I've just been watching the live stream of the Congressional hearing with Apple CEO Tim Cook today. It's ugly. The buzz among tech blogs has said the hearing would largely be grandstanding by members of Congress. And that's what I'm seeing. The current rant is going on and on, with Senator Carl Levin endlessly chastising Apple for having not paid taxes on $44 billion in profits being held by three Apple subsidiaries in Ireland. I've been watching for 20 minutes, and Cook hasn't been allowed to speak more than a couple sentences.
It's unfortunate that Apple has such a target on its back these days. Apple's manufacturer in China, Foxconn, has been criticized for its working conditions, Apple's recent earnings report disappointed Wall Street. Market analysts have doubted Apple's mojo and question whether the company has the creativity to continue to innovate. And now, various governments are going after Apple, wanting to get more money from the company.
So far, there's no question of whether Apple has done anything illegal.Senator Levin was very clear that the company hadn't. But these governments aren't happy with the billions in taxes Apple is already paying. They want more. You can read more about it in The New York Times.
In the midst of all that, the news came out today that Apple still tops the list of the 100 Most Valuable Global Brands for 2013. You can read more on MacDailyNews. Apple's brand value was pegged at $185 billion, which is more than 60 percent higher than second-place Google. This is the third straight year Apple has been awarded the top spot.
In February, Apple also got the top spot among "superbrands," as rated by professionals in a British brand survey, and second place as rated by consumers. You can read more on AppleInsider.
It's such an irony: people love Apple's products, but once you're on the top, everyone starts to pick at you. Tim Cook is a steady spokesperson, and I'm glad he's the one being grilled. I can't imagine Steve Jobs in this situation.