Apple’s future and its role in Washington

August 26, 2011

Timothy "Tim" Cook, chief operating officer of Apple. (Tony Avelar/Bloomberg)

We’re also reminded of Apple’s small but growing presence in Washington. It’s grown in recent years to about a half-dozen employees and has added outside counsel led by vice president of government affairs Catherine Novelli.

The company has focused on copyright, patent reform and online privacy issues such as the FTC’s suggested Do Not Track requirement, according to federal lobbying disclosure documents.

But that doesn’t stack up to much compared with rivals Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, which have greatly fortified their lobbying and government policy ranks to deal with issues such as privacy, net neutrality, patent reform and corporate tax policy.

Apple spent $1.3 million on lobbying in the first and second quarters of the year, compared with Google’s $2.7 million and Microsoft’s 3.5 million.

Apple has been the subject of inspection from the Federal Trade Commission with its in-app purchases on the iPhone and iPad that led to families quickly racking up big bills on kids-oriented games. The company changed its iOs software to better safeguard against that happening. Last June, the agency also began an investigation into Apple’s competitive practices in the mobile industry. Lawmakers also grilled Apple earlier this year on location-based technology that could track users on Apple devices.

Related:

Four Tech titans racing to be king of the digital age

Cecilia Kang is a staff writer covering the business of media and entertainment.
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