What does that mean? ‘Doing the right thing?‘ Look, Apple is a hard-nosed company that can be tough in the marketplace, but look at some parts of its record in recent years; especially with the environment. Yet, Apple gets raked over the coals for doing the wrong thing, too. Need examples?
Death & Taxes
Apple’s entire hardware supply chain has to toe the line and ensure that materials are the kind that do not rip apart the environment– before the product component is made, and after a product dies and parts need to get recycled.
That’s doing the right thing.
Yet, Apple remains in bed with Google as the default search engine on Safari, collecting billions of dollars in profits from the world’s worst privacy offender.
That’s doing the wrong thing.
Yet, Apple is not too afraid to poke at the advertising industry’s efforts to suck up private data from users and puts speed bumps and road blocks into place on Safari, and macOS and iOS.
That’s doing the right thing.
Apple tried to upset Amazon’s wicked monopoly against the publishing industry years ago by cutting deals with publishers for the then-iBooks Store. No good deed goes unpunished and Apple lost a price fixing case in court.
For doing the right thing.
Ben Lovejoy agrees that Apple has a good history on doing the right thing.
Apple has long aimed to do the right thing, not just the profitable one, on a great many fronts. On tax avoidance, not so much. Apple could be the good guy here. It could be the one tech company to take a strong stand on paying its dues, rather than using any loophole it can find to minimize the amount of tax it pays.
Here’s the problem. When it comes to taxes, Apple seems to play by the rules; but thanks to its great wealth, Apple can find rules– sometimes known as loopholes– that benefit Apple Inc. but would not benefit me or you.
Should Apple do the so-called right thing and pay taxes that are not necessarily legally bound?
Here’s Ben’s best example on Apple doing the right thing when it does not make sense from a technical perspective. Accessibility.
Apple unapologetically admits to shareholders that its investments in this area don’t make financial sense. It spends more money in accessibility R&D than it ever makes back in increased sales. But it does so because it’s the right thing to do. Because it changes lives.
So, should Apple pay taxes that are not actually required to be paid?
First, the company may not be legally bound to do so. Second, governments just waste the money anyway and it’s likely Apple does more good for the economy than government leaders. Third, the money that Apple does not waste can be used to pay for… insert Mac360’s famous drum roll here… things like accessibility, R&D, and expanding the product line to enrich people’s lives.
If governments change tax rules and that takes a bigger bite from Apple’s profits, so be it. But to just hand over money to ruthless, immoral, and greedy politicians to waste is just, well, a waste of hard earned money.