Tag: Ireland

Google reorganises in EU

330ogleThe search engine also known as Google is restructuring its European businesses to cope with the fact that the EU might want it to be a little more reasonable on privacy and anti-trust issues.

Google merged its two European regional divisions claiming it needed to “meet the challenges of tougher regulation across the continent”,

The internet giant is merging its northern and western European division with the unit covering southern and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The move will simplify the organisation, both for commercial reasons as well as to work more effectively with business partners and policy makers.

The tax-friendly Dublin will still remain as Google’s Euro-base, and the reorganisation will not result in job losses, the source said.

Google has been given a good kicking by European Commisioners for its tax avoidance antics and tendency towards what the EU considers playing fast and loose on privacy matters.

In response, Google has argued that for Europe to remain competitive in global markets, it needs to form a single digital market instead of relying on national regulations in its 28-member states that often act to protect local industries.

It appears that Google is pinning its hopes on former British Olympic rower Matt Brittin to sort out the mess. Brittin led Google’s northern and western European division and will head up the combined Europe, Middle East and Africa operation while Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, formerly head of the other regional unit, will take on a strategy role.

D’Asaro Biondo is a former media suit who worked for Lagardère, AOL Europe and computer services company Unisys, will continue to work from Paris.

He will manage Google’s strategic partnerships in the region, which include working to deepen ties with newspaper publishers, telecom operators and carmakers.

Brittin has packed his executive bag and headed to Brussels to argue the company’s case that it serves as a growth engine for European business, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, because the Internet helps create a level playing field. But then again so do monopolies only the bloke owning the level playing field makes a fortune renting it out for others to play on.

Apple blows money on two data centres

Apple's CEO Tim Cook - shot from WikimediaApple has so much money swilling around in its bank account that it can easily afford to spend $2 billion on data centres in Europe.

And that’s just what it’s doing, according to a report from Reuters.

The centres will be based in Denmark and Ireland and will be powered by renewable energy and offer several hundred jobs.

The data centres will be used to support Apple’s online services such as iTunes and its App Store, and will open in 2017.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a statement that the investment is the company’s biggest in Europe to date.

The Irish centre will be based in Galway and will hire 300 people. Ireland is a favourite spot for US tech multinationals, largely because of the tax breaks it gives the company.

Ireland to hand over stored emails to USA

irelandThe Irish government told the Americans that it is OK for them to use a treaty to ask it to turn over emails stored in Irish servers.

Microsoft is appealing a search warrant in the US for private email communications located in the company’s facility in Dublin, arguing that US law does not allow the government to issue search warrants to obtain customer data stored overseas.

But the Irish have been telling the court that while it should respect “Irish sovereignty” there was another way that the US could get the email out of Microsoft.

Ireland has a legal treaty with the US which would require it to hand over any emails as part of a criminal case anyway.

Ireland is citing an existing mutual legal assistance treaty with the U.S. that law enforcement can use to obtain the email. In its brief Ireland said it “would be pleased to consider, as expeditiously as possible, a request under the treaty, should one be made”.

Dara Murphy, Ireland’s minister for data protection, ahead of the filing said that the right of individuals to the protection of their personal data is an essential foundation for modern society and the growing digital economy.”

“We must ensure that individuals and organisations can have confidence in the rules and processes that have been put in place to safeguard privacy.”

In other words, while Ireland is happy to hand over the emails, it can’t be done by a US court ordering anyone about.  It has to be done through the proper channels and at diplomatic levels.

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in a blog post that the warrant the US government wants means that US law enforcement has authority on Irish territory, something that can be done only with the consent of the Irish government.

It would set a dangerous precedent if the US court allows it. It will mean that US laws will effectively apply in other countries – ironically meaning that the mantra used by the US revolutionary’s about “no taxation without representation” is actually now referring to them.

 

No more pot of gold at end of Irish rainbow

irelandThe days of Apple and Google screwing over European and American tax authorities by having an Irish base is likely to become a thing of the past.

Ireland’s Ministry of Finance announced that Ireland will phase out its controversial tax scheme known as the “Double Irish,” which lets companies, especially tech companies, drastically reduce their overseas tax burden.

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said in a statement accompanying the government’s new 2015 budget that he was abolishing the ability of companies to use the ‘Double Irish’ by changing our residency rules to require all companies registered in Ireland to also be tax resident.

This change will take effect from the 1st of January 2015 for new companies. For existing companies, there will be provision for a transition period until the end of 2020.

So, in other words, Apple and Google will be able to save money for at least six years.

Firms that take advantage of this arrangement include Apple, Amazon, Adobe, Microsoft, and Google. It is unlikely that they will move their EU operations away from Ireland as the corporation tax rate in that country is extremely low.

Google declared $60 billion worth of revenue in the United States in 2013. Google’s effective tax rate in the United States has fallen dramatically from 21 percent to 15.7 percent in recent years as the company has broadened its use of overseas tax benefits.

It is starting to look like the Irish government was getting a little jittery about an EU investigation into the scheme. Over the last year, various European countries, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France, have been reviewing their laws that enable this type of corporate behaviour.

Noonan is going against  U2’s Bono, the Irish icon, who claimed that the fact that Apple’s cheating of the tax payer in the US and EU somehow assisted Irish poor. To be fair Bono owes Apple a favour – Jobs’ Mob forced Apple fans to listen to U2’s latest album by hard wiring it into the latest iPhone 6, until it had enough complaints to issue a fix for the problem.

Bono sells Robin Hood image to defend Apple

bono-cash-facebookSuddenly it is hard to use the words “credibility” and “Bono” in the same sentence.

The U2 popular beat combo  artist  has done his best to champion all the right causes over the years. He has been a significant leader in the fight against poverty, and has helped to create the ONE CampaignDATA(RED) and EDUN, a clothing company which is striving to stimulate trade with poverty stricken countries. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize three times for his efforts to help the poor.

This is why the U2 frontman stepping in to defend Apple’s method of screwing up the tax system of Europe is particularly hypocritical and nasty.

Bono is currently in a business partnership with Jobs’ Mob so having him stand up this weekend and defend Apple’s right to save a bob or two by shafting the health and welfare policies of the EU damaged any lefty street cred that the former 80s rocker might have had.

The U2 frontman believes large companies that avoid paying billions in taxes bring prosperity, rather than harm the economic growth of the country. Unfortunately, Bono, they do not.

Apple has paid an average tax rate of 2.5 percent over the past five years, despite turning over a profit of around $109 billion. This is a fraction of Ireland’s standard tax rate of 12.5 percent.

While Ireland was busy making its deals with big technology companies like Apple to act as a tax haven, the country was going through its biggest debt crisis ever. Apple might have provided jobs in Ireland, but its impact on the Irish economy has been minimal.

Bono said that Ireland was a tiny little country, which did not have scale, and our version of scale is to be innovative and to be clever, and tax competitiveness has brought our country the only prosperity we’ve known.

“We don’t have natural resources; we have to be able to attract people.”

Because of its generous tax allowances, he added, Ireland has reaped the benefits of “more hospitals and firemen and teachers because of the tax policies.”

Now this is a bit of rubbish from the bloke who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for his campaign to alleviate world debt. Tax avoidance schemes rarely help the economies of any nation and take away cash from countries that need the cash.

Ireland might not have attracted the likes of Jobs’ Mob, or Google, or other tax avoiders, but it would have had a fair taxation system. The other countries in the EU which Apple was avoiding paying tax would be able to afford betters health care standards, teachers and firemen.

 

 

International Electronics Forum 2013 – roundup

Dublin CourtsLast week, TechEye visited IEF 2013 in Dublin to hear what the semiconductor industry had to say for itself. Here’s the roundup:

Imagination Technologies’ Tony King-Smith said the future really relies not on the humble CPU but industry and engine cooperation for the System on Chip. “SoCs means everything is now mobile, and continues to have advanced capabilities. They are the only way to get scaleability,” King-Smith said.

Barry O’Leary, CEO of IDA Ireland, talked about investment in the Emerald Isle. Naturally the 12 percent corporation tax was mentioned. Four of the most crucial investors in Ireland are in tech, including Intel and HP, and social media is also experiencing huge growth. The IDA chiefly looks at manufacturing and R&D.

Senior Nvidia research scientist John Chen told the audience about various problems associated with nodes at under 20nm, specifically in performance, perfection and precision. But technologies like zero leakage transistors, III-V, Ge channel and carbon nanotubes will help the industry march on.

EU commissioner for digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, gave a keynote about Europe’s hopes to punch up in technology and innovation, including spending of €100 billion in R&D by 2020, leading to job creation, we were told, as well as smarter kit. Europe also wants to boost its performance in production capabilities.

TSMC’s senior director of R&D, Yee-Chaung See, highlighted problems in EUV and talked up the company’s 20 nano SoCs, adding qualification for 16 nano SoCs should be finished by the end of the year. It’s focusing on 3D stacking, while there are already high yields in SRAM. Gains in 3D, it is hoped, will lead to producing a silicon system super chip, that can integrate analogue, image sensors, photonics, MEMS and TSV.

Ram Ramamoorthy, professor at Edinburgh University, unfortunately indicated it’ll be a long time, if ever, if replicants of iconic futuristic dystopia Bladerunner are going to come to be. A machine is where the sophistication is such a robot can simulate some human senses like sight and sound. That means football playing robots, but they’re not great at it yet.

“The level of intelligence of robots in movies is very difficult to achieve,” Ramamoorthy said. “It’s very hard to deal with real people but in reality it’s very hard to model human users, that’s one of the biggest challenges we’re looking at”.

Plessey CEO Michael Le Goff told the room that, by using Gallium Nitride on silicon substrates to create LEDs, advanced lighting will be lower cost. And eventually, you’ll die before your lightbulb does.

Principle analyst at Future Horizons, which hosted the conference, Malcolm Penn, warned that there is a “chip crunch” around the corner. “The basics of fab capacity is cast in stone,” Penn said. “Capacity can’t be influenced for a year. We’ve not being building capacity which I think is dangerous,” Penn said. “There’s a silicon crunch just around the next corner. The most crucial part of the food chain is being treated with complete cavalier indifference. That’s because the capital spend is too low”.

Microsoft Cambridge’s senior research director, Alex Butler, talked the room through various research projects at the company. That includes advances in touch, and Butler assures us that although many of the R&D group’s creations won’t see the light of day, others find their way into products. The group is interested in the future of tech, five, 10 or 15 years away from now.

Compound semiconductors will play a major role in a different kind of Moore’s Law, Drew Nelson, CEO of IQE, asserted.  Although silicon is approaching its natural limits, compound semiconductors have more functionality and flexibility – according to Nelson, the materials are just better that silicon, and from a power perspective there is a clear lead.

Crocus doesn’t have MRAM in the market yet, but there’s a licence agreement with IBM for 65/45nm memory logic units to go into production later this year, CEO Jacques Noels said. Crocus thinks it has figured out stability problems in magnetic memories, while 28nm for generation 4 is on the horizon.

Investment company Convergence’s CEO and former Director General of the Department of Communications in South Africa, Andile Ngcaba, spoke on trends across the African continent. Just in 1990, there were more phones in Manhattan than the entire continent, but with the emergence of mobile there is more connectivity than ever. However, getting connected proves challenging: poly silicon is expensive and not particularly economical at the moment. So petrochemical companies are cleaning up with fossil fuel-powered base stations.
*EyeSee We’ve heard that some chip giants are being economical with the truth about the size of their semiconductors. TSMC’s 14nm chips are a little closer to 20nm. Intel’s 14nm chips are between 16nm to 17nm, and Samsung’s measure in at roughly 18nm. None were available for comment.

 

Aussies are bush-ranging the European SEO market

ned kellyAfter Europe thought it had effectively transported them, it appears that the Australians have found a gap in the Search Engine Optimisation market in the EU and are coming back.

Nu Studio, which is based Perth, has made moves to expand his company into Ireland and it will be pushing into the UK market next.

But Founder Steve Deane said that he had no intention of going to Europe himself and would run the business using resellers on the ground.

It is not that difficult to run SEO businesses in the cloud and the outfit is setting up reseller arrangements in Ireland and the UK. Work is sent back to the team in Perth. While that only gives them four hours of business, thanks to time zone issues there is plenty of time to make important phone calls and sort out any issues, he said.

He admits that the Irish economic climate the greatest at the moment and is not hitting the headlines for any good reason, but the small business and start-up market is still pretty strong. It is that particular market which is of interest to his company.

Since Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most cost effective marketing options for start-ups it is an obvious choice for business owners, Deane said.

One of the things he is trying to establish is an operation which gets repeat business. At the moment the SEO industry is plagued by those who have a churn and burn attitude towards clients, he added.