Apple Increases Lobbying Effort

Up $700,000 from the previous year, Apple reported a $7.4 million lobbying expenditure. This is Apple’s largest lobbying investment in history.

By Chand Bellur

January 22, 2020 at 7:11 p.m. PDT

Apple Spends $7.4 Million on Lobbying in 2019

Being one of the largest corporations in the world, laws and regulations can have a huge impact on revenues. To these ends, corporations like Apple invest heavily in lobbying, with goals of furthering product development and profitability.

Apple’s lobbying efforts pale in comparison to companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google. Facebook spends the most on lobbying, in an effort to overcome scrutiny from Capitol Hill. In fact, at $16.7 million, the social media giant spends over twice as much as Apple on lobbying. Amazon’s $16.1 million lobbying effort is significantly more than Google’s $11.8 million.

Netflix, with a paltry $850,000 lobbying effort, is one of the few major tech companies avoiding political intervention. Apple is somewhere in the middle of the pack, in terms of payouts to lobbyists.

Apple’s Political Issues

The political will of a large, multinational corporation is predictably oriented toward profit. Taxes are a major issue for Apple, however, the company also pursues intellectual property, technology, banking and other legislative opportunities.

Not all lobbying efforts are mercenary. Anyone can drill down into Apple’s lobbying reports on the OpenSecrets.org website. Some reports highlight Apple’s dedication to education. The company actively influences legislators to improve computer science education. This benefits both Apple and the public.

The tech giant also lobbies in support of the DACA program, in the interest of retaining skilled workers. This divisive issue is simple for a company that requires skilled employees.

The bulk of Apple’s lobbying efforts are the expected petitions to lower taxes. Apple lobbies to lower corporate taxes, sales taxes and remove tariffs and other trade barriers. While such policies may favor consumers, in the form of cheaper products, declining tax revenues could create budget deficits or other economic harm.

Some Apple lobbying efforts give us a glimpse into the possible future. The company pursues many cyber-security, communications and financial technology issues. Reading the reports, one can clearly see that Apple is influencing legislation around 5G networking. This confirms a 5G iPhone is on the horizon.

Overall, Apple’s lobbying efforts are surprisingly weak compared to the competition. At the end of the day, Apple earns revenues by selling extremely popular products. This may be why they don’t spend even half as much on lobbying as their competitors.

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