Apple needs to start making more friends in Washington.Politico reports that Apple has largely avoided lobbying for its causes in Washington. Apple spent just $500,000 on lobbying in the first quarter of this year, less than the year before, and only a tenth as much as what Google spent in the same quarter. What’s more, unlike most of its major competitors, Apple doesn’t even have a political action committee.
This hasn’t gone exactly helped its relationships in Congress. As Jeff Miller, a former senior aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee for eight years, told Politico, “I never once had a meeting with anybody representing Apple. There have been other tech companies who chose not to engage in Washington, and for the most part that strategy did not benefit them.”
Apple’s hands-off strategy in Washington may have worked in the past when the company had nothing but good press from its products. But in recent months, the company has been sued by the government for colluding to fix e-book prices with publishers and it has been criticised publicly by at least one legislator for its tax practices, not to mention the many other lawsuits and patent disputes the company is currently dealing with.
As Politico points out, Apple has begun to step up its game a little bit, bringing on a fourth member for its lobbying team and briefing officials for the e-books dispute, but chances are the largest company in the world will need to do better than this if it wants to be on good terms with Uncle Sam.