By JP Mangalindan
December 7, 2012

Also: A look at Cisco CEO’s radical new strategy; why Netflix got in trouble over a simple Facebook post. 

Special report: Amazon’s billion-dollar tax shield [REUTERS]

Amazon’s Luxembourg arrangements have deprived European governments of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax that it might otherwise have owed, as reported in European newspapers. But a Reuters examination of accounts filed by 25 Amazon units in six countries shows how they also allowed the company to avoid paying more tax in the United States, where the company is based.

In effect, Amazon used inter-company payments to form a tax shield for the group, behind which it has accumulated $2 billion to help finance its expansion.

Planning his legacy, Cisco chief maps an expansion [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

Cisco, the chairman and chief executive says, will shift toward customers in government and large businesses, handling projects like designing and managing systems for efficient traffic and clean water across entire cities. Cisco’s plan is to create networks of sensors and data analysis systems, working closely with government officials and civil engineering companies. And it will work with companies to set up efficient mining, manufacturing and distribution systems.

“It’s a $4 trillion market,” he said. “The days of boxes are over.”

Apple CEO on challenge of keeping company cutting edge [ROCK CENTER]

Steve Jobs’ hand-picked successor, current Apple CEO Tim Cook, talks exclusively to Rock Center Anchor and Managing Editor Brian Williams about Apple’s battle with Samsung, glitches with their maps app, the prospect of Apple TV and the challenge of keeping Apple cutting edge.

Mapping Apple’s retail expansion [MACSTORIES]

In terms of visitors per store, the first few quarters in which data is provided (Apple only started providing such data in Q3 2002) sees roughly 60,000 visitors per store. Quarter-to-quarter, these numbers vary but there is a roughly linear rate of growth on average with the last few quarters of 2012 averaging 230,000 visitors per store – or roughly 17,500 per week. In surprisingly, the Christmas Q1 sees a big spike in visitors every year, almost without fail.

Series A crunch: By the numbers [FORTUNE]

Series A deals in 2011 represented just 91% of 2010 seed/angel deals, compared to 109% the prior period. That figure dropped to just 65% in 2012, and I would expect the plummet to continue into 2013. After all, the number of seed/angel deals continues to rise and VC fundraising difficulties may mean that Series A commitments have plateaued.

Netflix in trouble over Facebook [GIGAOM]

So what exactly did Netflix and Hastings do to trigger a federal securities probe? The answer is that they used a Facebook page with more than 200,000 fans to share the news instead of a more traditional method like a press release. In theory, this means that they didn’t give everyone a fair chance to react to a “material event” that affected the share price.

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