updated 01:00 pm EST, Thu December 23, 2010
ATT and Verizon top US lobbying while Apple little
Incumbent carriers AT&T and Verizon spent the most money lobbying the US government in summer 2010 while Apple and some other technology firms spent relatively little, newly published disclosure reports have uncovered. The two both significantly increased their spending to $3.47 million and $3.83 million respectively, up from $3.18 million and $2.96 million a year ago. AT&T spent most of its time persuading the government on broadband expansion, calling cards and distracted driving rules, while Verizon's details were less focused and saw it spend on Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and the White House itself.
The reasons for the spending increase haven't been detailed in information from AllThingsD but likely center on attempts to oppose FCC net neutrality rules as well as matching attempts to legislate neutrality in Congress. Both have also historically objected to any requirements to serve less profitable rural areas. Most of the lobbying in the past has usually courted Republicans, who have already been inclined to favor businesses and deregulation.
The revelation of AT&T's high spending came despite it accusing net neutrality advocates of winning because they were "well funded."
In contrast, some of the most successful end manufacturers have spent little. Facebook has only spent $120,000. Apple, despite eclipsing Microsoft in revenue and market cap, only spent $340,000 on unknown areas. The Windows maker spent $1.63 million this year, mostly on Congress as well as the Departments of Commerce, Defense and Homeland Security. It addressed questions of web ads and security, and attempted to influence government purchasing as well as argue in favor of net neutrality.
Other firms were much closer to the middle. HP, IBM and Oracle spent $1.6 million, $1 million and $1.6 million respectively, often to persuade Congress and government departments to use their products as well as business issues like taxes, research funding and Oracle's patent lawsuits. Google spent $1.2 million, most likely to address privacy issues such as those behind the Street View Wi-Fi controversy. It may also have used the money to compete with Microsoft for government contracts, which led to a lawsuit against the government for alleged favoritism.
Intel spent $830,000 and was likely engaged in attempts to soften the blow of the FTC antitrust settlement. Yahoo spent $540,000.