It was a little over one year ago that Tim Cook made what I called an “unfair and unrealistic privacy speech” where he claimed that “morality demands” an approach to privacy that basically delegitimized Google and Facebook’s business models (which Cook also characterized incorrectly). It was easy for Cook to say because Apple’s business model is compatible with a very strict view of privacy, but needless to say Cook didn’t make any allowance for that reality.
One could absolutely argue that Apple is morally wrong here: if they think their value is created in the U.S., then they should be repatrioting their money and paying their taxes, because it’s the right thing to do. That they aren’t shows that Cook’s moralizing only goes as far as what is good for Apple’s bottom line.
For me, I defend Google and Facebook’s advertising model, and I defend Apple’s right to follow the letter of the law in taxes, and I do think they’re getting the short end of the stick from the Europrean Commission. Moreover, I’m hopeful this episode will finally lead to meaningful reform of the U.S. tax code. I do hope, though, that we can get a lot less moralizing along the way.
Very well said. That whole Daily Update on this issue is really good in explaining the situation and precisely the reason I gladly pay Thompson.