The grilling of Apple is best understood as a shakedown by politicians upset with Apple for not playing the Washington game that yields contributions, power, and personal wealth for congressmen and their aides.
This is no surprise. PACs are becoming little more than legalized bribery. Not sure how long Apple can go without playing at some level.
Apple is famous for its veil of secrecy around the new iPads and iPhones. But Sen. John Rockefeller and others in Congress wonder whether the company has more than technological innovations to hide.
Hmm, just because they’re secret? Is it possible there’s another reason? If I look hard in the article maybe I can find it…
Compared with other tech giants, Apple’s lobbying expenditures are small. In 2009, Apple spent only $1.5 million to lobby the federal government, less than Amazon, Yahoo and IBM. In 2009, Google, for example, spent $4 million, Microsoft $7 million and AT&T $15 million.
I wrote about this a few days ago. Lobbying is big business, and some of Apple’s competitors are looking to get their money’s worth. That’s bad enough, but now you’ve got senators hinting that Apple should grease their wheels.
I’m not sure what’s worse, the sleaziness of the brib– er, lobbying, or that those being lobbied wouldn’t know a smartphone from a tennis shoe. I mean, if the name of the game is to cozy up to someone it ought to be someone who knows a little about tech.
When the company with the most lobbying wins, we lose. As I said before, we should be appalled, not happy, if that happens.
“We’re likely to fight very hard,” [Google CEO Eric Schmidt] said. “It’s a very strategic acquisition for Google.”
I guess the table provides an indication of just how hard Google will “fight”.