EU finally gives its blessing to Apple buying Shazam


Shazam iPhone
Apple nabbed Shazam for a reported $400 million.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

The European Union has given its official stamp of approval to Apple’s acquisition of UK-based music discovery app Shazam.

While the deal was announced way back in December, it has been held up until now by an EU antitrust investigation, based on the popularity of Shazam and the amount of data it holds. This investigation was requested by seven European countries, including France, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

Instapaper’s new Premium plan goes live on return to Europe


Instapaper punishes its European users use
Instapaper Premium unlocks awesome features.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Instapaper has finally returned to Europe following a GDPR blackout, and users can now subscribe to its new Premium plan to unlock additional features.

The service was pulled in the E.U. following the introduction of new data protection regulations, but now it’s fully compliant and ready to do business again. Here’s what you can expect if you upgrade with a Premium subscription.

EU may force iPhone to switch from Lightning to USB


These MFi-certified Lightning cables are sheathed in steel and designed to last forever.
What if your iPhone and iPad had a standard USB port instead of a Lightning one?
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Apple has its Lightning connector and everyone else has USB. But EU regulators are considering whether they need to force a common standard for phone chargers.

The idea is to cut down on the 51,000 tons of old chargers and cables thrown away each year.

Trump administration takes a first step toward regulating Facebook, Google


Facebook dev
The US government may soon be looking over Facebook's shoulder to better protect your privacy. Unless Facebook and Google can prevent it, of course.
Photo: Facebook

The Commerce Dept. is reportedly talking to social networking companies and consumer advocates about rules to protect online privacy. Also included are possible protections for companies that have data breeches.

This is supposedly laying the groundwork for legislation that might be proposed this fall.

U.S. can’t help Apple in its fight against EU


U.S. government won’t be able to aid Apple in its fight against European Union.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The U.S. wanted to be in Apple’s corner for its battle against the European Union, but a ruling from the EU’s highest court means that the United States is going to have to keep its distance.

The court upheld a previous December decision from a lower court, stating that the American government has not proved that it has any direct interest in the state aid case against Apple.

Proposed EU law changes how Apple deals with smaller rivals


If an EU law goes into effect, a dispute between Apple and Spotify over subscription fees would go to mediation.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Spotify objects to Apple collecting a share of all the subscription fees paid by iOS users.  A law proposed today in European Union would force Apple and Spotify into mediation on this issue.

And it’s not just Spotify. Under the proposal, Apple, Google, and other tech giants would have to appoint mediators in all their disagreements with smaller companies.

Apple’s $16 billion tax trial will finally kick off this fall


An appeal of an EU ruling that Apple benefited from Ireland functioning as a tax haven will kick off this fall.
Photo illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A court case to determine if Apple owes the European Union about €13 billion will begin in about six months.  The trial will determine if Ireland gave Apple illegal tax incentives.

The two are actually appealing a decision by the European Commission made in 2016 that Ireland is effectively a tax haven.

European Union could charge Apple tax based on its global revenue


apple money
The EU is looking for a way to clamp down on tax avoidance.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is among the tech giants which could be affected by a new European Union initiative that aims to tax tech multinationals at between 2 to 6 percent of their global revenue.

News of the massive potential tax shift was shared by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in a newspaper interview. Le Maire said that the total amount is likely to be “closer to 2 percent than 6 percent,” and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Apple will start paying its enormous E.U. tax bill in March


Apple was handed its massive tax bill in the middle of 2016.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple will pay its 13 billion euros ($15.5 billion) tax bill between March and September this year, Ireland’s Department of Finance Secretary General Derek Moran has told the country’s Public Accounts Committee.

The European Commission ordered the Irish government to recover the money from Apple after ruling that it received illegal state aid in Ireland. While Ireland is still appealing the decision, it must still collect the money, which will then be placed in an escrow account until the dispute is settled.

Tim Cook meeting with France’s President Macron


It is likely the duo will discuss Apple's tax battles with the E.U.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Tim Cook is currently in France, where he making a variety of visits — including meeting with President Emmanuel Macron.

Cook will meet with President Macron, who assumed power in this year’s May election, later today. He has also made a number of stops, including meeting with one of Apple’s suppliers and paying his respects at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, which honors American troops who died in Europe during World War II.