iGF Shorts 2.0

Yes, We Pay Our Taxes.

In an age when some of the country’s richest people pay little or no tax, Stoke-on-Trent’s finest, Denise Coates, 54, the queen of British gaming and Head of Bet365, is the UK’s biggest taxpayer, chipping-in a cool £481.7 million to the national exchequer last year, down from £573 million in 2020.

Coming in at number five in the tax hall-of-famers list are Betfred brothers, Fred and Peter Done, who happily contributed around £170 million to national coffers.

Now, who said the gambling industry is only for scammers and money launderers?

Apple’s Lucky 13

Thanks in great part to the US State Department’s emasculation of Huawei Technologies; Apple has regained its number one spot as the essential smartphone in the all-important China market.

The iPhone 13 recorded US$25.8 billion in China revenue in Q4, 2021, ending December, up 21 per cent; while Huawei’s home market share, because of its inability to buy chips and use American software, crashed from 23 to seven per cent.

“Our products are resonating,” said Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, in triumphant understatement.

Hot Bricks and Mortar

Newly-minted crypto-billionaires and crypto-millionaires are turning their massive virtual earnings into real-world houses, report real estate agents in property hotspots like Manhattan, Miami and Bel Air.

So, it seems, they’re not so different from us mere mortals after all.

Crypto investors are outbidding traditional high rollers from Wall Street and monied families with property buys from US$25 million for a New York pad to US$133 million for an LA mansion.

At the end of the day nothing feels like feeling something real.

Falling Rockstar

British software developer Mike Lynch–who was once compared to the late Steve Jobs–has lost a multimillion-pound civil fraud claim by Hewlett Packard (HP) over the American company’s US$11 billion purchase of his data-crunching Autonomy in 2011.

Lynch “fraudulently” inflated Autonomy’s revenue “to meet market expectations”, ruled the High Court in London. British Home Secretary Priti Patel has now ordered his extradition to the US.

HP is claiming US$5 billion in damages.

Wild Swings and Roundabouts

By some readings, Facebook’s bid to conquer the Metaverse has suffered a setback with the demise of Diem, aka Libra, its alternative cryptocurrency financial project.

FB decided to shut down Diem because of internal conflict and regulatory opposition in Washington DC.

Opponents voiced fears over potential consumer protection and money laundering risks.

But under the Silicon Valley exigency of “if you’re going to fail, then fail fast” Diem could be considered a success.

Spin it any way you like.

Pulling Power

Streaming superpower Spotify has been admonished by music legends Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, who have withdrawn their music from the site because of the prominence given to Covid-denying podcaster Joe Rogan (Who he?) on the platform.

“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives”, Joni, Joni, Joni posted on her own website in reference to Rogan, who has an exclusive US$100 million broadcast deal with Spotify.

“I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue,” she wrote.

Shutting the Golden Gate Behind Them

Rampant crime, fuelled by an epidemic of poverty—in 2020 drug overdoses outnumbered Covid deaths by almost double—have made San Francisco distinctly uncool — and supercharged the decentralisation of American tech.

Start-ups, computer geeks and venture capitalists are abandoning the City-by-the-Bay, and Silicon Valley, and relocating to Manhattan’s so-called Silicon Alley, Miami and, most favourite of all, low-tax Austin, Texas.

Sony Puts Some Skin Back in the Game

Sony Corp., whose shares tumbled last month when rivals Microsoft took a leap into the Metaverse by buying Activision Blizzard for US$68.7 billion, has responded by purchasing game company Bungie.

The cost? A relatively modest US$3.6 billion.

But it maintains Sony as the second biggest gaming company in the Metaverse, behind Tencent.

And Finally Back to Tax

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak faced a good slapping for having the temerity to loan online betting exchange BetConnect almost £2 million under the Covid-19 pandemic business help scheme.

Now imagine the response if BetConnect grew to rival Bet365.

I’d wager the sound of silent applause would be deafening.

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