Tim’s travels

Madeleine Swain
3 February, 2014
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Tim Cook is getting around. Following last week’s positive first quarter earnings call, but almost de rigueur disappointing drop in share prices, the Apple CEO headed for Ireland, where he visited the company’s facilities at the Hollyhill plant in Cork, which employs more than 4000 people. Cook addressed the staff and explained some of the company’s future plans.

The Journal reported that Cook also met with the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, and discussed the role of Ireland in conversations throughout the European Union regarding clarification of tax regulations.

After their meeting, Kenny was keen to emphasise that the Irish Government does not make any specific deals with Apple or any other multinational, when it comes to setting the corporation tax rate, but that Ireland has a legally-based statutory rate of 12.5 percent across the board.

“I pointed out to Cook that Ireland, as a member of the [European] Union, is participating in the OECD discussions that are taking place now about an international response in terms of clarity about the tax position. There are 15 different sectors involving that and Ireland is participating in them all, ” Kenny told The Journal.

After his whistle-stop visit to the Emerald Isle, Cook headed to the United Arab Emirates at the weekend.

tbreak media spotted him at the Virgin Megastore (an Apple reseller) in Abu Dhabi’s immense Al Wahdi Mall, where he was photographed several times. Like a good tourist, he also visited Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and the Dubai Mall where he was also snapped.


Tim Cook and a Virgin employee at Abu Dhabi's Virgin Megastore

There was much speculation as to the nature of his visit, with many Apple watchers hoping that his presence points to the possibility of an Apple store in the region, even in the Burj Khalifa itself. MacRumors referred to an unconfirmed tip from 2013 “claiming that Apple was making plans to open a major store at The Galleria in Sowwah Square in Abu Dhabi, a luxury mall that opened late last year, but no additional reports of such a project have yet surfaced”.

But, as with Ireland, perhaps the real reason for Cook’s visit was political – as he also met with the UAE Prime Minister and Vice-President Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, along with Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gargawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs.

“Shaikh Mohammed and Cook discussed an array of issues regarding future of the IT sector in the backdrop of international transformations and the sector’s role in developing and advancing education,” reported the Khaleej Times.

Abbas Jaffar Ali at tbreak tried to calm the excitement by suggesting, “Virgin Megastore is an official reseller of Apple products in the UAE so he could have just been making a round to see the visibility of Apple products in the region.” But that idea was perhaps a little too prosaic for any other outlets to run with…


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