In an effort to partially boost their new Apple Pay mobile wallet service, Apple increased their lobbying efforts to a new level in the first quarter of 2015. However, the company’s spending in Washington remains well behind rivals Google, Microsoft and others.
In a disclosure form published by the U.S. Senate this week, Apple revealed that they have spent $1.24 million on lobbying the U.S. federal government in the first quarter of calendar 2015.
The issues addressed by Apple’s lobbyists cover a pretty wide range, this includes digital textbooks, corporate tax reform, open Internet, and mobile medical applications.
A new topic also broached by lobbyists this quarter, as noted by Bloomberg, was mobile payments, a market that the company entered in late 2014 with the launch of Apple Pay.
The U.S. government announced in February that they will accept Apple Pay for a number of transactions, starting with admission to U.S. national parks, in September.
The $1.24 million spent by Apple represents a 16% year over year increase from the first quarter of 2014.
However, Apple’s spending comes nowhere near or close to rival Google, which invested a record $5.47 million into their lobbying efforts in the first quarter of 2015, according to nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog.
Google’s spending was a big 43% increase from the $3.82 million the company spent in the same quarter a year ago.
In addition with a major increase was Comcast, which is fighting to have their proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable approved. Despite growing their lobbying spend 50% to $4.62 million, it’s expected that the U.S. Department of Justice will block the deal.
Facebook also outspent Apple by a significant amount, digging up $2.44 million for lobbying efforts in Washington. And software giant Microsoft also spent $1.89 million. Both companies’ lobbying bills were down year over year, however.
Amazon increased their lobbying efforts by 130% in the first quarter, spending $1.91 million to help influence the government. Other noteworthy companies include Intel ($1.17 million), AT&T ($4.37 million), Verizon ($3.35 million), Time Warner Cable ($1.7 million), and Yahoo ($730,000).
Last year, Apple spent a record $4.1 million to lobby the U.S. government, which is an 18% increase from the $3.4 million they spent in 2013.
Many sources are saying that if the start of 2015 is any indication, Apple will likely again see another increase through the end of the year.
Apple did not cross or pass the $1 million threshold on lobbying until 2006, and continues to spend relatively little on lobbying compared to their position as the biggest company in the world by market capitalization.