Apple has increased its spending on lobbying the government, although the $2.9 million spent in Washington is still minor compared to other tech companies such as Microsoft and Google, who took the crown this time: The search giant spent $13.7 million on US lobbying in 2014 (via Bloomberg).
While Apple “avoided” the capital while Jobs was CEO, Tim Cook has changed that habit, and the world’s most valuable tech company has staffed up in the city: It has hired Amber Cottle, former chief of staff for the Senate Finance Committee, to lead the lobbying office, replacing Catherine Novelli.
Apple also hired Lisa Jackson, former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who is now in charge of the company’s environmental initiatives, and added law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP to its list of outside lobbying firms, Bloomberg reports.
One possible reason for such spending – detailed by OpenSecrets.org – could be the privacy issues Apple could face with the forthcoming Apple Watch: The device is collecting and using consumer health data, so privacy is at issue here.
Apple has expressed commitment to protecting user data, but the fappening, for example, wasn’t too much help here.
Apple has also faced a number of lawsuits, such as the eBook pricing, the unfair billing of parents for in-app purchases initiated by kids, etc. The switch in how the company approached the issue, seems to have had the desired result: FTC commissioners and Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, in an October speech, praised Apple for touting “as a selling point that they don’t share certain data from connected devices.” She added that “steps like this are, I believe, critical to fostering consumer trust. And they are good business too,” Bloomberg reports.