Re: It's not what you say but the way that you say it
"I don't actually think that the ruling can be appealed, it has to be challenged in the court. And, as Apple is the benefactor of the subsidy, it's up to Apple to challenge it. "
Neither of these things are correct.
The ruling can be appealed. And Ireland is considered to be the benefactor in this case, because it has drawn Apple into Ireland through the sweetheart deal, to the general benefit of the Irish economy (or rather, to the detriment of everyone else's).
Remember, Apple aren't actually the defendant. Ireland.gov is. The EU is basically alleging (with quite a lot of truth) that Ireland has offered Apple a sweetheart deal in order to steal tax revenues from all the other countries in Europe.
It's kind of assumed that Apple will lie, cheat and steal, and that's not an issue because all corporations will do that if they're permitted to do so. The issue is that Ireland is acting as an enabler for Apple to do so in exchange for a cut of the profits. If Apple pays a 0.005% tax rate to Ireland on profits from the whole of Europe to avoid paying the rest of the continent any tax, Ireland has basically stolen that 0.005% from other EU governments. THAT is what has been decided in court.
The US's involvement in this is that the money that has washed through Ireland then goes and sits in the Apple Cash Mountain awaiting repatriation. If and when Apple repatriates the cash, it must pay a big chunk of it to US.gov, but until that day happens, it doesn't. Apple, like most multinationals, is sitting and waiting for a Republican government to declare a tax holiday so that it gets a steep discount on that tax - it might pay as little as 5% on it when one is declared. The last time this happened was in 2004, when multinationals brought some $300 billion back into the US. In effect, the EU is trying to sidestep this process by taxing prior to the 'let's let the money sit offshore for 20 years' stage, which is eminently sensible - but it also acts as a transfer of tax income from the US to the EU, and is a tad controversial through being completely not how taxation has worked over the past 200 years or so.
It's a bit odd that Ireland's punishment for this is to be brutally forced to accept $13 billion at gun point, and both Apple and the USA are neither being accused nor convicted of anything, but must both lose a massive chunk of cash. However, this is basically the same gang who decided the best way to revitalize Greece was to saddle it with an unsustainable level of debt while simultaneously forcing it to reduce national income. This is what passes for logic in our collapsed economic system.