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The European Union on Tuesday said US tech giant Apple must repay a record 13 billion euros ($14.3 billion or roughly Rs. 95,910 crores) in back taxes after ruling that a series of Irish sweetheart tax deals were illegal.

“The European Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to 13 billion euros to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid,” a Commission statement said.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Apple’s “selective treatment” in Ireland meant it paid an effective tax rate of just one percent on its European profits in 2003, which then fell to a bare 0.005 percent by 2014.

“The tax treatment in Ireland enabled Apple to avoid taxation on almost all profits generated by sales of Apple products in the entire EU single market.”

Brussels launched an inquiry into Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland in 2014, one of a series of anti-trust cases targeting major US corporations that have angered Washington.

Apple and Ireland are both expected to appeal.

Apple chief Tim Cook said earlier this month he hoped to “get a fair hearing … If we don’t, then we would obviously appeal it”.

Apple has had a base in the southern city of Cork since 1980 and employs 5,000 people in Ireland where it is seen as a prestige high-tech partner and a valued source of jobs.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Apple vowed Tuesday to appeal an EU ruling ordering it to pay a record 13 billion euros in back taxes in Ireland, saying the decision would harm jobs and investment in Europe.

“We will appeal and we are confident the decision will be overturned,” the US company said in a statement after the European Commission decision that Dublin’s tax breaks for Apple were illegal.

“It will have a profound and harmful effect on investment and job creation in Europe.”

Ireland has “no choice” but to appeal against a European Union ruling demanding that US tech giant Apple repay them a record EUR 13 billion ($14.3 billion or roughly Rs. 95,910 crores) in back taxes, the government said alongside Tuesday.

“The decision leaves me with no choice but to seek cabinet approval to appeal the decision before the European Courts,” Ireland Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said in a government statement.
“This (appeal) is necessary to defend the integrity of our tax system; to provide tax certainty to business; and to challenge the encroachment of EU state aid rules.

“I disagree profoundly with the Commission’s decision,” he added.

The EU said Apple had benefited from a series of Irish sweetheart tax deals that were illegal.

“The European Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to EUR 13 billion to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid,” a Commission statement said.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


After testing it for eight months, Google has announced that it has now built Google Cast right into Chrome. Users will no longer have to install a separate extension to beam videos from a webpage to other screens like their TV.

In January, Google employee Francois Beaufort announced that the Chromium team was testing this feature in the beta channel. He credited the new Media Router for making it possible to build Cast natively. Now, the feature has been rolled out into the stable Chrome channel for everyone to use.

For all the websites that support Cast, an icon will appear when you’re on the same network as a Chromecast device. Clicking on the icon will allow you to choose the home device that you want to project the stream on – be it audio speakers, or see a web video on TV.
For all the websites that are not integrated with Cast, just head to the Chrome menu, select ‘Cast’ from there, and follow the steps to beam the video on your TV. The tech giant informs that only the latest version of Chrome supports the integrated Cast feature.
The Google Cast extension for Chrome was launched in 2013, alongside the Chromecast dongle. Until now users had to download and install Google Cast Chrome extension to stream music, videos, and other webpages from the browser to their Chromecast-connected TV. However, this native support of Cast eliminates this installation process.

Google claims that users have casted more than 38 million times from Chrome in the last month itself. In July, users has watched and heard more than 50 million hours of content through Chromecast.

Google introduced its second-generation Chromecast dongle and the new Chromecast Audio dongle in India in April this year, and priced both at Rs. 3,399. The media-streaming dongles are available on several online marketplaces including Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm, as well as offline retailers like Reliance Digital and Croma. Google claims that it managed to sell 5 million Chromecast devices in the last two months itself.
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Facebook will soon let users enable Safety Check on their own in an emergency situation or a crisis. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday revealed company’s plans to be working on the feature that would let users create an alert on Facebook through which their relatives and friends can know if they are safe in disasters or other tough conditions.

While holding a townhall meeting in Rome’s Luiss University on Monday, Zuckerberg received a question from audience regarding the future of Facebook’s Safety Check in the wake of recent earthquakes in Italy. “Yes, we’re working on that already.” he said, confirming that the feature might soon be tested and rolled to the public. Adding to his statements, Zuckerberg highlighted that Facebook is not only made for fun moments with friends, but also to ensure safety of the users who’re in peril or such extreme situations throughout the globe.

Facebook introduced Safety Check back in 2014, saying, “We want to provide a helpful tool that people can use when major disasters strike, so we’ve created safety check” in a blog post. Since then, Facebook could be seen activating this feature in several emergency situations and natural disasters in the world, including terrorist attacks – events that Zuckerberg says have “just been too common over the last few years”.
Zuckerberg said in a video of the townhall meeting posted by him on the social-networking website,”If we’re building a community product, this is one of the moments of truth for us…” He added, “We’re working on what you say. When Safety Check got started a couple of years ago, it was only for natural disasters. The next thing we need to do is make it so that communities can trigger it themselves when there is some disaster.”
Facebook recently has been receiving a lot of criticism for the activation of Safety Check only in select places or as a few point out, in the “West”. The Paris attacks saw Facebook deploying this feature extensively throughout the affected region. Later, the California-based Internet company was slammed for being biased for not activating it during the Nigeria blasts, to which company reacted and made the feature available in the region.
While it’s still unclear how this feature will come in use and what all users would ‘qualify’ to be able to create an alert, Facebook surely seems to be sidelining itself from all the backlash it received in the past for being biased.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem have suspended services in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, since Saturday and do not know when they can resume operations, they said on Sunday.

The National, a UAE newspaper, quoted unnamed sources as saying that as many as 50 drivers for Uber and Careem had been arrested.

An Abu Dhabi source familiar with the situation told Reuters some drivers had been detained over violations of regulations, but did not specify how many drivers or describe the violations.

“This is a temporary suspension and we will let you know of any further updates,” an Uber spokesman in Dubai said via email. He did not respond to questions about the arrests or the reason for the suspension of services.

Christian Eid, vice-president of marketing and communications for Careem, a Dubai-based company, said many of its drivers were being stopped by authorities in Abu Dhabi, apparently over licensing issues, and as a result had become nervous and were staying off the roads. This had forced Careem to halt services there, he said.

The Abu Dhabi government’s Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars, which manages the taxi and transport sector, did not respond to queries. The centre oversees about seven taxi operators and 18 limousine operators, some of which are partly government-owned. Abu Dhabi police did not respond to requests for comment.
Uber and Careem said they had not suspended operations in neighbouring Dubai, the commercial and tourist hub of the UAE. The emirate of Abu Dhabi has a population of about 2.8 million and Dubai has roughly 2.5 million.

Uber, which launched services in Abu Dhabi in 2013, said last year that the Middle East and North Africa contained some of its fastest-growing markets and that it planned to invest $250 million to expand in the region.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry said it would raise about $605 million (roughly Rs. 4,062 crores) by selling convertible debentures to shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings and other investors.

The Canadian company will also redeem on September 2 roughly $1.25 billion (roughly Rs. 8,393 crores) worth of outstanding debentures carrying a coupon of 6 percent, it said on Friday.

The new debt that BlackBerry plans to issue will have a coupon of 3.75 percent and will be due in November 2020.

If all of the new debt is converted into stock, it will represent about 11.57 percent of BlackBerry’s outstanding shares, the company said.

FairFax, led by well-known contrarian investor Prem Watsa, is BlackBerry’s second largest shareholder with a stake of about 8.9 percent, according to Reuters data.

Once a dominant force in smartphones, BlackBerry now holds just a sliver of the global market.

BlackBerry said last month it would stop making its Classic model, raising further doubts about the future of the company’s money-losing handset business as it shifts focus to software.
In July, the company unveiled a second Android-based handset, which combines Alphabet’s popular software and broad app catalog with its security and productivity features at a lower price.

BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen has expressed confidence that the company’s trimmed-down handset business can meet its September target to turn profitable.

Analysts, however, have urged the company to sell or shut down the unit.

BlackBerry’s US-listed shares were little changed at $7.96 in afternoon trading.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


In an effort to curb hate speech and ensure safe online communities, Microsoft has announced a new dedicated web form for reporting hate speech on its hosted consumer services and a separate online form for petitions to reconsider and reinstate content.

With these resources, Microsoft users will now be able to communicate directly with the firm to report hate speech and request petition to reinstate content via online forms.

“We will continue our ‘notice-and-takedown’ approach for removing prohibited content on hosted consumer services, and the new form aims to improve the quality and speed of our reviews,” Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer at Microsoft, said in a blog post on Saturday.

“When hate speech is reported to us, we will evaluate each complaint, consider context and other factors, and determine appropriate action with respect to the content and the user’s account,” he added.

Microsoft offers services like Outlook, Skype, Xbox, OneDrive and Office 365 which draw millions of users.
“We’re making it simpler for users to report hate speech. We are also adding a new multi-service reconsideration form to request reinstatement of content that customers feel was disabled in error. We will review submissions via this new form, and if appropriate, reinstate the content,” Beauchere posted.

Microsoft is also working with the broader Internet community to combat offensive content online.

It is working with governments, online safety advocates and other technology companies to ensure there is no place on its hosted consumer services for conduct that incites violence and hate.

For example, Microsoft recently joined major social media and video-sharing firms in support of the European Commission Code of Conduct countering illegal hate speech online – a joint effort to stop unlawful public incitement to violence and hatred across Europe.

“Reports received from governments will be included as government requests in our semi-annual Content Removal Requests Report, published at the Microsoft Transparency Hub,” the post said.

The company hopes that this effort will more directly address hate speech on its hosted services and improve transparency in how it is tackling the offensive content online.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


India has attracted investment from 37 mobile manufacturing companies in last one year that have generated 40,000 direct jobs and 1.25 lakh indirect employment, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.

“We decided to make India a big hub of electronics manufacturing. In the last one year, 37 new mobile manufacturing units have come,” Prasad said after inaugurating government-funded ‘Electropreneur Park’.

He said that 11 crore mobile phones have been made in the country in last one year compared to 6 crore earlier. “We have given jobs to forty-thousand people and 1.25 lakh indirect jobs,” Prasad said.

Chinese companies like Gionee and Xiaomi are making their handsets at Foxconn plant in Andhra Pradesh. Domestic companies such as Karbonn, Lava, Micromax, Intex, Jivi, iTel, and MTech too have set up their manufacturing plants in the country.

As per industry sources, Chinese company LeEco will start mobile manufacturing unit on Tuesday. Prasad said that besides manufacturing electronics product in India, product designing is also important.

He said that government has provided Rs. 10,000 crore under Electronics Development Fund to support new entrepreneurs in the field of electronics. The Electropreneur Park (EP), which was innaugurated today in South Campus of Delhi University, is an incubation centre set up with government funds of around Rs. 21 crore to support incubation of up to 50 companies.

Set-up in collaboration with academia and industry represented by Indian Electronics and Semiconductor Association, the Park will focus on creation of intellectual property rights and product development to increase domestic manufacturing of electronics items.

“India imports electronic goods of over Rs. 3 lakh crore. By 2020 government aims to bring down import to zero. The Electropreneur Park started today is a step in that direction,” Minister of State for IT and Law P P Choudhary said.

Ministry of Electronics and IT has selected six start-up firms that will develop products at this incubation centre. “6 out of 176 start-ups have been selected which means they have capability of developing good quality products and selection of six more are in pipeline,” MEITY Additional Secretary Ajay Kumar said.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Xiaomi is hosting an event in China tomorrow, and it is widely expected to launch the Redmi 4 smartphone. The company has released teasers where two of its brand ambassadors are holding a smartphone, and has announced that ‘a new Redmi product’ is joining the family. In the meanwhile, a report is resurfacing speculation that the Redmi Note 4 may instead be launched at the event.

The teasers were released on the company’s forum confirming the previously tipped launch date of August 25. The Redmi 4 has been subjected to numerous leaks and it is expected to sport a full metal body. In the teaser, actress Liu Shishi is holding a metal device further attesting to it, while actor Wu Xiubo is seen holding a glowing smartphone.

The rumoured price of the Redmi 4 is at CNY 699 (roughly Rs. 7,000). It is pegged to feature a 5-inch display, and be powered by a 2GHz MediaTek Helio X20 deca-core processor or a 2GHz Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor. It should be available in two memory/ storage variants – 2GB RAM/16GB storage and 3GBRAM/64GB storage.

Optics may include a 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 5-megapixel front camera. It is expected to run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based MIUI 8 out-of-the-box, and sport a 4100mAh battery. The dimensions of 141.3×69.6×8.9mm, a 160-gram weight, and Gold and Silver colour variants. Connectivity options tipped include 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11ac (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, and GPS.
In the meanwhile, GizmoChina speculates the company may launch the Redmi Note 4 instead, a smartphone that was tipped to launch back at the company’s July 27 event, but never materialised. While earlier it was tipped to sport a Snapdragon 652 SoC, the latest rumours point to a MediaTek Helio X20 deca-core processor. Other rumours specifications include a 5.5-inch (1080×1920 pixels) full-HD IPS display; 3GB RAM, 32GB and 64GB inbuilt storage options with the option to expand storage via microSD slot. The camera on the Redmi Note 4 is said to be the same as the Redmi 4, and it is expected to feature a 4000mAh battery.

Xiaomi is also expected to launch the Mi Note 2 on September 2, and is expected to don a dual camera setup, dual-edge display, and 64GB and 128GB storage offerings. It is pegged to be priced at CNY 2,499 (approximately Rs. 25,000) and CNY 2,799 (approximately Rs. 28,000) respectively.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


In a move to ease up the transition from iOS to Android for its users, Google has introduced a new option in its device setup process on recently launched Android 7.0 Nougat. The new option essentially helps users to transfer their data from their earlier device to their Android device.

However, the utility of the new option is debatable as instead of following an active approach and creating an app to ease the transition, as in case of Apple’s Move to iOS app, Google has taken a more passive approach by providing people with instructions to transfer their data using individual apps.

As pointed out by 9to5Google, in Android 7.0 Nougat’s device setup process, Google gives the options to copy data from another Android phone, or a backup stored on your Google account and now also includes the option to move data from an iOS device to Android. On choosing the option for iOS devices, the following instructions come on the screen:

On your iPhone or iPad device:
1. Open Safari

2. Go to android.com/switch

3. Follow the instructions

When you go to the Android Switch website, you get the instructions as to how to create backup of your photos, mails, contacts and apps by using various offerings from the search giant.

Although the instructions are definitely useful and will help the users to transfer their data with ease, it still seems like the company could have made it easier to switch from its rival mobile platform.
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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