Apple tax, Apple appeal costs, and Murdoch looks at Newstalk

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from ‘The Irish Times’ business desk

Apple: Making history with a gigantic US tax payment. Photograph: Getty

Apple: Making history with a gigantic US tax payment. Photograph: Getty


Apple created waves on Wednesday evening by saying it expected to pay a $38 billion tax bill - the largest of its kind in history - as it brings home a big pile of cash, most of which was once held by its Irish subsidiaries. Joe Brennan reports on the landmark move, also raising the question of how this might affect the company’s appeal against the European Commission’s decision that it pay up to €15 billion in back taxes to the Republic.

On the same subject, Ken Foxe has some new figures on the costs to date of the Government’s appeal of the same commission decision. One Irish law firm has so far been paid €2 million, while a small number of individual barristers have earned more than €300,000 each.

Rupert Murdoch has mulled over the idea of buying Newstalk, the radio station owned by fellow media man, Denis O’Brien.The Murdoch-controlled Wireless Group has explored a potential bid but decided not to pursue it “for now”, writes Mark Paul.

With the annual gathering of the elite in Davos just days away, Joe Brennan writes that a report published ahead of the event finds that environmental risks top the list of dangers facing the world. He also points out that Davos is due to host US president, a self-professed sceptic of climate change.

In our Technology section this week, Marie Boran explores the “YouTuber” phenomenon, considering in particular the sorry episode whereby Logan Paul found himself in a Japanese forest infamously known as a suicide location. Marie asks how we ended up creating monsters who want fame at all costs?

Chris Horn also looks at the modern idea of fame in his Innovation Talks column, wondering if winning celebrity endorsements is always good for companies. And still in Innovation, John Holden opens up the world of the charity sector, where the collection and use of our data is becoming more and more significant, meaning that charities need to take more and more care of the information they have about us.

Karlin Lillington and Ciara O’Brien both visited the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition last week and both left with a warm glow about the future of Irish technology. Karlin points out that there is nothing ordinary about the young people’s efforts on display and warns that we should celebrate their achievements. Take, for example, 12-year-old Lily Eyers, who told Ciara that her lightbulb moment came when she broke an arm after falling off her bike and realised she wanted to create something that would make drivers more aware of cyclists. One to watch?

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