There are some truly awful things happening in Syria right now. For more information on exactly what is happening, and why, I suggest this excellent Washington Post round-up of what exactly is going on, and why Congress is now considering an intervention. But the takeaway is pretty bleak, and basically comes down to the notion that there’s not a lot America can do to stop what’s happening in Syria.
That doesn’t mean, though, that the hearings going on in the Senate about whether or not America should intervene aren’t important. Far from it. Which is why Senator John McCain is getting a lot of flack for being caught playing an iPhone poker app during the hearings.
Just a few short weeks before today’s WWDC keynote went down, Tim Cook was grilled by John McCain at the Senate Sub-Committee Hearing to Examine Offshore Profit Shifting and Tax Avoidance by Apple, Inc. Before the hearing was over, Senator McCain let off a joke to Cook that Apple needs to hurry up and add automatic app updates to the
Sir, there’s only one thing I wanted to ask you today: why do I keep on having to update all the apps on my iPhone? Can’t you guys fix that already?
Turns out that Tim Cook was actually listening, and now iOS 7 is going to get the feature all thanks in part to the efforts of our illustrious senator from Arizona.
McCain even tweeted his thanks to Cook for adding the feature that had most likely been in the works for months before Cook’s Senate appearance, but it’s good to know if we ever need new features added to iOS, just ask John McCain to tell Tim.
“Do you feel that you’ve been bullied or harassed by this committee?” Senator John McCain has just asked Tim Cook at the Senate Sub-Committee Hearing to Examine Offshore Profit Shifting and Tax Avoidance by Apple Inc.
“I feel good to be participating in this. I hope to help the process. I’d like comprehensive tax reform to be passed this year, and we will help in anyway we can.”
“I wasn’t dragged here, sir,” Tim Cook laughed.
“You’ve obviously taken advantage legally of a number of loopholes. Couldn’t you draw a conclusion that you have an unfair advantage over domestic companies?” asked McCain.
“No, it’s not the way I see it. Apple pays 30.5% of its profits in taxes on the United States. I would guess that’s high on the list of how it stacks up against other companies. We do have a low tax rate outside the U.S., but it’s for products we sell there, not within. So the way I look at this is there’s no shifting going on.”
Tim Cook is saying that because domestic companies operate only domestically, Apple has no advantage over them domestically: it only has an international advantage, which isn’t applicable in talking about “competitive advantage” in a U.S.-only context.