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Apple's reputation untarnished by tax issue, study says

A story highlighting Apple's use of tax havens and loopholes has apparently left the company's reputation unscathed according to a new study.


Apple's use of various tax loopholes to save money, as chronicled in a recent New York Times story, has not damaged the company's reputation, according to a new study.

Polling firm YouGov -- which we've previously mentioned in relation to one of Facebook's early privacy flaps -- says perceptions of Apple are back to where they were before the publication of the Times story, which focused on the company's tactics to save money by setting up businesses in tax-friendly locations.

The firm says Apple's reputation is "virtually Teflon," when compared to the tax story the NYT did on General Electric the month prior, which noted that the conglomerate brought in profits of $14.2 billion in 2010 but paid nothing in taxes, while claiming a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

"The reaction [to the story about GE] was more pronounced and longer: the company's reputation took a steep drop and two months to recover to precrisis levels," YouGov said in a post on its company blog. By comparison, YouGov says Apple's reputation score went up from 52 to 58 (on a scale of -100 to 100) after the story published, and it now sits at 51.

The methodology behind the numbers asks people whether they would be "proud or embarrassed to work for this brand," then turns that score into a number between 100 to -100 (-100 is completely negative, and 100 is completely positive). Points are assigned by "subtracting negative feedback from positive." The daily sample size for the polling is 5,000 people per weekday, the company said.