At the start of the Trump era, Apple spent more on lobbying than ever, but outspent 2.5 times by Google

Since the election of President Donald Trump, Apple’s “been been cultivating some good old fashioned Washington influence,” Hamza Shaban reports for Buzzfeed News. “Apple spent $1.4 million, just $50,000 more than during the final months of the Obama presidency, when it set its previous record, but the most it has ever spent in a single quarter. Apple lobbied on issues including government requests for data, the regulation of mobile health apps, and self-driving cars.”

“Google, once again, outspent every other technology company. It was tenth overall, tallying $3.5 million,” Shaban reports. “‘We think it is important to have a strong voice in the debate and help policymakers understand our business and the work we do to keep the Internet open and fuel economic growth,’ a Google spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.”

MacDailyNews Take: Google’s “Oh Shit!” moment was dwarfed only by Hillary Clinton’s. (See: Google’s Eric Schmidt wore staff badge at Hillary Clinton’s ‘victory’ party.)

“Amazon spent nearly $3 million on lobbying, behind only Facebook and Google, and was 17th out of all companies in or out of tech,” Shaban reports. “Amazon met with government officials to discuss net neutrality, drone air cargo, drone privacy, and the flow of data across borders, among other issues. Microsoft claimed $2.3 million as the fourth biggest spender in tech and 27th overall. The second biggest spender out of any company was AT&T, which shelled out $4.6 million. The company’s proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner, now under review by the Justice Department, is being closely watched by industry analysts and political observers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Money makes the world go ’round.

WikiLeaks emails show extremely close relationship between Clinton campaign and Google’s Eric Schmidt – November 1, 2016
Eric Schmidt-backed startup stealthily working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House – October 9, 2015
Google’s Eric Schmidt spurns Obama cabinet post offer – December 11, 2012
Obama to reward Google’s Schmidt with Cabinet post? – December 5, 2012
Google outfoxes U.S. FCC – April 17, 2012
Google Street View cars grabbed locations of cellphones, computers – July 26, 2011
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011
FCC cites Android ‘openness’ as reason for neutered ‘Net Neutrality’ – December 22, 2010
U.S. FCC approves so-called ‘net-neutrality’ regulations – December 21, 2010
Google CEO Schmidt: If you don’t like being in Google Street View then ‘just move’ – October 28, 2010
Consumer Watchdog ads mock Google CEO Eric Schmidt (with video) – September 2, 2010
Google CEO Schmidt: Change your name to escape ‘cyber past’ – August 18, 2010
Wired: Google, CIA Invest in ‘future’ of Web monitoring – July 29, 2010
37 states join probe into Google’s questionable Wi-Fi data collection – July 22, 2010
Google Street View Wi-Fi data included passwords and email – June 18, 2010


    1. The comparison is certainly quite stark; Apple of today (almost a trillion dollar company) is ten times as large as Apple of Jobs’s peak years (early iPhone years, ten years ago).

      And therein lies the problem for Apple of today. With highest profits, and biggest business, it is the easiest target for DC money-sucking machine. It is not that Apple wants to influence the laws their way; they actually MUST participate in this payola game, otherwise they will get punished. American lawmakers in DC make it fairly clear: you don’t pay, I vote against you. It’s that simple. And when Apple was small(er), that demand wasn’t nearly as loud, and Apple could get away with ridiculously minimal payola. Hell, even today, there are quite many companies spending considerably more than Apple.

      All told, it seems that, while other large US businesses are eager players in this game, Apple is a reluctant participant and likely considers the whole system a form of a blackmail.

      At least, that’s how I see this. I may be wrong.

      1. Good post. But in my opinion, I think Steve relied on his ability to ‘win the crowd’ in many areas of Apples business. If you make great, irresistible products, they speak for themselves. Politicians especially are beholden to the court of public opinion. For instance- Apple is the only major tech company with a firm commitment to securing ones privacy. This resonates with people and can and will influence political policy without the need for extra funding. Google, Amazon and FB could never adopt this position, so they have to pay. Jobs stayed out of the political morass that is DC probably because he could. Cook seems to be having more trouble in this arena.

        1. I think so too, particularly in the Jobs/Cook comparison. I’m sorry, but I don’t support lobbying, and I do not consider injections of cash a ‘voice’. Though I’m not naive, this is a process that has always left the actual needs and desires of the people by the way wayside and I just don’t respect it. I would also disagree that Apple has no interest in influencing law, though I think Google is much more egregious in that regard.

      2. Excellent post, it’s one of the reasons I call it a demoncracy. The will of the rich people who can pay.
        Corruption abounds, a sure sign of a nation gone into decay. Mind you the stench helps too.

          1. Love that old come-back! It’s like snapping your fingers and magically you have set everybody straight! You have snatched back the crown of self-righteous intellectual superiority! We are all stunned, standing here with our mouths agape at facts so eloquently, and decisively delivered! We have all been bested in this debate. Please tell us for the billionth and one time what category of government we have!

            So what is your point, Bot-wipe?

    2. There is a website that tracks Washington lobbying. Apple has typically been at the bottom of the tech company lists, between 10th and 20th in spending. Amazon and Google are typically at the top, with Google usually spending 10x as much as Apple. In the old days, it was Microsoft that spent the most.

      Back in Jobs’ day, I would vaguely guess Apple typically spent about $1M to 1.5M in a whole year on DC lobbying.

        1. Steve disliked both DC and Wall St. That’s why Apple did little to no investment banking business. They sold no debt, which incurs fees for Wall St., and they did minimal M&A, which also incurs fees for Wall St., compared to their peers in tech and in company size. As we know, this did affect Apple negatively, as Apple’s peers did tons of lobbying in DC to Apple’s detriment, and Wall St bank analysts pumped up the Googles, the Amazons, the Teslas, while Apple was only talked about as something that didn’t make rational sense, as their customers had to be cult followers. Apple lost control of its narrative.

          For the most part, Steve didn’t care because he was playing the long game, as stock prices have a tendency to regress to the mean, eventually. But it does affect Apple in that compensation for highly-regarded employees, not the C-level execs, but the top engineers/designers, were tied to employee stock options. If the stock isn’t going up as fast as its peers, its options aren’t worth as much as bonus compensation to their employees, so they have more difficulty retaining top staff compared to companies that have stock prices going up faster. Now Steve would say, good riddance to those people, but still, even good people leave if they can get a lot more thru options, at another company.

          1. I guess, I just recall he made Apple insanely great with insanely great products…the highlight was when he placed a giant crosshairs over Mike Dell’s face onstage saying, “We are coming for you.” …can you imagine CEO Whistlebritches ever saying that?

  1. 1. 4 million doesn’t seem like a lot when Ahrendts first year salary was over 60 million (mostly as a sign on bonus).

    Some time back I noted that Google spent 10 times more than Apple on lobbying when Apple kept getting investigated for things like the ebook case etc. It’s recorded that Google employees visited the White House hundreds of times.

    At that time I wrote that Walmart used to get hell from the govt. as well (had to face senate panels for uncompetitive business practices — you had mom and pop shop owners crying as they testified , outsourcing to Asia, labour issues etc ) until a consultant told them to massively expand their lobbying and hire ex-politicians as lobbyists (a welfare home for ex politics) : walmart today is basically the same but voila! no more investigations…

    that’s how the world turns.

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