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Apple lobbying costs drop in Q3, but rise year-over-year

updated 11:45 pm EST, Mon December 12, 2011

Firm up to $1.8M in reported spending

Apple has spent around $1.8 million on lobbying the federal government through the third quarter of 2011, figures filed with the U.S. House of Representatives' clerk's office show. While third-quarter spending, at $460,000, was down significantly (42 percent) from the $790,000 it spent in the second quarter, it is up 35 percent from the year-ago third quarter of 2010.

Broadly speaking, the company targeted its lobbying efforts on bills concerning electronic waste and battery transportation, consumer privacy and general other telecommunications and electronics-related legislation. It lobbied both houses of Congress, the departments of Education and Commerce, the Federal Trade and Communications commissions, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Trade Representative.

By comparison, Microsoft has spent around $5.5 million in the same period, and Google about $6 million (with an additional $1.3 million in lobbying spent by Motorola, which is in the process of being acquired by Google). Google in particular has dramatically increased its spending in recent years, while Apple's spending on lobbying has grown at a much smaller rate. According the report, Apple's lobbying efforts have been headed up by a team primarily consisting of three people, who all appear to be in-house employees at Apple. The report was filed by Catherine Novelli, Apple's Vice President of Worldwide Government Affairs.

Among the specific bills Apple lobbied the government on was the America Invents Act, which deals with copyright and patent reform. The company has of course been heavily involved in patent litigation, particularly over the past year. It participated in proceedings the FCC held on the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act and was also involved in Spectrum Incentive Auctions, Children's Online Protection and the Digital Goods and Services Fairness Act.

Apple lobbied the Department of Education for increased technology funding, the EPA on electronic waste, battery transportation and other environmental issues, and the U.S. Trade Representative on barriers to trade. The company appears to have been heavily involved in discussions related to various "Do Not Track" legislation, appearing to act as an advocate for such legislation since gaining a spate of bad publicity over charges that the iPhone 4 was tracking users (later dispelled).

The company also listed a handful of bills and general issues discussions it had with lawmakers around the issue of online privacy, including bills aimed at protecting children's privacy as well as commercial privacy.

by MacNN Staff



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