Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Is it evil to avoid tax?

Posted on: June 7th, 2013 by admin-kablooey 1 Comment

Devil business manGoogle famously has the slogan “don’t be evil”. They are however embroiled in a worldwide issue – is tax avoidance evil? Not only have Google been dragged into the fray,  but Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Starbucks and even famous individuals such as Jimmy Carr have come under the spotlight for not paying their fair share of tax

Tax evasion is illegal, but avoidance is not. It is recognised that the more money you have, the more likely you are to be able to afford expensive accountants and lawyers to reduce tax. Apple, according to a study conducted by Millward Brown Optimar, for WPP is the most valuable brand on the planet, with Google second.

So how have Google only paid £10 million in corporation tax on revenues of nearly £12 billion, when they openly claim to make 25% profit? They carry out something called “Double Irish”. Their business is registered in Ireland where corporation tax is a lot lower and is allowed to move their profit offshore. In Google’s case this is the British Overseas Territory of The Cayman Islands, which has no income, capital gains or corporation tax. They end up with an effective tax rate of 2.4%. This obviously makes great business sense and if the British Government wants to change this arrangement they can obviously change the status of the Cayman Islands.

Google does indirectly pay tax though. All their employees in the country that they are working from pay income tax on their earnings, state taxes, national insurance and VAT. Google are also making a huge investment in the UK by building a massive HQ at Kings Cross in London, reputedly costing £300 million that will give much needed work for the construction sector. Once built it will directly provide jobs and indirectly give a boost to services such as bars, restaurants, shops, gyms, transport etc., in the local area.

Tax evasion is not illegal, so why all the fuss? At TomorrowToday we believe they are missing the point and are not taking notice of a major disruptive force; the opinions and power of the people within Generation X and Y. Even though Google was very famously founded by Gen Xer’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin they looked to a classic Baby Boomer in the form of Eric Schmidt to be the CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011 He was recruited to run the company under the guidance of Venture Capitalists that are in turn Baby Boomers. He went about his task to make the business more productive, more efficient and more profitable, because that’s what is expected; companies are there to make money and deliver returns to shareholders. As the CEO, it is his duty to reduce costs and if tax can be reduced, so be it. His systems are still in place even though Larry Page took over the reigns in April 2011. Ironically Eric Schmidt is part of Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron’s Business Advisory Group. At Apple the CEO is Tim Cook, Microsoft is Steve Bulmer, Starbucks Howard Schultz, the list goes on of household names that are CEO’s of businesses that are not paying their taxes. All of these Baby Boomers might be great business people to increase productivity and decrease costs, but are they in touch with the values of the younger generations? The days are over of having only your shareholders to answer to. Today’s younger generations are more attuned to the creation of a fairer world that looks after the whole, not just the individual. If you want them to buy from you, you need to show how you care for the world and its people. People will vote with their feet (Starbucks) or more likely their fingers in today’s connected world if businesses are not trusted and do not contribute to society. Generation X and Y are not brand loyal; they will find another service or product that suits their needs and values.

Superstar businesses of today, be wary. Back in 2000 Apple wasn’t even in the top 20 companies and you had probably never even heard of Google. Already both Apple and Google have fallen out of the top 20 Most Trusted Businesses in the USA according to the Ponema Institute. Huge companies and famous brands such as Cisco, Yahoo, Myspace, AOL, Dell and Nokia have fallen from lofty heights. You are never too big or famous to fail (unless you are a bank of course, but that’s another story). Plug into the values of today’s people and ignore them at your peril. It would be a shame that worthwhile projects that are being progressed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, to try and solve the worlds energy and climate problems were cut short because they were not in touch with the very people they are trying to help be rid of evils such as pollution, famine and poverty.

What I learnt from Steve Jobs’ life and death

Posted on: October 6th, 2011 by Graeme Codrington No Comments

The passing of Steve Jobs will no doubt bring a deserved flurry of eulogies over the next few days and weeks. He will be remembered by history as one of the architects of a new age, and I feel it is a privilege to live in a world at least partly shaped by his vision of it. I did not know him, nor did I ever meet him, not even in passing. But I do feel that his life has taught me some valuable lessons.

Without too much comment, here are some of the key lessons I have learnt from Steve Jobs’ life:

  • One man can change the world. It will probably work best with a great team and a growing tribe, but one man can change the world.
  • You don’t have to be normal. You can break the rules.
  • You don’t have to listen to all the voices. You can give people what they need, and not just what they want and what they know to ask for.
  • There are second chances.
  • You can change the world. Steve Jobs devoted his life to giving human beings the most powerful devices ever to be put into the hands of individuals (you’re reading this on one of them). He has given me power and abilities that were only available to royalty just a few centuries ago.
  • Beauty matters. Design wins. Do gorgeous work.
  • Steve Jobs showed us that presentations can be exciting, visually stimulating, enriching and uplifting. We should not copy his unique style, but we should understand the principles that made his presentations so compelling: simplicity, personality, visually gorgeous, “edu-taining”.
  • The 1950s were a great time to be born. Baby Boomers are a privileged generation.
  • You can keep doing what you love until you die. You don’t have to retire. No-one is asking, “If he was that sick, why did Steve keep working to the end?” Everyone knows the answer.
  • Cancer sucks!
  • And finally, his death to cancer teaches me that no matter how rich, powerful, connected, clever or technology advanced you are, death comes to us all. I need to live my life in the knowledge that this life is not all there is. I don’t know what Steve Jobs believed would happen after he died – whatever he believed, he now knows the truth. Each of us will soon know that truth too; some sooner than later; some sooner than we think. We need to be sure we are ready to face that. I am. Are you?

RIP Steve Jobs. Thank you. Your legacy is assured.

(more…)

Retaining Talent – a lesson for the Tech Industry [infographic]

Posted on: July 21st, 2011 by admin-kablooey 1 Comment

Retaining talent has always been an interesting challenge in business. This infographic about the Technology Industry showed this very cleary, albeit not what the graphic was initialy created for.

Take a careful look and see that most of the top new technology companies were founded by key people inside the bigger technollogy companies. What would Microsoft shares look like if it actually owned the companies that were started by past employees? How would Google look if it owned Foursquare, Twitter and Instagram?

This talent challege that TomorrowToday has been looking at in detail over the past few years. The training divison has two training programmes that helps businesses get a grip on these “talented individuals” and create an environment that brings the best out of them within the walls of the comapny they work for.

The two programmes are ideas and innovation and Mentor and Mentee. The first looks into becoming aware of why innovation is an imperative and an on-going process in the new world of work and  creating and environment where innovative ideas can flourish and be appreciated.

The Mentor and Mentee programme is a personal favourite that helps business couple the experience of older generations in business with the younger generations knowledge of the new world of work. I like this programme because it is one of the most effective ways that business can adopt social media strategies onto their organisations.

We hope you enjoy the inforgraphic

mashable_infographic_interconnected-tech-companies

Infographic design by Nick Sigler

 

Is this a Vodacom / MTN dirty little secret?

Posted on: March 7th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 7 Comments

I have a simple question to float out there, that’s been banging around in my mind for a few years now:

Why has the iPhone (all versions) been so expensive in South Africa since it’s launch?

The question first emerged when I heard someone (when the iPhone was first launched in SA) suggest that Vodacom (the first SA supplier) couldn’t afford to price the iPhone anywhere close to International pricing levels because of how they’d priced the other phones in their stable. The way it was explained was that phones were priced based on quality, brand, features, etc, etc. Entry level phones where cheap and smart phones were expensive. This makes sense. If they priced the iPhone at international levels how would they sell their top end Nokias, Blackberrys, Samsungs, LGs, HTC’s, etc, etc. The iPhone was a top end phone, and top end phones got top end prices.Messing up their market was apparently more important than passing on the savings to their customers.

But if you remember back to the launch of the iPhone, one of the defining ‘features’ was that Apple came in with an exceptional phone priced at a ridiculously low price (in the US anyway). It was one of the reasons the iPhone became the big seller it did in the US and gained such a massive market share so quickly.

In South Africa many of us anticipated and hoped that it would be the same in South Africa. And of course it wasn’t. Getting an iPhone on contract required us to throw a fairly large chunk of change at the problem in order to secure one. We didn’t get the benefit our counterparts in the US did. We were disappointed and we ended up shelling out the money. What choice did we have?

A few weeks ago the iPad was launched in South Africa. The iPad has come into the country via The Core Group (the official Apple agent in SA). Entry level iPad’s are being sold at around R4300. 16gb of memory, and wifi with no 3G. It’s this that got me writing today’s post.

In my mind the iPad is a superior product to the iPhone. However you cut it, it must be more expensive to build, transport, store, etc, etc. So why is it at least 50% cheaper than an iPhone? The only difference I can see is that the iPhone is distributed through Vodacom and MTN and the iPad through Apple (via The Core Group)

In researching this post, I’ve found it difficult to get exact prices on iPhones. So while I can’t absolutely confirm the numbers I’m about to quote, I do believe they’re pretty close, based on the number of articles I’ve read and the numbers I’ve seen. I finally settled on data from Memeburn (a great SA resource for tech news and information)

In their article, ‘Comparative pricing study: How do you like them Apples?‘ they suggest:

  • we’re paying R4399 for an entry level iPad (16gb), which is 21% more than our US counterparts
  • and between R7000 – R7999 for an entry level iPhone 4 (16gb) – no US comparison offered.

I’d like an answer from someone (anyone) as to why this is so? The only credible explanation I can come up with is that the iPhone prices are so high because Vodacom can! And why hasn’t MTN launched the iPhone 4 at international pricing levels? I can’t confirm for sure what they’re selling the iPhone 4 at on Pay-as-you-go (there seems to be so little information available) but if they’re anywhere close to Vodacom, it’s because they can as well.

It’s the sort of story that Carte Blanche should pick up in my view? Or Aki Anastasiou on 702? Or the Competition Commission should investigate? Or South Africans should be a little more vocal about?

You’d hope there’d be a credible explanation, but the cynic in me thinks not. I’d like to be surprised. I’d like to know if this is a dirty little secret or not?

 

Changing the way I Read

Posted on: January 5th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 2 Comments

For those of you who follow the TomorrowToday blog regularly, you’ll know that one of my interests during 2010 was the shifting landscape of reading. All kinds of reading. Books, Newspapers, Magazines. What we were reading on? How we were going to pay for it? How ‘they’ were going to charge us for it?

I picked up a post on Memeburn this morning called iPad magazines: Not all they’re cut out to be. The thrust of the article centers around the decline in iPad Magazine sales over the last 6 months.

“According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which collects magazine circulation data from companies willing to furnish numbers, all iPad magazines have seen fall offs in downloads over the past few months. Wired was averaging 31,000 downloads from July through September, had 22,000 and 23,000 respectively in October and November. Other magazines have seen similar declines: Vanity Fair sold 8,700 downloads of its November issue, down from an average of about 10,500 from August through October; GQ sold 11,000 copies, its worst showing yet.”

The author suggests some possible reasons for the decline from a drop in marketing and hype, to the platform, to the price.

I don’t know about you? But I’m watching my reading change. Right in front of my eyes. Quite literally : ) The changes in my world have been influenced largely by the platform I’m using to do the reading and the apps I find to use. Here’s a quick and recent account of events:

The big change to my reading started with my iPhone and Twitter (SimplyTweet). This combination radically altered how I read. Before this duo arrived my world was all magazines, books and newspapers. All of a sudden I was reading 7-10 articles (posts) a day on my iPhone. Magazines and newspapers disappeared almost completely. Books remained.

A Kindle was added to the mix, but it didn’t change my Twitter reading at all. It was a complimentary addition. Of course paper based reading had now almost vanished from my life.

A few months ago I got an iPad. This has not only sent my iPhone packing, but it’s dramatically shifted where I get my reading material from. From getting almost all my reading from Twitter, I now almost exclusively am making use of RSS feeds. This has to do with the app I found, Early Edition. It’s a lot like Flipboard, but I can’t go back to Flipboard for some reason?

So for now Twitter has disappeared as a source of reading. I still engage with Twitter, but it’s become social and about people and less about the links to great reading. I must confess I miss it, and will find a way to integrate it back into my world.

What I do know is that whether people like it or not, the way we read, what we read on, what we’ll pay for it, when we’ll read…. it’s all going to change. I’m prepared to acknowledge I’m a little on edge, an early-ish adopter even, but when I see what’s going on in my reading world, if that’s just a tiny view of the future, we’re all in for quite a ride.

The ‘Next-Future’ is the Smart-Phone

Posted on: November 29th, 2010 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Through TomorrowToday, there are two presentations I do that speak to the future of Mobile Phones, Aftershock and Beyond the Hype. In both of them I’m fairly clear in my own mind on one trend around Mobile Phones – that the ‘next future’ is the Smart Phone.

For me it’s a simple process I use to get to that prediction…. when mobile phones began it was all about voice. We were all completely taken by the idea that we could talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime. But things have changed. The change can be described as a move from ‘ears to eyes’. Increasingly, for those who’s phones enable them, are spending less time talking and more time looking. We doing less ‘ear work’ and more ‘eye work’.

Coupled with this, the mobile network operators are struggling to grow their voice business. In many countries, everyone who is going to talk on a phone has one. Short of encouraging us to talk more, there’s no real growth left in voice. Data has to be the next big opportunity for them for growth. And if you’re going to grow your data business, you’ve got to put a Smart Phone into the hands of all of your users.

As I see it, these two forces will converge on each other, driving the cost of Smart Phones down, and increasing the services offered by everyone that involve eyes and not ears.

I picked up a link on Twitter from zoopedup the other day to this article on TNW Mobile, ‘Android grabs 25.5% share of the global smartphone market‘. As you can see from the title it focusses on Android’s growth. But there were some other gems inside that grabbed my attention.

Like the growth of Smart Phone sales worldwide:

Worldwide mobile phone sales in the third quarter amounting to 417 million units, a rise of 35% from the third quarter in 2009, with smartphone sales experiencing growth of 96%, meaning that one in every five mobile phones sold during the three months was a smartphone.

And the reduction in price of Smart Phones, one of the reasons Android is doing so well:

Android has now become the second most popular mobile operating system worldwide, helped by mobile operators including Verizon where Android-powered smartphones were thought to have made up between 75% and 80% of its total smartphone sales in Q3. The availability of cur-price budget Android models has also helped introduce smartphones to new demographics and market segments has also helped drive demand.

Add ‘tablets’ to the mix, and Apple’s drive with the iPad and the ‘next-future’ is emerging right before our eyes…

With tablet devices coming to market, rivalling the iPad, as 2010 draws to a close, media tablets could reach up to 54.8 million units in 2011. Apple’s iOS operating system is heralded as one of the most important factors in the continued success of mobile devices as it presents a single platform for developers which spans across a number of different media devices.

The 'Next-Future' is the Smart-Phone

Posted on: November 29th, 2010 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Through TomorrowToday, there are two presentations I do that speak to the future of Mobile Phones, Aftershock and Beyond the Hype. In both of them I’m fairly clear in my own mind on one trend around Mobile Phones – that the ‘next future’ is the Smart Phone.

For me it’s a simple process I use to get to that prediction…. when mobile phones began it was all about voice. We were all completely taken by the idea that we could talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime. But things have changed. The change can be described as a move from ‘ears to eyes’. Increasingly, for those who’s phones enable them, are spending less time talking and more time looking. We doing less ‘ear work’ and more ‘eye work’.

Coupled with this, the mobile network operators are struggling to grow their voice business. In many countries, everyone who is going to talk on a phone has one. Short of encouraging us to talk more, there’s no real growth left in voice. Data has to be the next big opportunity for them for growth. And if you’re going to grow your data business, you’ve got to put a Smart Phone into the hands of all of your users.

As I see it, these two forces will converge on each other, driving the cost of Smart Phones down, and increasing the services offered by everyone that involve eyes and not ears.

I picked up a link on Twitter from zoopedup the other day to this article on TNW Mobile, ‘Android grabs 25.5% share of the global smartphone market‘. As you can see from the title it focusses on Android’s growth. But there were some other gems inside that grabbed my attention.

Like the growth of Smart Phone sales worldwide:

Worldwide mobile phone sales in the third quarter amounting to 417 million units, a rise of 35% from the third quarter in 2009, with smartphone sales experiencing growth of 96%, meaning that one in every five mobile phones sold during the three months was a smartphone.

And the reduction in price of Smart Phones, one of the reasons Android is doing so well:

Android has now become the second most popular mobile operating system worldwide, helped by mobile operators including Verizon where Android-powered smartphones were thought to have made up between 75% and 80% of its total smartphone sales in Q3. The availability of cur-price budget Android models has also helped introduce smartphones to new demographics and market segments has also helped drive demand.

Add ‘tablets’ to the mix, and Apple’s drive with the iPad and the ‘next-future’ is emerging right before our eyes…

With tablet devices coming to market, rivalling the iPad, as 2010 draws to a close, media tablets could reach up to 54.8 million units in 2011. Apple’s iOS operating system is heralded as one of the most important factors in the continued success of mobile devices as it presents a single platform for developers which spans across a number of different media devices.

Put that in your iPod and er, listen to it

Posted on: October 1st, 2008 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Here’s an interesting battle going on in the music industry, with Apple ‘threatening’ to close doors to iTunes, the dominant force in sales of digital music. (BBC has the full story)

If word gets out that music publishers are trying to stick it to consumers, and Apple is fighting to keep prices down on their behalf, well, there’s liable to be public backlash against the labels.