Apple spends record high to lobby against antitrust issues

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Apple spent $2.5 million on political lobbying in the first quarter of 2022, a record high as the company faces increased App Store antitrust pressure from Congress.

In 2021 it was Amazon and Meta that were spending record high amounts on lobbying, while Apple actually decreased its own spend. Now filings covering the first quarter of 2022 show that Apple has stepped up its efforts as it tries to combat proposed legislation that could mean changes to its App Store.

According to Bloomberg, Apple spent $2.5 million from January 2022, through to March 2022. That's an increase of over 34% on its $1.86 million spend in Q4 2021, and more than 13% higher than the previous record of $2.2 million in Q2 2017.

Even as it decreased spending overall in 2021, Apple still mounted what was described by the Campaign for Accountability as "aggressive" lobbying tactics. Those efforts were focused on Arizona, Georgia, and other states where proposed legislation threatened the App Store's policies.

Now in the new filing seen by Bloomberg, Apple has disclosed that it has lobbied on dozens of issues. These include antitrust bills such as the Open App Markets Act, which is opposed to app stores being required to allow third-party payment systems.

In the same quarter, Google spent $2.96 million on lobbying, which is also 34% more than at the end of 2021, but the same as it spend in Q1 2021. Microsoft spent $2.5 million, an increase of 2.8% since Q4 2021, but 1.9% down on the Q1 2021.