5:24 PM, Jun 25, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
George Orwell was born on this date 112 years ago. He remains the invaluable writer on matters of a phenomenon that resembles censorship but somehow goes beyond. Censorship, after all, simply suppresses. This other thing goes further, altering the DNA of facts and making untruths into truths. Orwell’s 1984 is, of course, the dystopian novel built around the modern state’s mastery of this special and sublime form of tyranny. When a fact is inconvenient to the state, it is sent down the “memory hole” and a new fact is crafted to replace it.
So "Oceania was at war with Eurasia; therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.”
Apple is not quite the state. Not yet, anyway. But on the matter of rewriting history, it inched up to the line, as Jason Schreier at kotaku.com writes, by:
… yanking games that use the Confederate flag in any way (via TouchArcade). For example, you can now no longer buy the strategy iOS games Civil War: 1862, Civil War: 1863, Civil War: 1864, and Civil War: Gettysburg, which, as you might guess, use the Confederate flag because they’re video games about the Civil War.
There was an actual American Civil War. One side in that war flew the Confederate flag. Not even Apple can change that fact.
Not yet, anyway.
Ironic that Apple announced, in a 1984 TV ad, that it had come to deliver us from the iron grip of Big Brother.
10:01 AM, Oct 30, 2014 • By JIM SWIFT
Today, in an article for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Apple CEO Tim Cook makes an announcement: "I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."
12:00 AM, Apr 26, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
For those of us who believe in the market system, there is something unsettling about the thought of the billionaire bosses of Google, Apple, Adobe, Intel, two Disney subsidiaries, and Intuit sitting around a table and agreeing not to compete for staff. Facebook declined an invitation to join the conspiracy. These are the self-styled “disrupters”, believers in the virtues of a market system that allows them to compete for customers even if, especially if, that competition destroys existing enterprises.
Tax the gross receipts of multinational companies in each of the countries in which they are earned.12:00 AM, Feb 22, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Some three hundred years ago Sir Walter Scott asked, “Breathes there a man with soul so dead who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land.” Well, in America corporations are legally deemed “persons,” so the answer to Scott’s question is “Yes,” at least when it comes to tax payments. In this globalized world corporations are “multi-national,” run by executives who may never have set foot in the lands they declare to be “home” for tax purposes. Nothing illegal about it all: These firms play by the rules written for them by the governments in which they do most of their business. And their executives do have a fiduciary obligation to the owners of the business, their shareholders, to minimize their tax payments to the greatest extent possible within the law. Moreover, to some extent their continued search for benign tax regimes puts something of a limit on the ambitions of national tax collectors, witness the unhappiness of France with the low taxes on offer in Ireland, which is coming out of the recession in which over-taxed France remains mired.
Sep 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 03 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
President Obama’s handling of Syria over the last several months has suggested that we are witnessing Jimmy Carter’s second term. Yet every so often there are other items in the news which suggest that we might as well be in 1978 all over again. Witness: the Peace App.
11:57 AM, May 29, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Bernie Becker and Kevin Bogardus write in The Hill that, according to “two top tax writers on Capitol Hill ... the case for tax reform has been strengthened by the recent revelations about Apple’s tax tactics and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups.”
3:00 PM, Oct 11, 2011 • By JOSEPH EPSTEIN
Steve Jobs, as everyone knows, died last week at 56.
As a Mac man—and I don’t mean McDonald’s—all my days on a computer, I feel a debt of genuine gratitude to Jobs for developing and manufacturing products that come with an absolute minimum of jigeroos. iMacs, iPhones, iPads, Jobs’s refinements of all these, while he was the head of Apple, were never-ending. Apple products cost more than competing items, but they hold up better, and thus bear out the apothegm—so comforting only when it proves true—that one gets what one pays for.
Prophet or master salesman?3:00 PM, Oct 10, 2011 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
"In lapidary inscriptions," said Dr. Johnson, "a man is not under oath." Still, I have been a little startled by the Princess Diana-style reaction to the death of Steve Jobs. The Internet has been weighted down with lachrymose tributes; even the mainstream press is given over to extended compliments. Bouquets of flowers have been deposited at the entrance to Apple stores, accompanied by heartfelt handwritten notes to the deceased.
3:35 PM, Oct 6, 2011 • By ADAM J. WHITE
The passing of Steve Jobs has sparked an immense amount of reflection and appreciation—just as his retirement did months ago, and the publication of Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs will do later this month. But for all the talk of Steve Jobs and the world that he created, attention must be paid to the world that created him: Silicon Valley.
Hot products vs. hot air.12:00 AM, Apr 24, 2010 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
There are two ways to look at the profits reports that are emerging from corporate boardrooms, often after a brief stop for an added shine at the office of the firms’ accountants. One is to find out just how this or that firm has been doing in the past quarter, compared with a year ago and with analysts’ expectations. I leave that to security analysts, whose job it is to move from that information to a guess as to what it portends for the future, and from there to a “buy,” “sell,” or “hold” recommendation. With some 80 percent of companies thus far reporting exceeding analysts’ (modest) expectations, and their earnings increasing by 40 percent compared with last year, there is cheer in the counting houses.
1:34 PM, Feb 19, 2010 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
I'm consistently amazed at how much Google resembles the Microsoft of the mid-'90s. Which is to say, a company with a core business so successful that it hides the fact that they fail at nearly everything else they touch.
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