Apple defended its Irish tax-minimising operation using a classic photo of Steve Jobs

The European Commission ruled on Tuesday that Apple received a sweetheart deal from Ireland. Ireland will be forced to claw back about $14.5 billion in unpaid taxes from Apple.

Apple doesn’t like this decision at all and published a letter from current CEO Tim Cook protesting it. Included in that letter is a vintage photograph of Steve Jobs visiting Cork, Ireland, in 1980.

This photo is critical to Apple’s argument. Apple says that it’s not using Ireland as a mere tax haven backed by a 1991 tax opinion — Apple says it has real roots in the country, including manufacturing, and it currently employs 6,000 people in the country. (Apple employs over 100,000 people worldwide.)

To bolster this argument, Apple dug into the archives, and found a 36-year old picture of Steve Jobs visiting Cork, Ireland.

Cook writes:

In October 1980, Apple opened a factory in Cork, Ireland with 60 employees.

At the time, Cork was suffering from high unemployment and extremely low economic investment. But Apple’s leaders saw a community rich with talent, and one they believed could accommodate growth if the company was fortunate enough to succeed.

We have operated continuously in Cork ever since, even through periods of uncertainty about our own business, and today we employ nearly 6,000 people across Ireland. The vast majority are still in Cork — including some of the very first employees — now performing a wide variety of functions as part of Apple’s global footprint.

Here’s Apple’s complete response to the recent EU decision.

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