Apple spent $500K on lobbying in Q1 2012; Google spent $5M

In the first quarter of this year, Apple has spent $500,000 on political lobbying in Washington, D.C., which is less than it spent on lobbying the year before, and a total that comes well short of the amounts spent on lobbying by rivals such as Google, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and more, reports Politico.

Politico's assessment is that Apple's refusal to engage the government on familiar terms when it comes to lobbying could become a roadblock for the tech company, which is facing increasing legal pressure from the Department of Justice in respect to its book publishing antitrust lawsuit, and from rivals with a litany of patent suits.

Jeff Miller, who served as a senior aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust Subcommittee for eight years, said that Apple's lack of lobbying could hurt the company. "I never once had a meeting with anybody representing Apple," Miller said. "There have been other tech companies who chose not to engage in Washington, and for the most part that strategy did not benefit them."

On the other end of the spectrum, Apple's rivals have pumped comparatively large sums into the political machine. Google has spent $5 million on lobbying over the same time period, while Microsoft spent $1.8 million, Hewlett-Packard spent $1.6 million, IBM spent $1.5 million, Intel spent $882,000 and Facebook spent $816,000. Even Dell outspent Apple with $620,000. Apple does not have a political action committee, unlike Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

Despite the lack of apparent lobby funds, some Apple defenders say that the company prefers to work behind the scenes in a subtler fashion. An anonymous source familiar with Apple's D.C. operations said to Politico, "Yes, it is true that they don’t use the old Washington playbook. They don’t have a massive table of consultants and law firms. It is more low-key, but it is also respectful."

"They want to do this in a measured, respectful way," the source said.

Image Credit: Politico

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