In late 2012 a Dutch court ruled that iPads were not phones and that angered broadcaster RTL Nederland because that meant they would owe back taxes to the tune of 323,687 euro on 664 iPads with Vodafone subscriptions given to their employees for Christmas.
RTL appealed the ruling at the time, and yesterday a higher court overturned the decision and ruled that not only are iPads not phones, they are also not computers: they are “means of communication.” The clincher is that the law also prescribes categories of devices that are applicable to be taxed, including “phones, Internet and such communication devices.”
The iPad is a fancy tin can with a string attached to it that is not primarily used to do all your work on, giving RTL a reason to pop open some champers.
Two guys from Utrecht, Rami Ismail (25) and Jan Willem Nijman (23), created the game app for iPhone and iPad Ridiculous Fishing that has been chosen as Game of the Year 2013 by Apple. The game was based on a film they saw about overfishing tuna. The main goal is to avoid catching fish on your line. If you do catch some fish, then you have to reel them all in and eventually you get to shoot them in the air.
They had months of struggling with other game studios copying and remaking their originally free game, but after eating noodles for four months and going for gold, Ridiculous Fishing took off and both guys are now rich, making 12,000 euro a week, and sometimes 30,000 to 50,000 euro a week. The game costs 2,69, it is selling like hotcakes and there will be an Android version one of these days.
Why would you want to ask a court whether an Apple iPad is a phone or a general computer? Well, if computers given as a Christmas bonus are considered income and phones are not, you might have an incentive, especially if the back taxes amount to 323,687 euro.
Broadcaster RTL Nederland gave 664 of its employees an iPad in 2010, including a Vodafone 3G subscription. The law says that something supplied by one’s employer does not count as income if this something is intended “to prevent costs, expenses or depreciations needed for a correct execution of one’s employment”, Arnoud Engelfriet reports.
The law also prescribes categories of devices that are applicable, including “phones, Internet and such communication devices, but not computers, nor similar devices or peripherals”.
RTL Nederland sued the Dutch tax office and the question before the court became whether these iPads were mainly computers or mainly communication devices. The court ruled on 30 November that “considering the format of the iPad (the version the claimants provided has a 9.7 inch screen diagonal) verbal communication should not be seen as the central function of the iPad.”
RTL Nederland will appeal the decision. “We are a media company,” a spokesperson told Webwereld. “We work with those iPads, they are part of our daily business.”
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ was his motto, and so until recently he still used WordPerfect on an old, perfectly functioning MS DOS computer that was not troubled by virusses. “Why would I say goodbye to such a dear friend?” he asked the camera crew of consumer watchdog Consumentenbond. But then the Apple iPad came along, and the second stage of his philosophy kicked in: if something truly better comes along, why hold yourself back? And so Mr Strubbe bought an iPad.
Earlier this year Consumentenbond visited Mr Strubbe again to give a hands-on review of the iPad 2, and he seems to have liked it:
Hot on the heels of the announcement of Apple’s latest toy comes this wooden cover for the iPad 2 by Dutch manufacturer Miniot. It works like Apple’s own Smart Cover, as it uses magnets that attach to the tablet, and the cover can be rolled up to function as a stand.
The Schagen, Noord Holland based company sells them or 50 euro or more. There’s a video that shows you how it works.
Consumer watch dog Consumentenbond interviews people that have ‘golden oldies’, devices that despite their age still function beautifully.
Mister Strubbe is still using an ancient PC with MS-DOS and Wordperfect 5.1 installed, which never causes him problems with hackers, which has no viruses, never breaks down, always works. But has Steve Jobs finally been able to convince him to make the switch? You’ll have to watch the video to find out.