Re: Of course, Ireland has already protested
The companies in question are Irish subsidiaries of Apple. Apple could reduce its European tax burden by repatriating the money to the US, but then they would have to pay US taxes, which are higher.
Apple and Ireland will appeal, and they will lose eventually. I doubt Apple will move: Ireland will be the only English-speaking country in the EU, and its normal corporate tax rate (not the sweetheart deal) is lower than most.
The same ruling is also applicable to Google and other tech companies whose too-clever-by-half tax avoidance strategies have been laid bare, even though the EC has not even touched the main tax dodge of using arbitrary intra-company payments for "intellectual property" to shift profits to tax havens.