US government effort to regulate Big Tech stalls


App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
Support is lagging for a centerpiece of U.S. government efforts to regulate Big Tech.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

A bill aimed at regulating Big Tech is reportedly losing support in the U.S. Senate. The fate of the American Choice and Innovation Online Act is now in question.

It is a Democratic proposal but some Senate Democrats are leery about voting for it in an election year.

Proposed law would force profound changes on Apple App Store


Proposed law would force profound changes on Apple App Store
Lawmakers might require Apple to completely change the App Store.
Photo: Thuan Vo/Pexels

A trio of U.S. Senators introduced a bill that would force Apple to allow sideloading of applications and alternative iOS app stores. Other modifications to Apple’s and Google’s business models would be required as well.

Whether the proposed Open App Markets Act will pass is anyone’s guess. So far, Big Tech has always talked lawmakers out of passing legislation that would put significant restrictions on it. But if this bill becomes a law, the App Store will never be the same again.

Apple gives Senate antitrust testimony a hard pass


Tim Cook answers questions about App Store business practices during the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing.
Tim Cook answers questions about App Store business practices at a Congressional hearing in 2020.
Photo: C-SPAN

A Senate subcommittee wants to ask Google and Apple antitrust-related questions about their software stores, but the iPhone-maker reportedly turned down a request to testify.

Apple told Senators it could not do so because of ongoing litigation. That’s probably a reference to the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit currently in the pre-trial phase.

Senator’s farewell speech advocates for iPads on the Senate floor


Senator Michael B Enzi says iPads and other electronic devices should be allowed on the Senate floor.
Ironically, Senator Enzi had to read his farewell speech from a piece of paper, not an iPad.
Screenshot: Senator Enzi

U.S. senators are banned from using electronic devices on the senate floor, but retiring Senator Michael B. Enzi wants to change that. Despite being 76 years old, he used part of his farewell speech to urge his fellow lawmakers to end the restriction on laptops, phones and tablets.

Of course, the senator had to read his speech from a piece of paper, not the iPad he would have preferred.

Senators raise concerns over iPhone-maker’s $12 billion US chip factory


Apple A14 processor
Senators want to be sure a Taiwanese semiconductor plant being built in Arizona won‘t be a security risk. The factory could someday make Apple processors.
CGI: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A trio of Democratic Senators raised questions on Tuesday about what incentives the Trump administration offered Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co to build a new processor fabrication plant in the U.S. This factory could be used to produce chips for future iPhones.

The lawmakers want to be sure that TSMC isn’t getting unfair advantages over American chip makers. And that the plant won’t allow U.S. trade secrets to leak to China.

Apple Watches at Trump impeachment turn senators into scofflaws


Series 3 6 months on
An Apple Watch is almost as capable as an iPhone (and neither is allowed in the Senate chamber this week).
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Some U.S. senators apparently just can’t be without their Apple gear, even when they aren’t supposed to have it. Lawmakers have been noticed wearing Apple Watches during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, a violation of the agreed-upon rules.

US Senator proposes new law aimed at limiting Apple data flow to China


Tim Cook meeting with China's vice premier.
Photo: Tim Cook

One of tech’s biggest opponents in Washington D.C. proposed a new bill this week that could have huge implications on Apple and TikTok’s business operations if put into law.

GOP senator Josh Hawley from Missouri introduced legislation today that would prevent the Chinese company that owns TikTok from collecting information on American users and sharing it with the Communist Party of China. The bill would also stop American companies like Apple from storing user data in China.

Apple wants US to overhaul privacy laws


Apple takes privacy seriously
Any future privacy legislation will likely have little effect on Apple as it already bends over backward to avoid collecting user information.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A high-level Apple executive will tell the the U.S. senate tomorrow that the iPhone maker is in favor of federal privacy regulations.

He’ll be testifying along with representatives of Google and other companies likely to argue against privacy laws.

Congressional ‘Crypto Commission’ may tackle Apple vs FBI debate


Apple's fighting the FBI for the right to privacy.
Photo: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that he wishes the company’s current battle with the FBI will be resolved by Congress, rather than in a courtroom, and it appears that he just may get his wish.

Lawmakers in both the House of Representatives and the Senate plan to propose a new commission be created that will specialize on finding the balance between citizens’ right to privacy, while also combating terrorism and other issues of national security.

Senate wiretapping debate comes to an end


wiretapping debate
The U.S. Senate is hashing out the USA Freedom Act, which concerns government wiretapping.
Screencap: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

The U.S. Senate has taken one step closer to a final vote on changing the government’s controversial program to freely tap and monitor citizens’ phones.

Senators voted 83-14 to end debate on the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring” (USA Freedom) Act. The bill will extend lapsed provisions of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act and aims to add transparency to the NSA’s activities surrounding wiretapping and data collection.

A final vote could happen as early as this afternoon.

U.S. eyes tax breaks to lure Apple’s billions back home



Apple has a massive pile of cash sitting overseas and the U.S. Senate is now weighing options on how to entice Cupertino to bring all $138 billion of it back to American soil.

Senate Democrats and Republicans are reportedly in discussions about passing legislation that would give American companies like Apple and Google a one-time tax break if they repatriate profits stashed overseas.

Irish Committee Chooses Not To Grill Apple & Google About Tax



An Irish parliamentary committee has dismissed the opportunity to grill Apple and Google over their tax affairs in Ireland, despite requests for a change to the way in which it taxes large multinationals that do business in its country.

The move comes weeks after Apple and Google came under scrutiny for the way in which they use tax “loopholes” or “gimmicks” to avoid paying excessive taxes on international sales. It was revealed that Apple used an Irish subsidiary with zero employees to pay less than 0.05% tax on $78 billion over four years.

Woz: Apple’s Tax Practices Really Aren’t Fair



Apple has received a lot of heat from the U.S. Senate lately regarding its international tax practices and off-shore cash, and you can now add Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to the list of Apple tax dissenters.

Woz said that he doesn’t think Apple’s tax practices are really fair, and suggested that Apple, and other large firms, be taxed on their income.

In an interview with the BBC, Woz had the following to say regarding Apple’s tax practices:

Apple TV Vs. Xbox One And Tim Cook Goes To Washington On Our All-New CultCast



This week on The CultCast: Apple Chief Tim Cook brings his Southern charm to Washington, hints at an iHologram; we break down the Apple tax debacle and say why their overseas billions are too legit to quit; and Xbox One vs. Apple TV, should Apple be worried?

All that and more on this week’s CultCast. Stream or download new and past episodes on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing now on iTunes, or hit play below and let the good times roll.

Show notes up next.

Cultcast 73 post player image

Apple Will Double Its Lobbying Efforts This Year To Simplify U.S. Tax Code


"Low-fi on-hold music at Apple? Not on my iWatch!"

By Silicon Valley standards, Apple doesn’t lobby much in Washington. Last year, they spent a little under $2 million on lobbying, a drop in the bucket to Google’s $18 million spent.

But scrutiny of Apple in Washington is starting to heat up, especially the company’s accounting methods. That’s why Apple is looking to double its lobbying spending this year to close to $4 million.

Tim Cook’s Reaction To John McCain’s App Question Is Priceless [Image]





Senator John McCain had a lot of fun grilling Tim Cook at yesterday’s Senate Sub-Committee Hearing, but before he was done he couldn’t help but let off one little joke as he asked Tim why he has to keep on updating all the apps on his iPhone manually.

“Can’t you guys fix that already?” McCain asked.

Cook let off a chuckle before stating that Apple is “working on making our products better all the time.” But we know what the southern gent was really thinking.


Source: Reddit


Tim Cook Endures Awkward Questioning About Steve Jobs Hologram [Video]



Holograms are supposedly going to be the future of artistic performance. First there was the Tupac hologram at Coachella, and now Eazy-E and Ol’ Dirty Bastard are making a hologram comeback too.

Tim Cook had to endure a barrage of silly questions at yesterday’s Senate hearing, but the most most absurd and tasteless came from none other than TMZ who was dying to know if Steve Jobs will make an appearance as a hologram at the next Apple event.

Rather than slapping the reporter for being ridiculous, Tim Cook used his southern charm to deflect the question. Heres a video of the awkward encounter: 

Apple: The U.S. Tax Code Is So Broken, We’re At A Competitive Disadvantage Against Samsung



U.S. Senator Rob Portman from Ohio has just raised a fascinating point at today’s Senate Sub-Committee Hearing to Examine Offshore Profit Shifting and Tax Avoidance by Apple Inc.

The American corporate tax system is so broken that Apple is at a competitive disadvantage against Samsung when it comes to the taxes it pays globally, and how easily it moves its money around.

Ireland Says It’s Not To Blame For Apple’s Low Tax Bill



Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer are in Washington D.C. this morning to talk to a Senate subcommittee about Apple’s off-shore cash hoard. The Apple execs are expected to face a lot of heat surrounding Apple’s Irish subsidiary, through which Apple has funneled 64% of its earnings without paying any tax, yet has zero employees.

Before the hearing got underway though, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Eamon Gilmore, issued a public statement which claimed Ireland isn’t to blame for Apple’s low tax bill, even though the country has become a tax haven for multinationals since the 1960s.

Tim Cook To U.S. Subcommittee: Raise Apple’s Corporate Taxes, Just Fix The U.S. Tax System


Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 11.45.03 AM

Apple CEO Tim Cook has just started his testimony in front of the Senate Sub-Committee Hearing to Examine Offshore Profit Shifting and Tax Avoidance by Apple Inc. in Washington, D.C.

“I am proud to represent Apple here. With Apple’s international revenues twice as large as domestic revenues, we are often asked ‘Does Apple still consider itself an American company? To that, I answer an emphatic yes. We are proud to be an
American company.”

Tim Cook Shoots Hate Rays At Experts Testifying Against Apple About Tax Dodging [Image]


Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 11.07.51 AM

Tim doesn’t look too happy, does he? And no wonder: the Senate Sub-Committee Hearing to Examine Offshore Profit Shifting and Tax Avoidance by Apple Inc. is a hostile room, and the experts are being very clear about the why and how Apple is dodging its U.S. tax burden. And so far, the only person defending Apple in the room is Rand Paul.

Tim Cook is expected to testify before the Senate Sub-Committee sometime this morning. We’ll be covering it live.

Senator John McCain: Apple Is Cheating The U.S.A. In Taxes



Senator John McCain just laid out his case against Apple in Washington D.C. in a Senate hearing about Apple’s tax rates, and he’s out for blood.

According to McCain, although 95% of Apple’s research and development happens in the USA, they funnel most of their profits through overseas entities that are not tax residents in any country in the world.

Ireland is a big target for McCain here. Ireland has long had liberal tax policies in an attempt to attract foreign companies, but McCain says that Apple paid less than $10 million in taxes on $22 billion in earnings in Ireland, a tax rate of less than 1.20th of 1%.

Apple Posts Wish List For U.S. Corporate Tax Reform



Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to appear before a Senate committee tomorrow morning to talk about Apple’s off-shore cash that’s now worth over $100 billion. Last week, Cook stated that his company believes the entire U.S. corporate tax system needs to be overhauled to encourage companies like Apple to bring earnings from overseas back to the U.S.

This afternoon Apple published its testimony before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, that contained a wish-list for the type of comprehensive corporate tax reform it thinks would be best for the U.S. tax system. Following the company’s ethos to believe in the simple, not the complex, Apple’s tax-wish list would dramatically simplify the U.S. corporate tax system.

In its testimony, Apple states that the comprehensive reform should have the following traits:

Tim Cook Defends Apple’s Offshore Cash Hoard Before Senate Hearing


From Tim Cook to Jony Ive,
From Tim Cook to Jony Ive,

Tim Cook is going to Washington to testify before a Senate committee next week, but the Apple CEO is pulling a rare move for the company and going on the offensive early by giving media interviews to explain its position.

During an interview with Politico, Cook addressed the controversy surrounding Apple’s cash hoard by explaining where its offshore cash comes from, how Apple plans to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., and why the company will push for policy change in Washington: 

The Biggest Apple Stories Of 2011 [Year In Review]




Wow! 2011 has been one of the most interesting years in recent memory for Apple Inc. Of course the death of Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, stands out as one of the most important events of the year for Apple, but there have been a load of other stories too that have made 2011 a very memorable year for the fruit company. From one controversy to the next, to record-breaking earnings, and new products, Apple has plowed through 2011 with a steady determination to be the best technology company on the planet. Only one device underwent a redesign (the iPad), while other form factors stayed the same. Instead of focusing on making pivotal leaps forward with hardware, Apple’s main focus of 2011 was to fortify their strong foundation in the software game.

Here’s Cult of Mac’s look back on the Apple in the year 2011.