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Amazon is now the world’s largest investor in research and development

One of the more amusing things that we’re told about the tax dodging by the internet giants is that the government needs all that money in order to be able to invest. We’ve got low productivity rises, this means that wages will rise slowly into the future – and it’s true that if productivity rises are slow then so will wage rises be. Thus the Treasury should get a goodly slice of the moolah so that those wise people in the House of Commons can invest it.

This rather fails with Amazon:

Amazon passed Volkswagen AG in late 2016 to become the world’s biggest corporate R&D spender, and its hold on the No. 1 spot has only grown more secure since.

Amazon doesn’t pay a dividend, the only share repurchases it does are to buy the stock that is then awarded to employees as part of their pay. It also doesn’t make much of a profit. Sure, the number can be large, but as a percentage of anything it has always been tiny. The reason being that any money they do make on one line of business is then sent off to be invested in some other line.

They’re actually doing what people claim they want companies to be doing, sending their profits back into investment so as to create more growth and more jobs with higher wages in the future. So this claim that they should pay more taxes so that government can invest the money is more than a little odd.

Of course, the claim that companies should pay more tax so that government can invest is ridiculous anyway. The company can invest it itself, or it can give it all to shareholders. Who then make the decision to either spend it – raising demand and thus wages- or invest it – raising future growth and future wages. There’s nothing else that can be done with money, you either spend it or invest it, that’s all that’s possible.

The real complaint here is that the politicians can see a pot of money and they’re pissed off that they don’t get to spend it. But then we knew that, right?

Posted: 12th, April 2018 | In: Money, News, Technology | Comment


Amazon delivers 65 pounds of marijuana to couple who ordered a bin

Sometimes life just gives you a break. And so it was for one couple who instead of the four storage bins they ordered from Amazon, received 65 pounds of marijuana.

 

 

‚ÄúThey were extremely heavy, heavier than you would think from ordering four empty bins,‚ÄĚ the woman tells ABC.

She called the police, who impounded the contraband, and around a month later Amazon sent them a $150 gift card.

There really is no helping some people.

Spotter: WFTV

Posted: 25th, October 2017 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


US tech titans mint millionaires as globalised business model pays off

When the web first boomed, the dream was to become a dotcom millionaire for running you own website. Now you can rich by working for someopne who built a website that went huge. The trick is to work for one that operates on a global scale and is based in the US. In “Tech titans pay $20bn in bonuses”¬†The Times’ Danny Fortsun writes:

Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google‚Äôs parent Alphabet doled out a combined $20bn (¬£15.4bn) in share payouts last year, on top of the techies‚Äô salaries, according to an analysis of stock market filings…

The $20bn bonanza equates to $29,850 for each of the quintet’s 670,000 employees. Last year Britain’s bankers and insurance workers took home £13.9bn in bonuses, an average of £13,400 per employee.

Well, quite. As Tim notes: “Global industry pays more in bonuses across the world than the one country sector of a global business.” If you’re tax efficient, the share price will rise leaving more money to dish out amongst friends and employees back at HQ.

What we don’t know is that bonuses the ¬†Big Five’s UK-based workforce took home when compared to their colleagues in the USA, say, or Luxembourg?

Posted: 7th, May 2017 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


The F-rating doesn’t give an F-word about movies

The movement towards creating explicit codes of behaviour for every aspect of life¬†– especially the messy bits about sex – ¬†welcomes the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), which is now using the ‘F-rating’ to signal films of a feminist type. This is “so [viewers can choose films that fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera.” It is¬†“applied to all films which are directed by women and/or written by women and/or have significant women on screen.”

That part¬†about ‘significant women’ opens up a few issues, not least of all when it comes to grot movies, especially the girl-on-girl sort. The F-rating might not be the best guide to family entertainment or indeed anything approaching entertainment of any strain. But, then, the F-rating is not about films; it’s about educating the masses and turning people – wonderfully complex humans – into quotas. The official F-rated website explains the vision:

‘The stories we see on screen need to be told by a broad spectrum of people to represent our diverse culture. Without change, we will train the next generation to only recognise white males as the protagonists and the ones in control of the cameras, scripts and budgets. As well as equality on screen and behind the camera, more female film critics from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities need to be welcomed into the industry so that opinion and feedback is balanced.’

It’s certainly not about viewers, many of whom are women. It’s about gender. The thinking is that female film fans go to the cinema not to seek escapism but to reaffirm their identity. You’re not watching them; you’re looking at yourself. But you’ve already got free use of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook¬†to gawp at idealised filmic versions of yourself, so why spend good money on watching¬†a narcissistic film?

Note 1: If equality is the mantra, then the IMDb could look at itself. According to Wikipedia, the IMDb¬†‘originated with a Usenet posting by British film fan and computer programmer Col Needham entitled “Those Eyes”, about actresses with beautiful eyes.’ Col is a white male – and since he flogged the site¬†to Amazon, a very rich one.

Note 2: Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, a rich white male. Amazon Inc. has 7 ‘Officers’. All are white. One is a woman. Amazon has 11 directors – 9 of whom are male. Should businesses get an F-rating, too – and if so would the IMDb warrant one?

Posted: 15th, March 2017 | In: Film, Money, Reviews | Comment


Amazon gives free buzzing dildo with children’s sandals

Shoe box

In the box

Anyone still too shy to buy a dildo should know that Amazon offers shoppers¬†a free vibrator with pairs¬†of children’s sandals. You just have to select¬†the right brand, which is not all that subtly called PRIMIGI.

Sophie Grantham, 36, didn’t know of the special offer until she took delivery of a pair of said sandals and spotted the five-inch purple Durex vibrator in the box.

Sophie, of Whiteley, Hampshire, explains:

“The parcel was vibrating so the postman made a comment about it maybe being a toothbrush. I was absolutely horrified to find there was this purple vibrator, loose and buzzing about in the shoebox. I don’t know what happened, but it’s not on.”

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Posted: 16th, July 2015 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Amazon shoot a massive penis into space

blue origin

 

This is the unmanned Blue Origin suborbital spacecraft, New Shepard, which has soared 307,000 feet into the skies. Blue Origin is part-owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who, to the best of our knowledge, never has been pictured naked.

For more phallic pocket rockets, see Flashbak.

Posted: 1st, May 2015 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment


Amazon Loses $500 Million: Now, About That Tax Bill

One of the amusements of recent times has been watching the tax campaigners like Margaret, Lady Hodge, huffing and puffing about how terrible it is that Amazon doesn’t pay much tax here in the UK. And it’s true, it doesn’t. But there is actually a good reason for this: Amazon doesn’t make much in the way of profits either:

Amazon, the US retail giant, has revealed its lost nearly $500m in the past three months, the largest amount in its history.

Shares in the company dropped 11pc in after-hours trading, wiping more than $15bn off the value of the company. The company increased sales by a fifth to $20.58bn in the three months to October, but it plunged $437m into the red as it spent heavily on new projects. That figure is more than 10 times the $41m loss Amazon reported in the same period a year earlier.

We’re generally told that the solution to the way that Amazon dodges UK tax is to adopt something called “unitary taxation”. This means that we entirely ignore all the various dodges and loopholes they use internally. We simply look at their sales around the world, the profit they make around the world, and say that if 10% of sales are in one country then so are 10% of profits. A reasonable enough system you might think.

But look at what happens here when we talk about Amazon: exactly the company that the tax campaigners have been saying this rule should be applied to.

The UK is about 10% of Amazon’s sales. So, therefore, 10% of Amazon’s profits (or losses) must be applied to the UK. So, in the last 3 months Amazon has, under this system, lost $50 million in the UK. And companies that lose money in the UK do not pay profit tax in the UK.

So, Hodge and those campaigners, all of whom are screaming for Amazon to pay more tax, are really arguing that amazon shouldn’t be paying any tax at all. Rather sweet of them really, isn’t it?

Posted: 26th, October 2014 | In: Money | Comment


It’s EU, Stupid: Apple And Amazon Get Stung By Osborne In The Budget

THAT’S what the newspapers are reporting this morning, that Osborne has stung the big internet companies like Amazon and Apple by changing the rules on VAT rates. Although it’s not actually Osborne who has done this, it’s the EU:

Multinational companies such as Amazon and Apple will be forced to add VAT to all UK downloads including music, film, smartphone games and e-books from January 2015 in a move that may drive up the cost of music tracks from 99p to £1.19.

The move forms part of the Government‚Äôs ‚Äúinternational efforts to develop tough, new global tax rules,‚ÄĚ George Osborne said in his Budget address last week. From next year, download services will be subject to VAT in the country where the consumer is located.

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the change will attract an extra £300m in VAT revenues in the first year.

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Posted: 24th, March 2014 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment


How can we tax Amazon’s Profits if Amazon doesn’t make any profits?

File photo dated 26/04/13 of the Amazon logo on a package as the online retail giant has broken advertising regulations with a description of a book promoting a vaccination-free childhood, the regulator has ruled.

YOU’LL have seen all the furore about how Amazon are such bastards for not paying any taxes on their vast profits made by selling us stuff for cheap. You know, there’s shouts from the supermarkets that there should be a special, extra, tax on those who sell online. About how appalling it is that Amazon has all these warehouses here and yet sells to us from Luxembourg: thus paying no UK tax.

They’re even talking about completely changing the international tax system just to make sure that amazon does indeed pay taxes in the UK. And Germany, France…..there’s only really one basic problem with this idea:

The company reported a net loss of $7m (£4.5m) in the quarter to June 30, compared with a profit of $7m a year earlier, as revenues grew to $15.7bn. The world’s largest online retailer has been spending heavily on order fulfilment and digital content rights, which continue to weigh on margins.

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Posted: 7th, August 2013 | In: Money | Comments (2)


Competition from Sony forces Microsoft U-Turns on the Xbox One ‘authorisation’ rip off

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR MICROSOFT - E3 2013 attendees interact with newly announced games and experiences for Xbox One at Microsoft’s booth at E3 2013 in Los Angeles on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Microsoft/AP Images)

MICROSOFT has just done a complete u-turn on the terms and conditions under which their new Xbox One will operate. They had been proposing that used games would require “authorisation” to move from one box to another. Obviously, so that hands could be held out for a fee to facilitate this authorisation.

The machine had to dial in over the internet every day for any games at all to keep working. And finally there would be region blocking on games: no buying your stuff cheap off Amazon US and then playing it in more expensive Europe for example.

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Posted: 20th, June 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


So this has been Amazon’s plan all along, eh? France gets it wrong, as ever

WHAT is Amazon’s big plan? We know now:

France‚Äôs culture minister has attacked Amazon, the online retailer, for deliberately undercutting traditional rivals to create a ‚Äúquasi-monopoly‚ÄĚ, in the latest assault by the socialist government on internet companies.

‚ÄúToday, everyone has had enough of Amazon which, through dumping practices, smashes prices to penetrate markets to then raise prices again once they are in a situation of quasi-monopoly,‚ÄĚ said Aur√©lie Filippetti, the culture minister.

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Posted: 4th, June 2013 | In: Money | Comment


Those tax dodging swine at Amazon!

GRRR! Amazon! Coming over here, making vast sales, and not a penny of tax do we see out of them. Or something like that. You know, all they’re doing is providing people with what they want, cheap, and where’s the public value in that?

Unfortunately the Guardian seems to be running their corporate tax pieces on boilerplate language these days. For they tell us that Amazon doesn’t pay tax because:

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Posted: 8th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment


Bargain of the year: save £7,119,520.01 on camera equipment

BARGAN of the year:  Sigma EX РWide-angle lens Р24 mm Рf/1.8 DG РMinolta A-type:

RRP: £7,120,000.00
Price: £479.99
You Save: £7,119,520.01 (100%)

If you can see it, it’s yours.

Spotter: Winker

Posted: 6th, January 2013 | In: The Consumer | Comment (1)


Your Kindle books, iTune songs and online videos are worthless

I’M sure we’ve all done the trudge down to the second hand bookshop when the shelves get overloaded. Get back 50 p a copy for the old paperbacks sorta stuff. Or the equivalent at the CD shop, even bundled up the stuff and gone to a car boot sale.

The big question in this modern digital age is whether we’re going to be able to do the same with out Kindle books, online videos and MP3 music files.

The short answer is: No.

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Posted: 8th, November 2012 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comments (3)


Amazon’s about to get more expensive

THE EU has finally woken up to that despicable little bit of tax dodging:

Amazon is to be stripped of its huge tax advantage on the sales of electronic books after the European commission ordered Luxembourg to close a VAT loophole.

Amazon is registered as a Luxembourg company and pays that country’s VAT charge of 3% when it sells an ebook to a British reader, rather than the 20% it would have to charge if it were UK-based.
….
The European commission ‚Äď which oversees European Union law as the EU’s executive arm ‚Äď on Wednesday gave Luxembourg 30 days to increase its VAT rate on digital services from 3% to 15%. This will close a tax loophole that has encouraged companies such as Amazon, Skype and Netflix to be based in Luxembourg to benefit from the 3% rate when selling throughout the EU.

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Posted: 25th, October 2012 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment (1)


Amazon reviews for the Avery Durable View Binder with 2 Inch EZ-Turn Ring, White, 1 Binder

THESE reviews for the Avery Durable View Binder with 2 Inch EZ-Turn Ring, White, 1 Binder (17032) are informative. They are in response to¬†Mitt Romney saying he has “binders full of women”, received while Governor of Massachusetts.

By Bazinga

As a woman, I’m not adept at making decisions that concern me. So when I need the right choice, I turn to the presidential candidate that KNOWS. One with prideful experience in this department. I don’t want to be filed away in an inferior & confusing electronic doohickey that I couldn’t possibly understand. Or heaven forbid, have a man ask for & listen to my ideas! I’d much rather rely on this top of the line, 1980s style, Avery Durable binder. It’s the choice America can trust. My education, my ideas, my opinions, my choices, please PLEASE keep them safely stored away here and far away from the men that might fear them (I mean, want to use them to hire me somedaynever). I’d write more about this most useful product, but it’s time I hurry home to make dinner.

Posted: 18th, October 2012 | In: The Consumer | Comment


The Amazon car seat desk is the ideal way to kill cyclists

AMAZON product of the day: Car Seat Desk – Auto Exec mDesk Mobile Office Work Station. The pictures should have someone in Richmond ordering at least one:

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Posted: 12th, September 2012 | In: The Consumer | Comment


The Bic Pen Just For Women – the funniest reviews

THE Bic Cristal Biro for her – ‚ÄúEasy Glide — feel the smoothness‚ÄĚ – is the pen that keeps on giving. On Amazon, reviews have been enlightening:

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Posted: 28th, August 2012 | In: Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment


For sale on Amazon: unhappy customer reviews Uranium Ore

FOR Sale on Amazon: Uranium Ore:

Radioactive sample of uranium ore. Useful for testing Geiger Counters. License exempt. Uranium ore sample sizes vary. Shipped in labeled metal container as shown. Shipping Information: We are always in compliance with Section 13 from part 40 of the NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules and regulations and Postal Service regulations specified in 49 CFR 173.421 for activity limits of low level radioactive materials. Item will be shipped in accordance with Postal Service activity limits specified in Publication 52. Radioactive minerals are for educational and scientific use only.

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Posted: 16th, August 2012 | In: The Consumer | Comment


Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, eBay: are all tax dodging scumbags

FACEBOOK, Google, Apple, Amazon and eBay are all tax dodging scumbags. At least this is what the Daily Mail would have you believe, that the big five internet firms, Facebook, Google, Amazon, eBay and Apple are all tax dodging bastards:

Figures from the companies’ American filings suggest that the five made revenue of £12.2billion in Britain in 2010 from British consumers and advertisers.

On the basis of their global profit margins for the year, that would mean profits for the five from sales to British customers would have amounted to almost £2.5billion. Corporation tax at 28 per cent would have seen them pay £685million.Instead, subsidiaries established by the five in Britain paid just over £19million in 2010, or 0.8 per cent.

The problem with this is that it’s all entirely bollocks: because we’re in the European Union.

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Posted: 16th, April 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)


Amazon doesn’t pay any tax schocker!

THE usual suspects have got all outraged at the fact that Amazon doesn’t seem to pay very much tax in the UK:

Amazon.co.uk, Britain’s biggest online retailer, generated sales of more than ¬£3.3bn in the country last year but paid no corporation tax on any of the profits from that income ‚Äď and is under investigation by the UK tax authorities.

Regulatory filings by parent company Amazon.com with the US securities and exchange commission (SEC) show the tax inquiry into the UK operation, which sells nearly one in four books sold in Britain, focuses on a period when ownership of the British business was transferred to a Luxembourg company.

Well, yes, the clue is in tat last part there, it’sd not a UK company so of course it doesn’t pay corporation tax in the UK. It’s a Luxembourg company and so it pays tax in Luxembourg. This is all part of the great EU project. You pays your corporation tax where your company is, where the head office is, and then you can sell anywahere in the EU. To change that you’d have to change the basic design of the EU.

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Posted: 5th, April 2012 | In: Money | Comment


The Amazon Kiva robot in action – video

WHEN Amazon bought robot-making company¬†Kiva for $775m¬†¬†we wanted to see how the things worked. It’s brilliant. If the robots could read the books and then implant the knowledge straight into the human brian, more time would be saved…

Spotter: interesting

Posted: 30th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment


Amazon’s 55-gallon drum of sex lube endorsed by Facebook users

WHO wants a 55-gallon drum of sex lube for sale on Amazon for under $1,500 (includes pump!)? Prince Harry? Saudi Arabia? Nick Bergus found the vat of lube for sale and posted a linked to it on his Facebook page. Problem was that his post became sponsored. This meant  Bergus became the face for a massive lake of sex lube. As he says:

A week later, a friend posts a screen capture and tells me that my post has been showing up next to his news feed as a sponsored story, meaning Amazon is paying Facebook to highlight my link to a giant tub of personal lubricant.

Other people start reporting that they’re seeing it, too. A fellow roller derby referee. A former employee of a magazine I still write for. My co-worker’s wife. They’re not seeing just once, but regularly. Said one friend: “It has shown up as one on mine every single time I log in.”

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Posted: 4th, March 2012 | In: The Consumer | Comment


London Riots: Baseball Bat Sales Booming On Amazon

THE London Riots are a press release. Amazon reports that sales of baseball bats are brisk. The Rucanor Aluminium Baseball Bat, Silver – 60 cm tops the list of “movers and shakers” – the biggest selling sports goods in the past 24 hours. Indeed, the top six selling spotting goods in the UK in the past 24 hours are all baseball bats. They’ve never had it so good‚Ķ

Ps – the seventh top selling item is a tent – for the poor sods whose homes have been destroyed by freedom fighters like these (you must listen to this).

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Posted: 9th, August 2011 | In: The Consumer | Comment (1)


Amazon Sells ‘Pedo’ Book: Our Gardens Of Flesh: From the Seeds of Lust Springs The Harvest Of Love

THE Pedophile (Paedophile) training manual is no longer being sold on Amazon. But you can buy the same author’s¬†Our Gardens of Flesh: From the Seeds of Lust Springs the Harvest of Love at the online store. It’s $5.51. All profits got to shareholders.

Meanwhile, The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct is a big media talking point.

The tome’s author is Philip R. Greaves, 47. He’s¬†a former nurse’s aide from Pueblo, Colorado.

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Posted: 11th, November 2010 | In: The Consumer | Comment


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