Apple has become a lobbying powerhouse amid growing antitrust scrutiny

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in General Discussion
Apple is now spending more than it has ever on political lobbying in the era of antitrust scrutiny from all directions, including in the U.S.

Credit: Laurenz Heymann/Unsplash
Credit: Laurenz Heymann/Unsplash


The iPhone maker spent a record $4.6 million in the first half of 2022, according to a new Bloomberg report tracking how Apple CEO Tim Cook has become one of the most politically active tech chief executives in the country.

Apple's spending was $1.5 million higher in the first half of 2022 than in 2021.

Since the beginning of 2021, Apple has also registered three new lobbying organizations that have ties to key lawmakers in the antitrust realm. The Cupertino company is also tapping lobbyists directly from Capitol Hill -- including a former aide to Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Apple's number of both in-house and outside lobbyists has increased more than 65% since 2015. Interestingly, Apple's total pool of lobbyists is still smaller than its competitors.

The report also details some of the tactics that Apple lobbyists have tried. Back in 2021, for example, lobbyists tied to Apple attempted to stir up a political battle between the House Judiciary Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee. That attempt was ultimately unsuccessful.

Lobbying has increased across the technology industry amid rising antitrust tensions. Lawmakers in the U.S., for example, are considering new legislation that could force Apple to allow third-party app stores, side-loading, and alternate payment mechanisms.

Other lobbying attempts have worked out, however. The American Choice and Innovation Act, an antitrust measure in the Senate, was revised to make it easier for companies to fend off allegations of anti-competitive practices. Bloomberg reports that Apple lobbyists "pushed hard" for that change.

Although once a CEO hesitant to use his star power for political purposes, Cook now is reportedly a frequent visitor to Capitol Hill, and meets or phones regularly with lawmakers. Cook has advocated for Apple to be treated differently, since its business model doesn't rely on harvesting user data.

Other lobbyists have also taken notice. One lobbyist for the company that makes ProtonMail told Bloomberg that "[w]herever we turn our heads, we find out Apple was also there, making their side of the argument."

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    "Cook has advocated for Apple to be treated differently, since its business model doesn't rely on harvesting user data."

    If, by chance, he chose the same line of wording, I'm sure he would have said 'treated different' 
    :) 
    byronlcornchip
  • Reply 2 of 12
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 1,010member
    If you can’t beam em, bribe em.
    fred1dk49byronl9secondkox2
  • Reply 3 of 12
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,735member
    tyler82 said:
    If you can’t beam em, bribe em.
    Not sure why you think this has anything to do with bribes.  

    Lobbying is valid and lawful advocacy to lawmakers.  The same as you calling your senator or rep and asking them to support or oppose something you want them to. 

    Lobbyists for firms (outside of legal officers etc) need to be registered as such to keep it all on the up and up.  


    lkrupp9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,010member
    Unfortunately, lobbying is needed because politicians who make money on legal bribes from a company have to be challenged by lobbyists supporting the other company being attacked. It would be nice if politicians didn't play favorites but they do. Every country has an ulterior motive for everything they do. Rarely is it actually based on laws.
    entropyslolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    fred1fred1 Posts: 985member
    chadbag said:
    tyler82 said:
    If you can’t beam em, bribe em.
    Not sure why you think this has anything to do with bribes.  

    Lobbying is valid and lawful advocacy to lawmakers.  The same as you calling your senator or rep and asking them to support or oppose something you want them to. 

    Lobbyists for firms (outside of legal officers etc) need to be registered as such to keep it all on the up and up.  


    Yea, you go on believing that, together with thinking that it’s a democracy, where politicians only decide based on what their constituents want. 
    byronl
  • Reply 6 of 12
    I'm running for Congress as a Dem in OH-10. My opponent has money from Microsoft, Google, Dell, HP, Amazon, Intel, VMWare,
    Me- just real people.
    And you wonder.
    www.electesrati.com
    byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    amar99amar99 Posts: 140member
    I love how some people are actually comparing lobbying by corporations to simply calling your senator and asking nicely.
    beowulfschmidtbyronldesignr
  • Reply 8 of 12
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,090member
    Amy Klobuchar. is emblematic of the out-of-touch nature of American lawmakers.  We are awash with cybercrime, hacking, malware, scams, influence schemes, spyware—issues Americans are truly concerned about—but politicians rail against the influence of BigTech and the Google-Apple duopoly.

    It comes across to me as a blatant shake-down scheme by politicians to coerce contributions.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    badmonk said:
    “Amy Klobuchar. is emblematic of the out-of-touch nature of American lawmakers.  We are awash with cybercrime, hacking, malware, scams, influence schemes, spyware—issues Americans are truly concerned about—but politicians rail against the influence of BigTech and the Google-Apple duopoly.

    It comes across to me as a blatant shake-down scheme by politicians to coerce contributions.”
    True, to an extent. But Google and Yahoo add to those issues. We get text spam from gmail and yahoo accounts because those companies allow the practice. Getting spam calls? The telcos could have stopped it years ago. And so on. But there’s money involved so they don’t.
    edited July 22 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 1,394member
    The reality is that politicians are just regular people and like most people, have biases and flawed thinking as well as some sound judgement (most people, not all unfortunately)  in general. 

    they can be manipulated and swayed when an argument is presented by a lobbyist or their kids, or their peers, or something they read in Esquire or a blog or a forum, etc. no matter how disastrous the result may be. 

    Enter lobbyists from the other side to present the flip side of the coin snd get both stories out there. This is what Apple is finally doing. 

    After being blindsided by shady lobbyists for a long time and suffering ridiculous harm as a result, they are finally doing the unfortunate thing that must be done - lobbying on behalf of their values and in turn, most of us. 

    Unfortunately, it’s a slimy business as this shouldn’t be a necessity, but in the ugliness that is politics, you have to fight fire with fire. Otherwise you get steamrolled by a bunch of crooks who know how to manipulate people in authority. 

    That’s all this is. Good for Apple. 

    Many have been trying to nuke Apple for a long time and unfortunately even succeeded in doing some damage. But Apple, by virtue of simply staying the course and building the best, most loved, most trusted products and services, has amassed a war chest that allows it to fire back. 

    They are very very conservative in their lobbying considering their size and that’s because they aren’t trying to hurt other companies. They are just protecting themselves from unreasonable harm. 
    edited July 22 watto_cobradanoxcornchip
  • Reply 11 of 12
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,175member
    chadbag said:
    tyler82 said:
    If you can’t beam em, bribe em.
    Not sure why you think this has anything to do with bribes.  

    Lobbying is valid and lawful advocacy to lawmakers.  The same as you calling your senator or rep and asking them to support or oppose something you want them to. 

    Lobbyists for firms (outside of legal officers etc) need to be registered as such to keep it all on the up and up.  


    It’s Bribery……..
  • Reply 12 of 12
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,175member
    badmonk said:
    “Amy Klobuchar. is emblematic of the out-of-touch nature of American lawmakers.  We are awash with cybercrime, hacking, malware, scams, influence schemes, spyware—issues Americans are truly concerned about—but politicians rail against the influence of BigTech and the Google-Apple duopoly.

    It comes across to me as a blatant shake-down scheme by politicians to coerce contributions.”
    True, to an extent. But Google and Yahoo add to those issues. We get text spam from gmail and yahoo accounts because those companies allow the practice. Getting spam calls? The telcos could have stopped it years ago. And so on. But there’s money involved so they don’t.
    The government doesn’t care to stop it (Spam). All they want is money and control.
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