“The day that Apple bought Greece” : a fiction on the war chest of Cupertino

We find more and more books devoted to Apple as a company or its key characters. Steve Jobs, Tim Cook or Jony Ive have the right to their biography, the more or less well done by the way. That holds the forbidden fruit from Cupertino ? The authors are often broken teeth on the subject. Not only, the task is arduous, but the main characters are not the kind of very talkative.

When we got wind of the release of the book on The day that Apple bought Greece, we were rather suspicious. Instead of trying to write the truth about Apple, Jean-Cédric Michel had the idea of making a work of fiction. Since one does not know large-thing, as many imagine ! And it is in the end a small success.

Without too much disclose the contents of the book, The day that Apple bought Greece is interested in the great war treasure of Apple, which is beyond recall-the gaily $ 200 billion, an amount close to the debt of Greece. This is the starting point of this thriller politico-financial, where the Gully Samoza, a young advisor to Tim Cook, will try to convince the latter to enter Apple into a new dimension.

Waiting to see if the GAFA will eventually take control of some countries, we have asked a few questions to Jean-Cédric Michel, a lover of Apple, avocado geneva specialist in international relations… and writer in his spare time.

MacGeneration : How does one carry out a fiction that may appear as plausible, with a society that practice has always been the culture of secrecy ?

Jean-Cédric Michel : I had several sources of inspiration. First, a good knowledge of Apple and what the analysts, techs, or financial, have to say, as well as the rare biographies and testimonies, and then the substantive articles in newspapers and magazines. Even if Apple is grown in secret on what is internal, it has all the same tracks. Then, by my profession, a good knowledge of the world corporate, its operation, its ” codes “. This provides the basis for imagining what might be the reactions, internal, institutional, dialogues in the face of such a project.

But as it is fiction, it is still assumed, with a part of the dream, of fantasy, and probably relatively close to what would be this reality, the actions of financiers, engineers, politicians such as Al Gore when he speaks as a director of Apple.

The mountain of cash Apple is subject to all the fantasies. The proof is that we even ended up making them into a book. How the idea has come to you, exactly ? There is an item that also is well discussed in the book, this is how this type of figures as well as the course of the stock market is scrutinized daily. In your book, finally, we come to see this pool of cash as a chance, but isn’t it a poison of some sort or an anaesthetic ?

This is a vast topic ! This reserve is an anomaly unprecedented in the history of capitalism. As the mother of Gully reminds him when he talks about the social role that could take a giant like Apple, it responds, as a good professor of economics, that the only thing Apple should do is distribute them as a dividend. Adding that she knows that this is not the response he expected…

The course is scrutinized on a daily basis by everyone. This is the essence of the stock market. It is for this reason that it is one of the red threads of the book, always there, always watermark. Haunting as it is… in reality. Poison, anesthetic… fiction, it is precisely to imagine a GAFA can make today different with such financial power, to provoke this question and the debate.

It’s been a long time that the players in the high-tech left their small meadow for interfering in almost every imaginable field. With the Apple Watch, Apple is approaching the health care and insurance. And it is only at the beginning ! Your idea goes further. Apple is attacking the foundations of our democracies : the collection of the tax. While the GAFA are often presented as being more powerful than States, can we expect that they take an active role in the functioning of these ?

I am confident that they are going to attempt to take on such a role, in the health, education, transport, etc .. They have started and become multidisciplinary. Apple no longer sells only computers and phones, but services. Tomorrow, I’m betting that Apple will also be a bank, and the banks know this and tremble at this idea. It is in human nature, and this is not necessarily bad if this progress is useful and controlled.

The real test will be whether States, the mechanisms of democracy, will be able to control it. Capitalism sells the progress, which is good, but it does, in principle, primarily in its own interest, to make a profit. The State, democracy, it is that which defends, in principle, also, the general interest in the face of particular interest. The boundaries between the two are likely to change. But that democracy continues to control the capital is the real issue at stake in the face of the giants of a size never before seen. It is battery the question posed in this novel.

Finally, one of the main goals of the book, it is referring to an idea that meets a certain echo in Switzerland : the microtaxe on the financial flows, which would replace all taxes. We could talk about the strike that the implementation of such a tax could raise at Bercy, but what is ” fun ” to note is that Apple is the champion of the tax : the microtaxe (with its commission charged on each payment Apple Pay) to the macro-tax (30 % commission on sales on the App Store). Where is this idea in Switzerland ? Is it that the implementation of such a tax would not be also the best way to put an end to the problems of taxation of the GAFA ?

Yes, it is another key topic of the book. Taxation has become outdated, too heavy, unfair, too complex. There is cheating, the legal uncertainty. The digitization of everything that touches the economy offers, as in almost all other sectors, the possibility to automate the tax. It is a chance. And the human and financial resources that will be most affected, to declare, to perceive, to control, if they are assigned to the sustainable development or the science of the human, this will not be a wrong !

The problem is that to this day, taxes on inflows have always been perceived as coming from “more” on certain sectors for the puncture or correct the effects. With the initiative, which develops in Switzerland, the idea is to eventually replace all taxes in common, by a micro-tax on all financial flows. It is efficient, transparent and sustainable.

Steve Jobs and the team of the Macintosh in 1984.

There is a paradoxical aspect in your book on Apple and the manner in which you see Tim Cook. ” It is better to be a pirate than to join in the Navy,”said Steve Jobs at the time of the management of the Macintosh. At the time, the famous flag pirate sat in the office of the team in charge of the Macintosh. The Apple of Tim Cook has without doubt lost that will to shake up the established order, and it is precisely this that animates your character Gully Samoza. He has a rebellious side, that Apple has lost a little, no ?

Yes, of course, it is totally fair ! Tim Cook has succeeded, which was very delicate, the successor to Steve Jobs. To bring Apple to the next stage, it should probably be less “pirate” than Steve, but that’s what this novel comes tickle : pushing Tim to engage in an idea prima facie absurd, but innovative, disruptrice. Gully picnic Tim to the quick by telling him, ” an idea that Steve would have loved “ him and telling him that if Apple does not seek this new dimension, another GAFA will, that would have made Steve sick. It is there in full in the fantasies and the magic of Apple, a company like no other in the world !

Last question, and not the least : how is it that Gully Samoza uses of the PC ?

Very good question… and this is the first time that I am laying ! Because… they share in a project at the beginning a little absurd, and should remain confidential even in-house, to which he will go into the dark web, and so he does not want to do it on his Mac in the work are synchronized in iCloud and accessible by the internal IT of Apple. It is, therefore, to give a bit of mystery on the process.

One of the two PC did not connect at all, to recall that this is the only way to ensure a zero risk of piracy. And, a little kick of Windows with which many sectors are forced to work, get upset when one of his PC put of too-long seconds to start crackling, stupidly !

“The day that Apple bought Greece” is on sale in all good booksellers. You can find it on Amazon in Kindle version and paper as well as on Apple Books !