12 May, 2016
For the company that started out with the motto “Don’t be evil”, Google has come a long way. Its name is now synonymous with tax avoidance. Like all the Silicon Valley tech giants, Google got away with a great deal by affecting a modish, neo-nerdy sense of techno-cool.
For years this helped divert attention from the fact that Google, like Apple, Facebook and Twitter, are profit-maximising joint stock corporations like any other. Even Rupert Murdoch, whose firms are not noted for the enthusiasm with which they pay tax, expressed frustration that they seemed to enjoy special treatment. The News Corp chairman complained that “politicians [are] easily awed by Valley ambassadors like Google chairman” Eric Schmidt.
That time has passed.