Apple, which is facing a torrent of antitrust investigations into different parts of its business, is reported to have spent more than 3.5million euros (roughly $4.1 million) lobbying European Union institutions.
An in-depth report on Big Tech’s influence in European politics from the Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl estimates Apple lays out between 3.5 million and 3.75 million euros on lobbying efforts aimed at EU entities.
This puts Apple behind Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, who have lobbying budgets of 5.3 million, 5.8 million and 5.3 millions euros respectively. Apple’s spending ranks sixth behind Shell and Bayer, while Microsoft, Google, and Facebook remain at the top.
Apple has 4.5 full-time equivalents of lobbyists and is still in the top tier of lobbying power. Huawei is the sector leader in infrastructure providers with 19 FTE lobbyists and Facebook with 14 FTE lobbyists. Google and Amazon operate with respective lobbyists of 5.5 FTE (and 5 FTE) each.
Big Tech companies often outsource lobbying tasks to consultants. The report found that Qualcomm, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft rely on lobby consultancies more than any other corporations. Google reported spending 1.28 million euros on 12 consulting firms, while Qualcomm and Apple spent 1.3 million.
Apple’s lobbying skills are not well-known. The company only recently started to invest in government engagement as a result of increased scrutiny. In 2019, for example, the tech giant spent $7.4 million on U.S. efforts, a fraction of what Facebook, Amazon and Google paid over the same period.
Apple’s handling of Apple Music, the App Store and smart home technology is being scrutinized by the EU. The EU found Apple to be in breach of its laws in April.