GOOGLE'S CHAIRMAN Eric Schmidt has reacted to questions about his firm and its attitude to paying high levels of tax in the UK with defiance.
Schmidt said that his company is only doing what it is allowed to do, and said that he is proud of its efforts. In the week that Google was accused of moving $9.8bn in revenue to Bermuda in order to avoid paying $2bn in US taxes, Schmidt said that Google pays plenty of tax.
"We pay lots of taxes; we pay them in the legally prescribed ways," he said. "I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate," he said in an interview with Bloomberg. "It's called capitalism," he said. "We are proudly capitalistic. I'm not confused about this."
In August it was reported that Google would pay only £6m in taxes on profits of £395m in the UK. Then, as now, Schmidt said that he was sure the firm was in the right.
"There are lots of benefits to [being in Britain]. It's very good for us, but to go back to shareholders and say, 'We looked at 200 countries but felt sorry for those British people so we want to [pay them more]', there is probably some law against doing that," he said.
Schmidt was speaking to Bloomberg in New York and was bullish about Android, too. "This is a huge platform change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago - Microsoft versus Apple," he said. "We're winning that war pretty clearly now."
Schmidt also compared Google+, with 100 million users, against Facebook, with one billion users, saying that Google's social network is "a viable competitor". µ