USA vs Most Valuable American Company?

apple-legalTwo stories were published yesterday that provided an interesting theme.

First, Fortune’s excellent Apple 2.0 blog, written by Philip Elmer-DeWitt, brought the story that the case of the great e-book conspiracy brought by the US Justice Department against all of the publishers of electronic books and Apple has turned into a case against only Apple.  According to the DoJ’s court filings, “A preponderance of the evidence shows that Apple, Inc. conspired and agreed with [five publishers listed]  for the purpose and with the effect of raising consumer e-book prices and restraining retail price competition.”  Apple’s replying court filings said that its actions made the e-book market more competitive, not less.

Then, Politico’s Anna Palmer broke the news that Apple is the target in a hearing next week by a Senate Subcommittee investigating offshore tax practices.  According to the Politico article, Apple CEO Tim Cook will testify before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations next week.  The hearing is similar to a hearing in September 2012, at which representatives of HP and Microsoft testified.

What is it that has gotten the US government so mad at a company that should be the poster boy for American capitalism?

I don’t believe in jingoism, but it does seem strange to me that the strength of the US government is being directed against perhaps the most pure example of what is best in the US economy – a company that was started in 1976 by a couple of kids in California and has grown to being the world’s most valuable corporation by developing a series of products that have redefined product sectors and changed how people live.  Along the way, untold amounts of wealth has been created – mostly in the US – and hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created – also mostly in the US.

Let’s keep in mind that Apple is a company that has chosen to keep its design, engineering and product development teams in the US – even as most of its competitors in the technology sector have outsourced as much as possible to lower-cost engineering centers around the world.  Even though most Apple products are built in China, Tim Cook announced during 2012 that Apple was bringing some of its manufacturing back to the US.

No company is perfect, but isn’t Apple the type of company that the US government should be celebrating and encouraging new entrepreneurs to emulate rather than attacking?

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3 responses to “USA vs Most Valuable American Company?”

  1. Anonymous says :

    Perhaps Apple was judged to be too politically active? Do they have an app that explains the Constitution to schoolchildren?

    • Graham Burnette says :

      We here in Silicon Valley have historically stayed out of the DC political world. I don’t know what Apple specifically does in terms of interaction with the government, but the Washington Post said

      Apple, one of the most valuable companies in the world by market value, does not have a large staff in Washington, nor does it often engage in policy matters.

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