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Google Is Spending Half a Billion Dollars To Curry Europe's Favor (cnet.com) 72

An anonymous reader writes: Google has ratchet up its investment in European goodwill, aiming to spend about $450 million from 2015 to 2017 as EU regulators narrow their gaze on the search giant, according to a report by the New York Times. The company is pouring money into wide-ranging sponsorships, like an exhibition at a Belgian museum incorporating virtual reality, a fund to help European news publishers amp up their web savvy, a digital training course for Irish teachers, and YouTube-backed concerts, according to the report.
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Google Is Spending Half a Billion Dollars To Curry Europe's Favor

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  • They spend 500 million bribing people to like them?

    • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @11:28AM (#52540855)

      They spend 500 million bribing people to like them?

      One assumes they must be worried about be hit much harder, were they to be made to pay taxes in proportion to their earnings.

    • The people who are pissed off by Google in Europe are these astroturfers [openinternetproject.net]. They are trying to protect their stranglehold on European media and public opinion, plus the politicians they have in their pockets.

    • Google is an American company anything they do will piss them off. Just as an European or Asian company will piss off the US if they are more successful than a US company.
      The political instinct when you are getting beaten is to say the other guy is cheating thus try to put rules in place to make the game more fair. Even if the reason why their success is just because they are better than the competition.
      This 500 million dollars is just showing while Google may win, it is being a good sport about it.

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        Sure, they don't go after EU companies, right? Think again.
        If they do not want to play by the EU rules, they can piss off.

        Or do European companies not need to follow the US rules when they operate their? I am sure AB InBev would be delighted to follow the European standard and start selling beer to 16 year olds. Or perhaps you think that you are OK with some SAB Miller beers, think again, they are being bought by AB InBev.

        Fun part of the AB part of the name. The Americans were so vein that they absolutely w

      • by Anonymous Coward

        European truck manufacturers together having the bulk of the European market just received fines of in total almost €3B in total for forming a cartel. That was not because they are American companies, because they aren't, they're European. It's because that didn't play by the rules. Don't assume American companies are being treated differently from European companies, those get huge fines when they break the rules too.

        And personally I don't see the $5M from Google as being a good sport, I see it as a b

        • They're basically playing a card from the Microsoft and Intel book and seeing if it sticks. I also hope it doesn't but you know what. The politicians have probably been or will be bribed soon as well so it won't matter.

          Apple and Amazon are more egregious examples of this tax-evasion and so far they have done squat.

    • It's still way better than the US, where instead of public works companies donate directly to the Clinton Slush Fund.
    • They spend 500 million bribing people to like them?

      You assume the whole business of the EU Commission being in a dither wasn't a shakedown to start.

    • Business taxes are a huge red herring. Most businesses pay the largest amount of their money out in wages; even when they don't, they end up paying much of their money out to other businesses, which pay wages, and so forth. These wages aren't just tax revenue; they pay money directly to workers, who then go on to buy things, creating demand and other jobs.

      Most businesses keep about 5-10% profits. Most businesses pay over a third of their income as wages, and often over 50% in the service industry. In

  • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @11:34AM (#52540905)

    Of course Google should never give their own money to filthy liberal Europeans; those savages probably aren't even circumcised!

    Saints Reagan and Rand are rolling in their blessed graves.


    President Trump will fix all this, you betcha.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @11:47AM (#52541003) Homepage
    I'm an unfortunate fan of dodgy vindaloo, so let me offer a bit of advice to Googles half-billion dollar order of curry.
    1. If it comes with naan, eat it. that will usually buy you 5-10 minutes on the train ride home...
    2. Ignore your doubts, if the kitchen sounds like world war 3, and the chef looks like a war refugee, that currys going to be epic.
    3. pay attention to your doubts. if the bollywood music playing in the shop sounds clear, and theres less than an inch of dust on the sexually suggestive ethnic portraits, that curry is going to need a diaper with it.
    4. pick routes with lots of pubs. sure, that curry shop might only be 3 blocks from your house, but stumbling dazed from toilet to toilet on the way home is common. The barman always knows dehli belly when he sees it.
    5. If you've eaten kebab for lunch, and follow it up with curry for dinner, make sure your 4:00 tea includes a last will and testament.
  • by mfh ( 56 )

    Google is soon going to realize how giving them money will result in them wanting more money. They should just pay their taxes and leave it at that. Europe isn't going to ease off on Google. They are a cash cow and Europe is hungry for cash.

    • by pla ( 258480 )
      Google, and all the other companies we keep bitching about, do pay their taxes. They just don't pay more than the law requires them to.

      Do you pay more in taxes than you need to? Do you skip itemizing your mortgage interest because you consider it an unfair advantage over renters? Do you keep your retirement savings in a taxable taxable brokerage account rather than "dodging" your fair share of capital gains tax with one of those evil 401k "tax shelters"?

      Same deal here. Google, Apple, et al have done
      • by swb ( 14022 )

        If this was a movie, Google would be the hapless businessman with a gambling habit arguing with the mafioso about the vig.

        "But I paid the vig we talked about last week, every dollar."

        "Yeah, but you know, this is this week and we want something extra."

        "I'm only paying what we agreed on."

        "Yeah, that business you own might have some problems. Think of this as extra protection against business problems. It comes along with the sports book."

        • Riiight, because how dare a rich corporation pay more taxes as a percentage than the guy that cleans their toilets! The horror, why if they can't use scams like double dutch and Irish whip so they can pay less of a percentage than the peasants, then what is the point of being rich and powerful?
      • by mfh ( 56 )

        The companies in question have all failed to pay their taxes according to EU standards [independent.co.uk]. EU won't allow American multinationals to operate tax free. Sorry, there are no free rides.

        • by pla ( 258480 )
          That link doesn't support your claim. The single strongest claim in that article says "Google pays taxes in Ireland, where it is charged at a lower rate than in France" - Not exactly a smoking gun, just France behaving in its usual petulantly xenophobic way over the horrible, horrible unfairness that any non-French company dare to exist.
  • Just wondering if that's more than or less than the money used to bribe, I mean make campaign donations to, politicians in the USA.

    If it's less then Google may well see that as a bargain.

    Of course plummeting Sterling means that UK politicians are going to be cheaper than most at the moment but it's a pretty small market that now comes with zero European influence, so that's unlikely to be money well spent.

  • What a waste of money.

    Nobody cares for goodwill gestures that don't end up anywhere useful.

      How about just paying your fair share?

  • Google applies 500 million in curry to the EU just as the UK votes for Brexit.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @01:31PM (#52541905) Journal
    Seriously, the west, if not the world, needs to get its act together and figure out taxes amongst the nations. It is silly that nations like Ireland are playing games with taxes so as to bring corporate HQs there, and ignore what is really going on.
    At the same time, the west need to start taxing goods that go across borders. It is amazing to me that our GOP fight this, even though it would level the playing field.
  • ...completely unnecessary.

  • That's a heck of a lot of Vindaloo !

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs