Apple’s secrecy irks U.S. Congress

“Apple is famous for its veil of secrecy around the new iPads and iPhones. But Sen. John Rockefeller and others in Congress wonder whether the company has more than technological innovations to hide,” Kim Hart reports for Politico. “When Apple didn’t participate in an April hearing on children’s online privacy, the West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, gave voice to his suspicions. ‘When people don’t show up when we ask them to … all it does is increases our interest in what they’re doing and why they didn’t show up,’ Rockefeller said of Apple and Google, which both declined to testify. ‘It was a stupid mistake for them not to show up, and I say shame on them.'”

“While Apple’s success has earned rock-star status in Silicon Valley, its low-wattage approach in Washington is becoming more glaring to policymakers. Despite its increasing influence over consumers’ use of technology — most recently with the iPad and iPhone 4 — Apple has kept a particularly low profile inside the Beltway,” Hart reports. “‘It’s unfortunate because they are a major player in this area, and we are going to continue to have a long, in-depth conversation,’ on these topics, said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who presided over theprivacy hearing, referring to Apple’s empty seat at the witness table.”

MacDailyNews Take: Wonder if they’re really concerned about the lack of Apple’s presence or presents?

Hart continues, “It is one of the few major technology companies not to have a political action committee. While CEO Steve Jobs supported the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, he hasn’t been especially active in political fundraising or races. Gore now sits on Apple’s board of directors.

“Compared with other tech giants, Apple’s lobbying expenditures are small,” Hart reports. “In 2009, Apple spent only $1.5 million to lobby the federal government, less than Amazon, Yahoo and IBM. In 2009, Google, for example, spent $4 million, Microsoft $7 million and AT&T $15 million… In the first quarter of this year, Apple spent $560,000 on lobbying, according to disclosure reports. During the same period, Google spent $1.4 million and Microsoft spent $1.7 million. ‘They’ve been very focused on their own innovation, and they don’t have a history of coming to town to get their competitors regulated,’ said Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology. ‘But they’re expanding into so many areas that they’re going to find themselves in other companies’ cross hairs, so they probably should be ready to play defense.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Lack of presents, as suspected.

“‘They don’t have the arrogance of Google, nor does Steve Jobs think he’s in the Obama cabinet like Eric Schmidt does,’ one tech industry lobbyist said,” Hart reports. “To handle discussions on the Hill, Apple hired Franklin Square Group, a technology-focused lobbying firm started by Josh Ackil, former White House aide in the Clinton administration and tech adviser to former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. Paul Margie of Wiltshire & Grannis does much of the company’s work at the FCC. Apple has visited the FCC only four times in the past three years, according to agency records.”

Hart reports, “Apple may be forced to change that strategy as it pushes into new markets.”

There’s much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Alternate headline: “Washington insiders concerned about their palms’ lack of Apple grease.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JB” for the heads up.]

128 Comments

  1. Sadly, I think MDN’s take is an accurate one. Washington is again nosing in to areas it does not belong. Now it’s getting pissy because Apple has no interest in playing the game. Since Apple doesn’t take government monies, I don’t see where the govt. has issue to complain.

  2. Astonishing that people complain that Apple seeks to curry less political favor than other companies. The arrogance of people like Rockefeller and Pryor oozes like slime on a fetid, liberty-suffocating swamp.

  3. I am shocked, Apple doesn’t have to buy off our honest Congress men and women to get their innovative devices and services to market. I guess you just have to give one or two of them an iPad or iPhone an they step aside.

    Isn’t it more interesting that people expect to have to “Pay to Play”.

  4. Ya know seriously… This is just gross. Is Apple doing anything wrong? NO. But if you don’t homage to the powers that be, you’re screwed.

    The US government really has no say in Apple, why should Apple have to lobby for anything? Giving money to scumbag politicians isn’t the Apple way. I say screw em’ all and let Microsoft pay for it. They are the business men, not innovators, that enjoy the game.

    -Pi

  5. …and congress’ secrets cost the American taxpayer billions.

    ef those sunzabitches and their disturbing hairstyles.

    get fat and die on your own kickbacks and selfserving egos

    ….and now I’ll read the article.

  6. Steve Jobs is a liberal because of where he lives and an idealism common to his generation, but an idealism that is not based on reality, but fashion. In San Francisco, you are a leper if you are a conservative. By his actions, Steve Jobs is a conservative. His company has zero debt and a huge cash horde (versus the Fed government), he is an entrepeneur (strike one against him from the worldview of liberals), his company is extremely profitable (strike two), he does not seek competitive advantage through lobbying but rather through product excellence (strike three). Steve Jobs by his actions is what we should wish all American businessmen were – willing to live or die by his accomplishments. Much like Howard Roark or John Galt of Ayn Rand novels. So, his liberal government tit-sucking groupies, some in Congress, don’t understand why he does not fawn over them and shower them with money. The man actually has self-respect and an understanding (still developing) that he is a “producer” and the government hacks and the choruses of government lovers are “non-producers” who live of his sweat, work, vision and risk.

    So, kudos to Apple for not attending the moronic government meeting about children. Apple does not promote porn, like Hollywood and all the leftists there who would attend such a waste of time meeting. I wish GM and many Banks would have had the balls to tell the Federal Government to keep their nose out of private business. Maybe we would still have an American automobile industry. Go Steve. You are doing a great job.

  7. If Apple won’t “pay” attention to lawmakers, occasionally genuflecting, they’ll bring pressure to bear. Pigs at the trough, looking for a cut of Apple’s success.

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