Connect with us

Tech

US mulls retaliation to French tech tax

Published

on


US Trade Representative Robert LighthizerImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said President Trump ordered the investigation

The US is preparing tariffs on $2.4bn (£1.85bn) worth of French exports as retaliation against the country’s new digital services tax.

The top US trade official said the new tax, which France approved in July, unfairly targets American tech giants.

He said the potential tariffs were intended to deter other countries from taking similar steps.

The items that could face tariffs at rates up to 100% include cheese, sparkling wine, make-up and handbags.

The decision “sends a clear signal that the United States will take action against digital tax regimes that discriminate or otherwise impose undue burdens on US companies”, said US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer.

‘Growing protectionism’

Mr Lighthizer announced the potential tariffs, which will now enter a public comment period, at the end of his office’s investigation of the French tax.

It found that the law – which taxes turnover instead of profit – was inconsistent with international tax norms and “unusually burdensome” for US tech firms.

Mr Lighthizer said the US is exploring opening investigations into similar laws in Austria, Italy and Turkey. The UK has also taken steps towards a tech tax.

“The USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of EU member states, which unfairly targets US companies, whether through digital services taxes or other efforts that target leading US digital services companies,” he said.

  • US attacks UK plan for digital services tax on tech giants
  • France tech tax: What’s being done to make internet giants pay more?

France has long argued that taxes should be based on digital activity, not just where firms have their headquarters.

Its new law imposes a 3% tax on sales of certain digital services that happen within its borders. It applies to any digital company with revenue of more than €750m ($850m; £670m) – of which at least €25m is generated in France.

The tax will go into effect retroactively from early 2019 and is expected to raise about €400m this year.

About 30 companies are expected to pay it, mostly US firms such as Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft.

Amazon has already responded by raising fees for French businesses by 3%.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

The US is considering tariffs on cheese, sparkling wine and makeup

US tech companies say such laws force them to pay double tax. They say modernisation of tax rules should be an international effort, but those negotiations remain slow-going.

The French government, which announced its law after an EU-wide proposal stalled, has said the tax will end if a similar measure is agreed internationally.

Over the summer, President Donald Trump threatened to tax French wine over the issue – a plan that the French agriculture minister dismissed as “completely moronic”.

But some US business lobby groups had warned against tariffs because of fears of escalating another trade fight, despite their opposition to the French law.

The US Chamber of Commerce, for example, said tariffs “may elicit additional rounds of retaliatory measures that represent a substantial risk to US economic growth and job creation”.



Source

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech

Apple iPhone 11 Pro ‘can override location settings’

Published

on

By


iPhone 11 ProImage copyright
Apple

Image caption

Apple’s much-vaunted user control is acknowledged by a security researcher, despite his discovery

Apple’s flagship iPhone 11 Pro tracks users’ locations even when they have set it not to, a security researcher has discovered.

Brian Krebs found that the phone collects data about a user’s position even if location sharing has been turned off in every individual app.

However, the user could avoid being tracked if the entire system was set to never share location.

Apple said it was “expected behaviour” and denied it was a security problem.

The company has made big play of the fact that it allows users granular control over sharing their location – so for instance they can have location switched on for Maps but off for everything else.

Mr Krebs found users could disable all location services entirely via Settings>Privacy>Location Services, but if they chose the individual controls, they might still be tracked.

‘Expected behaviour’

“One of the more curious behaviours of Apple’s new iPhone 11 Pro is that it intermittently seeks the user’s location information even when all applications and system services on the phone are individually set to never request this data,” Mr Krebs wrote on his blog.

He contacted Apple to report the issue, sharing a video which showed the location services icon on, even though every app and system service was set to “never request” this information.

An engineer replied: “We do not see any actual security implications. It is expected behaviour that the locations services icon appears in the status bar when location services is enabled,” adding that some system services “do not have a switch in Settings”.

That, argued Mr Krebs “seems at odds with the company’s own privacy policy”.

In 2018, Google was found to be recording locations even when users had asked it not to.

In a report from Associated Press, a Princeton University researcher tracked his daily commute and found that Google saved location markers even though location history had been turned off.

To disable this entirely, users had to switch off another setting called Web and App Activity, which was enabled by default and did not mention location data.



Source

Continue Reading

Tech

How Google’s Founders Slowly Stepped Away From Their Company

Published

on

By


SAN FRANCISCO — About a month after Donald J. Trump was elected president in 2016, Larry Page, the Google co-founder, was summoned along with other prominent tech executives to a meeting at Trump Tower.

It was a rare public appearance for Mr. Page. He sported a tan suit and shifted in his seat as he introduced himself and noted (incorrectly) that his company was probably the youngest in the room. “Really glad to be here,” said Mr. Page, who did not look glad to be there.

By the time he was again summoned in 2018 — this time to testify to Congress on tech’s various problems — Mr. Page had all but abandoned the roles typically associated with leading one of the world’s richest and most powerful companies. He didn’t show, and senators placed an empty chair and his placard alongside the other speakers.

On Tuesday, Mr. Page and Sergey Brin, his Google co-founder, said they were stepping down from day-to-day executive roles at Alphabet, Google’s parent company. While the move seemed sudden, it was the culmination of a yearslong separation between two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent founders and the company they began 21 years ago.

For some time, Mr. Page and Mr. Brin have drawn down their daily involvement in the company, ceding managerial tasks to deputies so they could focus on a variety of projects, including self-driving cars, robotics and life-extension technology. They left the often messy business of running Google itself to Sundar Pichai, a trusted deputy who became Google’s chief executive in 2015.

Tuesday was the capstone of that split. The founders named Mr. Pichai as the chief of both Google and Alphabet, while they will remain on Alphabet’s board of directors. Mr. Page and Mr. Brin still hold 51 percent of Alphabet’s voting shares, giving them effective control over the company — and Mr. Pichai, if they wish.

In a letter announcing the change, Mr. Page and Mr. Brin compared their 21 years at Google to raising a child, saying now was the “time to assume the role of proud parents.”

Mr. Page and Mr. Brin helped unleash the modern internet and Silicon Valley as cultural and business phenomena. Over the past two decades, they oversaw a company that was central to one of the most consequential periods in the history of business.

That singular innovation gave rise to a company and product that functions as an effective tax on the internet. Billions of people navigate the web through Google’s search box, and it charges a toll in the form of tracked and targeted advertising.

Google has grown to be dominant in several markets. Its search engine handles nine out of 10 internet searches, and the company’s Android software powers roughly three-quarters of the world’s smartphones. And for a generation of young people, YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006, has all but supplanted television.

But to some observers, the more powerful Google became, the less interested its founders appeared to be in running it.

“They’re accidental entrepreneurs,” Mr. Greenstein said. “Given their origins, it’s not surprising. They probably still harbor a desire to be a professor with a lab.”

After Mr. Page and Mr. Brin formally founded Google in September 1998, they turned out to be skilled businessmen. Still, investors worried that they were not ready to run what many rightly believed could become one of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies.

By 2001, Google’s board pushed the founders to bring on an experienced executive to lead the company. Mr. Page and Mr. Brin picked Eric Schmidt, a former chief executive of the software company Novell, as Google’s new chief executive, in part because the three had bonded at Burning Man, the arts festival in the Nevada desert.

Credit…Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

While the founders were initially wary of having a boss, they quickly warmed to Mr. Schmidt. One of the benefits of no longer being chief executive, colleagues told Mr. Page, was that he would no longer have to perform tasks like talking to advertisers and investors, according to “In the Plex,” a book about Google’s beginnings by Steve Levy.

Instead, the founders sought out new efforts, such as mapping the world, digitizing books, developing artificial intelligence and creating new smartphone software to rival Apple’s iPhone.

“I didn’t think of Google as a transportation company,” Mr. Thrun said. “But Larry thought of Google as a company that pushed innovation in any area.”

Mr. Thrun led Chauffeur under Google X, the so-called moonshot lab where engineers were encouraged to build science-fiction projects they thought might never work. Many of their projects did fail, like space elevators, jet packs and teleportation, but others are still in development, like delivery drones, energy-producing kites and internet-beaming balloons.

Like most of the futuristic projects at Google, the lab was the brainchild of the founders. Mr. Brin particularly wanted something to work on because he was getting bored in management, said Michael Jones, a co-founder of Google Earth, who spent 11 years at the company.

In 2011, Mr. Page retook the chief executive job atop Google, getting something of a hero’s welcome. Yet the pattern — wanting to be in charge but not wanting to deal with the day-to-day job — would quickly repeat itself.

He seemed no more interested in the menial aspects of the job. He was frustrated by having to deal with things like executive infighting and turf wars that are an unavoidable part of corporate life, according to three former executives who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Even then, well before the recent employee uprisings, he had grown disillusioned with what he saw as entitled behavior from Google engineers, said two other executives who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. He also started to experience health problems, most notably paralysis of his vocal cords. Executives who met with Mr. Page, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he sometimes used an electronic speaker to amplify his strained voice.

“Larry is like a professor who’s a business star. I don’t think he has any appreciation or love or desire to run a company actually,” said Mr. Jones, the former Google executive. “The thing he cares about is pushing toward innovation.”

“I’ve also delegated this question to Sundar,” Mr. Page responded. “I help him think about it. But I don’t have to answer this question now.” He smiled, and the crowd laughed.



Source

Continue Reading

Tech

Four fresh SNES games are coming to Nintendo Switch Online next week

Published

on

By


Things have been quiet on the Nintendo Switch Online front ever since the company dropped 20 classic SNES games onto its wildly popular hybrid console’s $20 a year subscription service back in September, but that’s about to change. Four more SNES games and two fresh NES games are coming on Dec. 12, Nintendo revealed Wednesday.

The SNES selection includes Star Fox 2, Super Punch-Out, Kirby Super Star and Breath of Fire 2. The tale of Star Fox 2 is pretty fascinating: It was planned for a summer 1995 release but canned because Nintendo didn’t want it to be overshadowed by Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn. We finally got the chance to play it in 2017, when Nintendo hid it on the SNES Classic retro console.

screenshot-2019-12-05-at-11-12-04.png

If Kirby’s dances don’t warm your heart, I’m sorry. Maybe playing Kirby Super Star will help.


Nintendo/Screenshot by Sean Keane/CNET

If you want to go a bit more retro, the NES games — action RPG Crystalis and sci-fi platformer Journey to Silius — are both from 1990. The latter game was originally supposed to be a Terminator tie-in, but developer Sunsoft lost the rights.

Japanese subscribers get a different selection of games this time — no Super Punch-Out, Breath of Fire 2, Crystalis or Journey to Silius in that region. Instead, people in Japan get NES games Famicom Wars and Route 16 Turbo.

On Thursday, Nintendo said it sold 830,000 Switches and Switch Lites in the US over Thanksgiving weekend. It also plans to launch the console in China — a market of 1.3 billion people — on Dec. 10.

First published at 3:27 a.m. PT.
Updated at 4:09 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.



Source

Continue Reading

Trending

//serconmp.com/afu.php?zoneid=2954224
We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.
Accept