As Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) awaits a review from the federal government from its antitrust lawsuit, interestingly enough the company hasn’t exactly spent a lot of money lobbying them in 2012’s first three month. Apple only spent $500,000 on lobbying, according to Apple Insider.
Apple’s dismal activity during this time period was noted by Politico on Wednesday. The article said that while Apple spent $500,000, its rivals, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) spent a combined $7 million in the same period.
Not only has the company not spent any money, it hasn’t met with anyone on the Hill. According to Jeff Miller, a former senior aide for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee, he has never met with a lobbyist for Apple. He said, “There have been other tech companies who chose not to engage in Washington, and for the most part that strategy did not benefit them.”
The company’s lack of presence may not necessarily be a good thing for the company as it could complicate matters with April’s Justice Department lawsuit that alleged Apple and numerous book publishers of price fixing and collusion.
A little face time and money isn’t necessarily a bad thing in Washington. But just how low was Apple’s presence?
Looking at other technology companies, Google has the biggest presence, spending $5 million in the first quarter. Microsoft came in at second with $1.8 million and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) was close behind at third with $1.6 million.
Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) came in at No. 10 with $620,000, just ahead of Apple’s No. 11 place.
For Apple, it’s first quarter spending is down from 2011 in the same period when the company spent $560,000 for lobbying. And in 2011, Apple’s total was about one-third of Google and Microsoft’s spending.
The gap will increase this year as Google will spend 10 fold and Microsoft will triple its amount, according to Apple Insider. Similar to Facebook, both companies have political action committees; no, Apple doesn’t have one.
Not helping matters, is the fact that the two companies also have Washington media operations; no, Apple does not.
But on a positive note, Apple is active in groups that advocate for it in Washington. In September, Apple joined the Digital Due Process coalition; this is trying to change U.S. surveillance laws and keep individuals’ rights to privacy in Internet technology.
Apple has also joined in the movement with other companies, such as Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Duke Energy (NASDAQ:DUK) looking for an offshore tax holiday that would allow a company to repatriate overseas funds and spend them domestically at a lesser tax rate.