InfoShot: US tech firms lobbying spend in 2015

To Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Tobacco and Big Banking, you can now add Big Tech.                                     

Paul Harris, Guardian


Throughout 2015 and for several years now, we have been keeping tabs on how much the tech giants of Silicon Valley and beyond were spending on lobbying. The latest figures for Q4 have just been released, giving us the total spend for 2015.

The top ten tech highest spenders on lobbying spent $78.4 million in 2015 trying to curry favour in Washington. This figure is higher than compared to last year; equivalent spending for top ten in 2014 was $64.47 million.

Once again, Google came out top, spending $16.7 million lobbying Washington. A slight decrease on 2014’s figure, the search giant’s agenda included the TTP and TPP trade agreements, IP protection, Innovation, Safe Harbor, privacy, cyber-security, wind power, immigration and skills, tax reform, spectrum allocation, autonomous vehicles, drones, and more.

Although the top ten was actually unchanged from 2014 and Google actually spent less, certain companies ramped up their efforts. Amazon’s spending more than doubled. As well as similar subjects to Google, other issues Jeff Bezos’ company wanted discussed on Capitol Hill included copyright, the postal system, and mobile payments.

Qualcomm’s jumped nearly $2 million, as did Oracle’s. HP’s combined spending for both HP Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise – the company split and reregistered separately during the year – was roughly unchanged at $5.2 million, although the Enterprise business spent more after the two went their separate ways. Blackberry’s spending, once in the millions, has fallen to zero for the whole year.

Outside the top ten there were almost 20 companies spending more than $1 million on lobbying, including tech staples such as IBM, EMC, Yahoo!, Accenture, Dell, Cisco, Samsung, SAP, and Adobe. Few of the world’s Unicorns have entered the world of politics with the exception of Palantir ($1 million), Salesforce ($730,000 – nearly doubled its 2014 spend), Uber ($570,000 – more than triple its 2014 spend), and Magic Leap ($180,000).



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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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