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Italy Investigates Apple's Hidden Billion

Italy Investigates Apple's Hidden Billion

Today in international tech news: Italy investigates Apple for allegedly skirting taxes. Also: Cisco says spying backlash is hurting business, especially in China; a Japanese company reveals a super-rugged tablet; Japan wants to find military applications for civilian technology; and Google Street View does Venice, Italy.

By David Vranicar
11/14/13 9:32 AM PT

Italian authorities are investigating Apple for allegedly hiding 1 billion euros -- about US$1.34 billion -- from the taxman.

Prosecutors in Milan claim that Apple didn't declare more than $250 million in 2010 and more than $1 billion in 2011. Apple's Italian subsidiary booked some profits with an Irish subsidiary, thereby lowering its taxable income in Italy, according to Italian sources.

Apple denies wrongdoing.

The story was reported by L'Espresso and corroborated by Reuters.

U.S. tech companies are coming under increasing scrutiny for their tax practices, which often use Ireland -- home to some of Western Europe's most palatable corporate tax rates -- as the preferred locale to file earnings.

Italy has been irked with Apple in the past: In 2012, authorities threatened a ban on Apple products because the company's default warranty didn't match Italian regulation.

[Source: Reuters]

Cisco: Spying Backlash Hurts Business

Cisco Systems said that its revenue could dip by as much as 10 percent this quarter and continue shrinking into 2014 because of a backlash against U.S. companies in the wake of government surveillance revelations.

The company specifically cited China as a source of potential revenue shrinkage. Then again, China has long been wary of Cisco. Beijing called out Cisco last year -- right after the U.S. said that Chinese telecommunications companies, namely Huawei and ZTE, shouldn't be trusted to build U.S. communications networks.

It was unclear how much of Cisco's rough quarter -- its shares fell more than 10 percent after it missed a revenue target -- is owed to politics versus unrelated economic issues, according to the company's CFO. The company's revenue fell by 30 percent in Russia, 25 percent in Brazil and 18 percent in both Mexico and China.

[Source: Reuters]

Japanese Company Launches Super-Rugged Tablet

NEC, a Japanese electronics company, has created a tablet that can reportedly take all sorts of abuse -- a must-own for anyone who might, say, submerge their tablet underwater for a half-hour or drop it from 5 feet onto a concrete floor.

To be fair, the NEC Shieldpro H11A tablet is not really targeted at everyday consumers, but rather at military and law enforcement. NEC isn't totally punting on the idea of gadget-heads buying the H11A, but it is instructive that one of the first customers is the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

The device's frame is made from a magnesium alloy and has reinforced corners; it weighs more than 4 pounds, which is heavy not only for a tablet but for a laptop.

[Source: The New York Times]

Japan Eyeing Civilian Tech for Military

Japan is finishing a budget that will allow it to launch a new command center -- modeled after the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- designed to find military applications for civilian technologies.

The new center in Japan is expected to require but a fraction of the $2.8 billion allocated annually for DARPA, but it has nonetheless already earned the moniker "JARPA."

[Source: The Asahi Shimbun via the Sinocism Newsletter]

Google Does Venice Canals

Google Street View continues to pad its catalog with the addition of Venice, Italy's famous canals.

Google took to Venice's narrow streets to capture its earthbound images and then boarded its "Trekker" onto a boat and took a float.

[Source: The Next Web]


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.


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