Apple has increased its lobbying presence in Washington heavily following the release of Apple Pay, and the impending release of the Apple Watch later this Spring. Bloomberg reports that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, was even seen in December at the US capitol – a rare place for a company’s executive.
Cook has taken lobbying more seriously than the late-Steve Jobs. According to OpenSecrets.org, Apple lobbied the White House, Congress and 13 departments and agencies from the Food and Drug Administration to the Federal Trade Commission in 2014 through the third quarter. In 2009 following the iPhone’s launch, Apple lobbied only Congress and six other agencies.
Apple spent a bit over $1 million on lobbying during the third quarter of 2014, building to a $2.9 million running total for the year through September. Spending is expected to surpass the company’s $3.5 million benchmark set in 2013, when we hear fourth quarter numbers released in the coming weeks.
While the spending by Apple may seem like a lot, it’s no where close to other tech giants in the space. Microsoft and Google spent $6 million and $13.7 million respectively on lobbying through the third quarter of 2014.
The increase in lobbying comes at a time when Apple is releasing products that may come under more scrutiny. The Apple Watch has claims surrounding health, and as such, Apple wants to make sure regulators have no problem it’s coming to market. For instance, it was rumored last fall that Apple executives met with at least two FTC commissioners and Chairwoman Edith Ramirez to demonstrate the Apple Watch and Health app.
“The big question is: Is Apple finally getting it?” Chris Jones, founder of CapitolWorks, a lobbyist recruiting firm, told Bloomberg. “Yes, they are. They’re understanding there needs to be a proactive outreach on Capitol Hill and a proactive outreach to the administration.”