Margrethe Vestager is the EU Competition Commissioner. In that capacity, she has dealt out billions of Euros worth of fines to major tech firms, including Apple. Now, she wants to be President of the EU Commission and told Wired what she thinks of the digital ecosystem.
Six months into her job, in April 2015, Vestager had already reversed that practice, issuing a Statement of Objections – essentially, a “we are coming for you” klaxon – against Google for abuse of its dominant position in the price comparison sector, and launching an investigation into Android’s anticompetitive potential. Both cases resulted in multi-billion fines. It was only the start: over the next years, almost every technology giant would undergo the Vestager treatment. Apple, asked to fork over €13 billion (£11.42bn) in back taxes after being granted “illegal tax benefits” by Ireland…chip-making company Qualcomm, fined €997m (£875m) for paying Apple to ensure that it would not buy chips from other companies.
Check It Out: EU Official Who Fined Apple Billions Wants to Be Commission President
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Apple wasn’t fined: it was required to fork over taxes that it thought it had avoided though a deal with the Irish government. In law*, Apple did no wrong: It was actually Ireland, not Apple, that had broken EU regulations prohibiting the facilitating of tax tourism. Ireland’s punishment — which I believe it’s fighting — is to be condemned to collect all those billions.
* Possible evidence that the law is an ass.