Apple has become a regular in Washington, D.C. as shown by its chief Tim Cook hanging out with the head of the Senate Finance Committee last month, according to reports.
Cook posed for a photo with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) who is head of the committee, and he headed out to other similar meet-and-greets while in the nation's capital, according to Bloomberg News. Tech companies lobbying Congress isn't anything new -- Microsoft spent $6 million lobbying last year through September, Google spent $13 million in the same time period and Apple spent $2.9 million.
The only difference is that Apple was known for almost shunning Washington, D.C. in founder Steve Jobs' time. In 2009, it only lobbied Congress and six agencies. In 2014, Apple now lobbies Congress, the White House and 13 agencies and departments including the Food and Drug Administration. Is it Apple's business savvy that has changed its tune or the reality that government regulations and scrutiny can delay or kill off products?
Either way, it seems Cook is more than up for the new challenge. Although Apple declined to comment on the increased lobbying, analysts have noticed the uptick in trips to Washington. Apple has also hired a former Senate Finance Committee chief of staff to head its lobbying office.
“(Apple) learned what others before them have learned -- that Washington can have a great effect on their business,” Larry Noble, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington-based non-profit that follows money in politics, told Bloomberg News.
Apple also stopped by the Federal Trade Commission to demonstrate the Apple Watch and Health app, where the company attempted to show its "commitment to protecting consumer data," which to us sounds like a pre-emptive strike against any government probe. In short, it's in Apple's best interest to be as open with federal agencies as possible to stop any further regulation.