Apple's reputation intact after negative tax avoidance press

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A report calls Apple's reputation "Teflon," referring to recent revelations of the company's tax practices and finds that public opinion went mostly unchanged when the story broke a week ago.

U.K.-based YouGov's BrandIndex, a daily brand perception tracker, found that when compared to a similar tax "scandal" involving GE, Apple faired very well and saw almost no decline in public reputation.

The online survey, which asks a panel of 2.5 million worldwide respondents about various brand issues, compared the fallout from the New York Times story regarding Apple's "diverted taxes" with another piece from the same paper involving GE's "zero tax bill." The exact number of respondents that participated in this particular study was not reported.

When survey respondents were asked the question, "Would you be proud or embarrassed to work for this brand?" Apple's "Reputation Score" went up from 52 to 58 a few days following the NYT article before eventually leveling out at its current 51. In comparison, when it was reported that GE made $14.2 billion in profits in 2010 but wasn't required to pay taxes and instead claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, the company's score dropped severely. It took GE two months to bounce back to a score of 33 after falling to 23 a day after the story ran, followed by a bottom of 14 a week later. The survey measurements range from a score of 100 to -100.

Source: YouGov

Apple's tax practices made headlines when it was revealed that the world's most valuable tech company diverts parts of its international revenue stream to allegedly avoid paying high U.S. state taxes. According to the Times, Apple pays a 9.8 percent tax rate, though that number has been disputed.


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