actually being spent on anything or is it just lining the pockets of a Labour crony?

Cabinet Office Cover Up Taxpayer-Funded MacBook Splurge

big ben apple

Nearly all the civil servants in the Cabinet Office who were offered a free laptop on the taxpayer chose an Apple MacBook Air. But they don’t want you to know it…

2000 staff were given a choice between a selection of either a premium MacBook or a less top-of-the-range Dell or Lenovo laptop, as part of the Cabinet Office’s Choose Your Own Device scheme. Unsurprisingly, Techno heard on the grapevine that most staff plumped for the £849 13″ MacBook Air. Yet the Cabinet Office are refusing to answer our FoI requesting a breakdown of the figures, spuriously claiming that it would be “inappropriate” to indicate “favouritism“:

“Section 43 is engaged on the basis that this IT devices is a hotly contested digital market. It would be inappropriate for HMG to provide any indication of favouritism or indicate that another product is inferior it would have an effect on the market. The release of information concerning the number of staff choosing each laptop could have a direct impact on the ability of suppliers to compete on a level playing field in current and future commercial activities; Preserving relationships of trust and confidence and the free flow of information between the government and suppliers is paramount. The disclosure of the requested information against the wishes of the suppliers would jeopardise this relationship, which is fundamentally important in maintaining for the most effective delivery of public services. After weighing up the competing public interest considerations, we have determined that the balance of public interest is in favour of withholding the requested information.”

Which is the most comical FoI response Guido has had in a while. So much for the new age of openness and transparency… 

James Purnell’s Rotten Apple Spin

apple eat bbc
The BBC‘s Director of Strategy and Digital, and one time Labour Cabinet minister, James Purnell, was wheeled out last night to bat for Aunty, and he had a very bizarre line of defence. Apparently the BBC needs cash because it’s not as big as Apple…
“In the time of the last charter we’ve gone from being the same size as Apple, in terms of global revenues, [to] 25 times smaller.”
The BBC‘s revenue has increased from £3.7 billion to £5.1 billion over the past decade. Of course the public-service broadcaster isn’t as rich as multinational technology behemoth Apple. But then again the BBC didn’t invent the iPhone…

Jeb! Comes Out for Apple Watch

#DownWithTheKids

Spotify CEO Deletes Tweet Mocking Apple

ek tweets

The co-founder and CEO of Spotify responded to Apple’s announcement last night that it was launching Apple Music, a direct rival to Spotify, with two syllables of understated Scandinavian disdain. The tweet was quickly deleted..

Apple Music will be a music streaming service that works pretty much exactly the same as Spotify, will give you access to more or less the same music library and coincidentally, will cost the exactly the same. Apple are describing their new service as “revolutionary”…

Apple Pillage the Beeb

apple eat bbc

Not content with poaching star DJ Zane Lowe from BBC Radio 1 in February for their upcoming streaming service, Apple have swooped in again to pinch four producers from the BBC’s youth focused radio station. It’s believed one of the producers leaving Broadcasting House is Kieran Yeates, widely regarded as the brains behind Radio 1’s talent spotting programme.

It seems working for a innovative and well respected company holds more appeal than rotting away in telly-tax funded bureaucratic hell . Techno hears worried BBC execs are calling it the ‘Apple crumble’…

Samsung Troll Apple

samsung s6

People Googling “iPhone 6S,” the likely name of Apple’s next phone are being met with an advert suggesting that they “obviously mean S6” – the name of Samsung’s flagship new phone. The ad look like the latest stunt in Samsung’s long history of mocking Apple’s swivel eyed consumer base. Shots fired!

Taking the P**s: Android in Apple Urolagnia Shocker

watersports

An eagle eyed Android fan has unearthed one of the cheekiest Easter Eggs Techno has ever seen – a picture of the Google Android robot taking a tinkle on an apple. Hidden in a Pakistani field, the naughty pic is presumably the work of bored Google employee with a sense of humour. Take a look for yourself here before Google takes it down..

Update: This has just been uncovered in a forest nearby

google review policy is crap

Apple Fans Queue Just to Touch Apple Watch

apple watch

Diehard Apple fans are descending on Selfridges today for the launch of the Apple Watch pop up store, queuing up for the chance just to touch the new Apple Watch. The salivating fanboys are able to try the watches on and are being encouraged to ‘buy’ one, but must wait wait two weeks before they can take one home. Even if they shell out £13,500 for one of the premium models…

Rumour has it that Apple were keen to avoid the massive queues that form the first day iPhones go on sale, because the TV images of dead-eyed devotees sleeping in the street outside Apple stores was impacting negativly on their image. Also, it can’t hurt that making people wait to get their mitts on an overpriced Fisher-Price, makes it seem so much more exclusive. The old velvet rope trick…

Apple’s Guardian Snub

guardian watch apple

There was much embarrassment in King’s Place yesterday when the Guardian’s tech writers were forced write up an overview of other newspapers’ reviews of the Apple Watch instead of doing one of their own. Apple had refused to send the Guardian a review unit…

Despite the Guardian’s love of all things Apple – they even built iPads into the tables of their #guardiancoffee coffee shop – Apple snubbed them in favour of the Mail, Indy and Telegraph. Rumour has it that Apple are still smarting after the Guardian ran a withering article about the Apple Watch that was written by chief executive of a marketing company which represents luxury watch manufacturers.

They will just have to buy one like everyone else…

Guardian Smear Apple on Behalf of ‘Big-Watch” Lobby

apple-watch-6_1

This week the Guardian ran a withering article by Martin McNulty about the new Apple Watch. In it McNulty accuses Apple of losing all credibility, likens the watch to the much-maligned Bluetooth headset and concludes by assuring readers that Steve Jobs would basically be turning in his grave.

So, who is this Martin McNulty? He’s the chief executive of marketing companies Forward3D and Locaria, whose clients include Kering, the owner of luxury watch manufacturers Ulysse Nardin, Jean Richard and Girard-Perregaux.

 The home of quality journalism…

Apple’s New HQ Looks Awfully Familiar

apple gchq

TechnoGuido was struck with a distinctive sense of déjà vu when taking a look at some of the recent drone footage of Apple’s under-construction $5 billion 2,800,000 square foot new HQ. It looks remarkably like another construction project that took place in Cheltenham a decade ago.

gchqpic

One is the HQ of a secretive organisation hell bent on hoovering up your personal data, the other…

1% of the Planet’s Population Bought an iPhone Last Quarter

apple-store-queue

Crunching the numbers on Apple’s record breaking last quarter – the most profitable quarter in corporate history – you reach a startling conclusion: one percent of the world’s population bought an iPhone in the three months to 27 December last year.

Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in that period, which is 1.03% of the world’s 7.2 billion population.

It turns out the there really is a global 1%…

 

iPen Ain’t Gonna Happen

apple_haptic_stylus

Tech journalists have been lapping up a report by analysis firm KGI Securities that confidently predicts Apple will unveil a Stylus for its iPad in the second quarter of this year. It would be quite a change of philosophy for Apple whose entire empire is now built on screens you jab your finger at, so you would have thought KGI had some pretty explosive evidence upon which to base their prophecy. But no, it turns out Apple has filed some patents for stylus type devices over the last few years.

headlines

As every Apple geek knows, the Cupertino giant patents anything remotely related to their products – they even have a patent for sensors that will tell your iPhone when your shoes wear out. It’s become a rule at Apple to be prepared to fight a patent war with anyone after they got stung for $100m by Creative who claimed the first iPod infringing its patents. And Steve Jobs did have quite strong feeling on styluses:

Techno Guido will eat his Nexus if they actually make an iPen…

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