According to Alex Eule and Jon Swartz of Barron’s, Apple became the largest public company in the world the old-fashioned way: charging lots of consumers lots of money. So it’s not surprising that its CEO, Tim Cook, would chafe as Facebook grew to challenge Apple’s supremacy without charging its users a dime.
In recent weeks, that tension has grown, as Cook and Apple (ticker: AAPL) sought to distance themselves from Facebook (FB) and the uproar over user data. In a television interview, Cook, hardly a rabble-rouser, accused Facebook of building a business based on an “invasion of privacy.”
“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer—if our customer was our product,” Cook told MSNBC. “We’ve elected not to do that.”
Added Cook: “We’ve never believed that these detailed profiles of people, that have incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources, should exist.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who proved his composure during two days of congressional grilling, was less patient when it came to Cook’s criticism. We’re “not just serving rich people…you need to have something that people can afford,” Zuckerberg said about Apple. He called Cook’s comments “extremely glib and not at all aligned with the truth.”
Welcome to tech’s great divide. For several years now, investors have talked about FANG—Facebook, Amazon.com (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL)—or FAANG (adding Apple) as a unified trade, a way to play the latest tech trends.
The companies are all similar in that they use technology in disruptive ways, but investors have generally overlooked substantial differences in their business models. As changes loom, ignoring those differences is a risky bet.
How does your income stack up with other taxpayers? Comparing returns and income levels
Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool
Another tax season has ended, and unless you’ve had to ask for an extension to get some more time to file your final return, you can take a well-earned break from thinking about your taxes for at least a little while. Yet one thing that inevitably comes up when you’re adding up all your income and deductions to come up with how much tax you’ll owe — or how big your refund will be — is how your income compares to what your peers make.
It’s too early for the IRS to know what everyone reported on the tax returns that they’ve just filed, but information from 2016 tax returns is already available. The chart above indicates the number of tax returns in each income bracket shown, along with the total amount of income tax after credits that those taxpayers had to pay.
Out of about 150 million returns, more than 30% have adjusted gross incomes of less than $20,000. As you’d expect, those returns pay relatively little in tax — just $6.6 billion, for an average of less than $150 per return. About 60% of taxpayers have adjusted gross income of less than $50,000, while only 1-in-6 makes $100,000 or more. As income levels rise, the amount of tax goes up dramatically. Taxpayers reporting more than $250,000 in adjusted gross income make up less than 3% of returns, but they paid more than half of all taxes during the year.
Those numbers are consistent with a progressive tax system, although they also lend support to the inequality of income distribution among U.S. taxpayers. As you reflect on your recently filed tax returns, keep these numbers in mind as you figure out where on the income spectrum you fall.
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