iLobby: Apple, like the rest of big tech, wants to change the rules

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After butting heads with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) on everything from iPhones to smart watches in recent years, Apple is increasing its lobbying efforts in Washington to get the agency’s rules rewritten, per the NYTimes.

Last year, the company was forced to remove a blood oxygen feature from its Apple Watch in the US after the ITC banned the product over patent infringements. Fines are something Apple can deal with, but the ITC’s ability to implement outright bans are more troubling for the iPhone maker, leading the company to lobby lawmakers to reshape the ITC’s focus towards what’s in the “public interest”.

How to spend money and influence people

While corporate America spending big to get the government onside might feel like a modern phenomenon, the practice actually dates back almost as far as the nation itself, with the first lobbyists reportedly hired back in 1792, when veterans from the Continental Army enlisted political influencers to lobby Congress for more compensation.

While the pharmaceutical industry has been the biggest spender on the lobbying scene for decades, Big Tech has been upping its government-bothering budget as scrutiny in the space has heightened. Last year, the 5 biggest consumer-facing tech companies parted ways with some $76m in the pursuits of their political interests per data from Open Secrets. In fact, Apple’s $9.86 million spend last year looks relatively frugal in comparison to Meta and Amazon, whose outlays both topped $19 million each.

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