Net neutrality may have been the biggest issue this past week but it is difficult to assess who were the biggest tech lobbying losers and winners using that issue as criteria. The FCC policy was universally panned by both sides and thus isn’t the best barometer for success or failure in tech lobbying. What is an excellent barometer are the third quarter lobbying reports which provide useful information on how much money major tech companies are spending in Washington and why. Most lobbying remains the same but there are a few exceptions which hand us are big lobbying losers and winners of the week.
Yahoo, Apple and Facebook – Which each spent a paltry amount on lobbying compared to their tech counterparts and compared to similar major industries. These three are giants in the tech world but don’t spend money in Washington which reflects that status. Contrast their spending with the body scanner industry lobbying spending and the picture is clear why the Yahoo, Apple, and Facebook lack of influence spending is such a problem. These three didn’t collectively crack a million dollars in the third quarter while the body scanner industry spent $6 million this year to defend their technology.
Hewlett Packard – Wow. These guys were all over the place in their lobbying toward the end of the year – nearly doubling their lobbying spending as compared to last year and involving themselves in all types of atypical tech lobbying discussions. HP lobbied on immigration, taxes, health care, law enforcement and more issues which they felt could have an impact on their company and which they wanted to express their voice. This is the complete opposite of the Yahoo, Apple, Facebook tech lobbying failure. HP gets why they need to have a voice in Washington and they are aggressive in creating a megaphone on their issues.
Honorable Mention – IBM – which only slightly increased its lobbying, but is doing some interesting lobbying on “Smart” power meters.
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