Business & Lobbying

Apple, Amazon, Meta report record Q1 lobbying spending amid antitrust fight

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Apple, Amazon and Meta spent record sums on federal lobbying through the first three months of the year as they fought bipartisan antitrust legislation, according to documents filed with Congress Wednesday night.

Apple spent more than $2.5 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 71 percent from the same period last year. Meta spent nearly $5.4 million, up 13 percent from last year’s first quarter. Amazon shelled out nearly $5 million, a 4 percent increase.

The rise comes as the big four tech firms attempt to derail the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, a bill to prevent dominant digital platforms from favoring their own services and empower antitrust officials to more aggressively investigate tech giants.

Tech giants, along with tech-backed lobbying groups and former national security officials, have increasingly cited China and Russia in their effort to defeat the bill, claiming that the measure would strengthen U.S. adversaries by weakening the nation’s tech giants.

Apple and Google are leading the charge against the Open App Markets Act, which would block app stores from favoring their own apps in searches, requiring developers to use their payment systems and blocking users from using third-party app stores.  

Apple CEO Tim Cook has personally lobbied lawmakers to drop the latter measure and warned last week that it would “undermine privacy and security” of Apple users.

Google, whose CEO has also pushed back on the bill, spent nearly $3 million on lobbying in the first quarter, up 10 percent from the same period last year but down from previous years.

Both antitrust bills, aimed at loosening tech giants’ grip on the online market, advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year. But some senators who supported the bills echoed industry concerns and said they needed to see changes before supporting the legislation on the Senate floor.

Tech giants are aiming to stall the bills and run out the clock, knowing that the Senate won’t get to everything on its jam-packed schedule before Congress slows down in August, according to K Street lobbyists.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who supports the antitrust measures, has told supporters that he won’t bring them to the floor until they have the support of 60 senators, a strategy that the bills’ proponents worry will play into tech giants’ hands.

Tags Amazon antitrust Apple Charles Schumer Facebook Google lobbying META tech Tim Cook

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