It's been awhile since we thought about Tim Cook's fondness for the old "Double Irish" and the $14 billion fine levied against Apple by European authorities for colluding with Ireland to avoid paying Brussels what it owed. But according to Reuters, the whole affair is taking yet another twist:
Apple has launched a legal challenge to a record $14 billion EU tax demand, arguing that EU regulators ignored tax experts and corporate law and deliberately picked a method to maximize the penalty, senior executives said.
Apple's combative stand underlines its anger with the European Commission, which said on Aug. 30 the company's Irish tax deal was illegal state aid and ordered it to repay up to 13 billion euros ($13.8 billion) to Ireland, where Apple has its European headquarters.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, a former Danish economy minister, said Apple's Irish tax bill implied a tax rate of 0.005 percent in 2014.
Apple is saying that it's being made an example of because it's so prominent and successful. The argument being that Brussels is looking to show European strength in the face of spreading European fiscal crisis by making Cupertino bleed.
But that's just obvious. It's the catty subtext in Apple's complaint that should be the real story. Here's what Apple's lawyer Bruce Sewell told Reuters about the company's beef with the massive fine:
"Apple is not an outlier in any sense that matters to the law. Apple is a convenient target because it generates lots of headlines. It allows the commissioner to become Dane of the year for 2016," he said, referring to the title accorded to Vestager by Danish newspaper Berlingske last month.
So basically, Apple's appeal to Europe is this:
"Clean the cheese out of your ears, you discotheque-loving, small car-having Scandinavian motherfuckers because Tim Cook is dealing with a lot right now. You think it's fun running the most powerful retail company in the world and all the crap that comes along with while also watching a guy you have literal nightmares about take over your country via a a campaign aimed at threatening the underpinnings of your professional and private life? Were you guys forced to sit next to the dark version of yourself Peter Thiel at Trump Tower last week? Are you waking up every morning wondering what happens if you have to act like the CEO of Carrier and pretend that you're moving manufacturing jobs back to The States? Does it factor constantly into your daily reality that you're not Steve Jobs?
Oh, none of that? Well then please keep us out of your numbingly stupid Danish fucking popularity contests and maybe close more tax loopholes while we keep making so much money that we could bail out Greece in our sleep....and also eat shit Margrethe Vestager because everyone knows Mads Mikkelsen was the Dane of the Year for 2016. He was in "Rogue One" and "Doctor Strange." You were in neither and your fines are bullshit."
We think they've got a shot here