As tech companies go, Apple is certainly outside the norm. Its cash-on-hand balance notwithstanding–an amount that surpasses the GOP of quite a few countries–the company has managed to weather the storms over the years and survive in an industry where Silicon Valley startups come and go before the ink is dry on the front of their buildings. It has also launched some of the most innovative technology in this generation of users, while holding itself to product standards that other companies can only dream of.
But what about public perception standards? Is the court of public opinion–and sometimes the actual court–too hard on Apple?
In this well thought out piece in TechCrunch, that very concept is highlighted. Apple is facing stiff accusations and penalties by the European Commission for claims that the company received preferential treatment and tax breaks, but Lisa DeSimone dissects the issue to demonstrate that Apple received exactly what any company was eligible to apply for. If the decision makers somehow opted to treat the tech giant “better” than other companies, it wasn’t Apple’s place to refuse the benefits on the grounds that it wouldn’t be fair to someone else, namely, its competitors.
Amazon has found itself in this very same hot water for years. By basing its European operations in Luxembourg–which is very, very friendly to corporations when it comes to taxes and incentives–the retail giant has been able to fare better than many smaller companies. Why? Because the law allows it to. In fact, a number of large-scale corporations have done the exact same thing. Yet in the public perception, Amazon should refuse to accept what the law will provide on the grounds that its competitors can’t keep up. That’s not only unrealistic, it’s bad business.
If consumers are so concerned over the unfair privileges awarded to the already-rich major corporations, the place to stop that is in the legislature, not in the courtroom. Policymakers should change the law and ensure that tech companies follow it, rather than wasting more taxpayer funds on legal battles when there’s no clear wrongdoing.