Google has turned from a company that was disdainful of lobbying in Washington to one of the biggest lobbyists in the nation.
The Washington Post has a big report on Google’s change in attitude, which is illustrated in this chart made for us by Statista. In 2012, Google spent the second most on lobbying after General Electric. Last year, it was fifth.
Google’s lobbying has worked out well. In January 2013, after a two-year investigation, the FTC said it wouldn’t bring any antitrust charges against Google for unfairly promoting its services in its search engine. Google just had to make some tiny concessions.
Microsoft was hurt as a company when the government said it was unfairly bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. Microsoft was previously able to use its size to squash its rivals. After the Internet Explorer ruling, it was cautious of using the Windows monopoly to deploy new services.
Google never had to deal with anything like that, so it can stuff Maps and Google+ into its results. It’s still being watched, but so far, it’s not in too much trouble.