How much do we get paid?
3465 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007
"…helping to reassure consumers that the movies and TV shows they watch online are legitimate and secure, not stolen…"
This reminds me a lot of the Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage whose stated goal was to reassure users that their Windows software was not pirated. Completely ignoring the fact that mostly, end users and consumers don't give a shit about whether their copy is legitimate, they just don't want to be assumed guilty.
I noticed some time ago that googling for a stock market ticker like GOOG or AAPL, you get a graph of the stock price. However, clicking that graph has no effect: you need to choose from one of the three links below it, which bring to the finance products of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft respectively...
If you search for a place, you only get a map which links to Google Maps. No link to Bing maps.
Ever since Apple started patching iTunes specifically to stop Palm devices from working with it, it has been going downhill.
Ideally, any piece of a system should be replaceable with that from a competitor... Fat chance of that happening, unless regulations are somehow put in place.
I wonder how many downloads are necessary to jump to the top of the charts. I suspect that a percentage in the single digits in a day would be plenty enough. I.e. you could probably have 80% rabid fanbois swearing never to install the maps app of the enemy, and still have the app get to the top if half of the remaining users download it.
The problem with this is that Google has more users, and thus get more feedback and corrections. Especially since corrections are vastly easier to report using a desktop web site, which Apple does not have. It have to say I do not understand why Apple is not creating a web site for their maps, like Nokia has done with here.com. It should give their maps a lot more users at a comparatively small price.
EDIT: HOLY $#*! I CAN EDIT MY POST!!1! Adding GO icon!
Lessee what Reuters says on the subject this week:
"A U.S. and Canadian proposal to protect the Internet from new international regulation has failed to win prompt backing from other countries, setting up potentially tough negotiations to rewrite a telecom treaty."
"The idea, also supported by Europe, would limit the International Telecommunication Union's rules to only telecom operators and not Internet-based companies such as Google Inc and Facebook Inc."
"That could reduce the prospective impact of efforts by other countries including Russia and some in the Middle East and Africa to obtain more powers to govern the Internet through the ITU, an arm of the United Nations. Those efforts, slated for discussion next week, could make Net anonymity - or the ability to remain anonymous online - more difficult to maintain and could bolster censorship, critics say."
This article implies rather clearly that the role of the summit is to write new regulations…
That under the current system, what these companies do is perfectly legal, and that they must change the law if they want things to change.
Of course, they would not go out and say it that way. They will claim that "companies do not report their tax practices transparently", when in fact those tax practices are completely transparent, it is just that they do not approve of these practices. They will even accuse the HMRC of not doing their job of "policing the tax system", when in fact the HMRC can only apply the laws that have been given to them.
However, I assume that the law was written the way it is for a reason, and that this reason will crop up when they attempt to rewrite the law to make it impossible to do what the companies are currently doing…
Technically, I understand their desire to make money, but I want to scream at the fact that, in this day and age, one would purposefully design a system to be incompatible. I may be wrong, but it seems that Apple is particularly prone to do this, like when they expressly stopped Palm devices to connect to iTunes.
It is not naive. This is exactly what Apple and Google are doing with their Bermuda/wherever offices. Most of the income they make in countries outside of the United States is declared in there, because royalties paid by their subsidiaries all over the world ultimately end up there. Most of that money never comes in the United States, and they don't pay tax on it in the United States. And the US government knows it, and does not say much about it, because it is in fact legal for a US company to do that (Finland might be different, though).
A slightly perverse effect of this is that companies now have an disincentive to invest that money inside of the United States, because if they did, they would first have to bring the money in the country and pay tax on it. And so, they lobby the US government for a tax holiday, which would allow them to bring the money with lower or no tax, arguing it is better for the United States if the money is invested there rather than just growing in an offshore account. This article gives some details.
There are very good reasons for a company making most of its money – possibly all of its money – overseas. Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, probably makes comparatively very little money in Finland. In fact, it is probable that if you did not count the income from outside of Finland, the company would be losing money. So which country gets to tax them? Finland, which probably paid for the education of the employees, and created the society where their talent for innovation was nurtured? United States, where are based most of the companies who actually charge the users (Apple, Google, Microsoft)? The countries of the users, who are managing economies that allow citizens to buy unessential products like games for smart phones? If Google bought Rovio, what would change, and why?
Heck, for all I know, Rovio has a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands which is "managing" Rovio's intellectual property for the whole world, and Rovio is not paying tax anywhere because that subsidiary is their only profitable company anywhere in the world.
If a foreign company sells stuff in a country, the country used not to care. This was such a small part of the economy that it mattered little. Now that large parts of an economy is transborder commerce, it becomes feasible for companies to shop around and earn money where income is taxed less.
Fixing is going to be "fun". I would just tax the transactions, but to take a variation of an old example, if an Australian resident on a British website clicks an ad for a German company brokered by an American company, where is the transaction happening?
I wonder in particular what this $AUD1bn means (note that this is of course revenue, not income). Is this money that were paid by Australian companies to Google because somebody clicked on their ads? Or is it money Google earned because Australians clicked on the ad? And how much of it goes in fact directly to the probably Australian website which was publishing the ad?
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