Apple spent millions lobbying Trump administration in 2018

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Apple's spend is nothing compared to some of its tech rivals, however.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple spent $6.6 million lobbying Congress and other federal officials in 2018, newly released records show. While that’s approximately in line with the $7 million it spent in 2017, it’s considerably less than the amount spent by some of Apple’s FAANG rivals.

During the same period, Facebook spent $12.6 million, Amazon spent $14.2 million, and Google — the biggest lobbyist by far — spent a massive $21 million. That’s an increase on Google’s $18 million spend in 2017.

The issues which prompted the lobbying included trade, data privacy, immigration, and copyright issues. Apple’s lower-than-the-rest spend may be partly related to the fact that other tech companies are fearful of impending comprehensive federal privacy regulations. This is something that Tim Cook has called for.

Some Apple-specific issues the company has lobbied concerning include autonomous vehicles, mobile medical devices, and video programming distribution. All three of these hint at major directions Apple is keen to move in — with its Project Titan self-driving car initiative, medical devices such as the FDA-passed ECG reader for the Apple Watch, and the company’s impending TV service.

Although Apple hasn’t had any big clashes with Donald Trump recently, lobbying has nonetheless increased under the Trump administration.

Under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple’s lobbying efforts have ramped up, compared to what they were under Steve Jobs. Ten years ago, back in 2009, Apple only spent $1.5 million lobbying Congress. Even taking inflation into account, that’s a big increase.

Source: The Hill