Early this morning, 9to5Mac reported that tech lobbying spending hit $35M this year as companies are fighting antitrust measures. Now, a story shows that Apple alone spent $4.6 million in the first half of 2021. Not only that, but Apple’s Tim Cook has become one of the country’s most politically active tech CEOs of the moment.
According to that BloombergApple has never spent so much on federal lobbying than they are right now:
It reported a record $4.6 million in the first half of this year, $1.5 million more than its first-half figure a year ago. Although Apple disclosed Wednesday that its second-quarter lobbying expenses dipped to $1.9 million, the $2.7 million it spent in the first quarter was about 85% higher than the same period last year.
Since the beginning of 2021, Apple has registered three new lobbying shops with ties to key lawmakers in the antitrust fight. It’s also pulling lobbyists directly from the Capitol’s corridors, bringing in-house a former aide to Senator Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota Democrat leading the fight against Apple and other tech behemoths.
Apple’s increasing interest in federal lobbying comes as a Senate antitrust vote that could force the company to allow competing app stores or sideloading of iOS apps from developer websites.
It all started in 2019 after a year-long investigation into whether tech giants were guilty of anti-competitive behavior. Now, Congress plans to pass bipartisan legislation that could end Apple’s exclusive power over its App Store and how customers spend money on apps using their iPhone, iPad, and Macs. You can learn more about it here.
Bloomberg reports that Apple’s roster of in-house and outside lobbyists has increased by more than 65% since 2015. Although the total number of lobbyists employed by the company is lower than that of other major tech companies, its numbers jumped from 43 to 65.
Bloomberg’s Emily Birnbaum even reports that while Tim Cook usually stayed out of politics, it has now changed:
The Apple chief, aiming to deflect government scrutiny with his star power, now phones or meets with senators regularly. He visited Washington at least twice in recent months. In June, when he was spotted in the Senate basement wearing a dark suit and tie, he met with Senator John Tester, the Montana Democrat, and numerous Republican senators, including Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Missouri Republican Roy Blunt. A spokesperson for Tester confirmed that he met with Cook. Thune, Ernst and Blunt did not respond to requests for comment.
The full report is worth reading here.
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