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Apple spent more than ever on lobbying as antitrust threats loom

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., July 10, 2019.Brendan McDermid | REUTERSApple spent a record $2.5 million lobbying Congress in the first quarter of 2022, more than a 34% increase from the previous quarter, according to its disclosure made public Wednesday night.The increased spending reflects, in part, mounting pressure on Apple in Washington and abroad as it faces the prospect of greater regulation. Two bills that have passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee this year, the Open App Markets Act and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, would potentially require Apple to open up its closed ecosystem on the iPhone for developers and prevent it from favoring its own apps over others’ in its app store. Apple has warned of privacy concerns such rules could raise for consumers, though the bills’ authors have said such claims are overblown.Meanwhile, Europe is readying its Digital Markets App that could have similarly profound impacts on U.S. tech businesses.The company’s disclosure outlines some key areas of focus for Apple in Washington, including on a pending slate of tech competition bills, foreign digital regulation, semiconductor funding and patent policy. Apple said it also engaged Congress on tax issues and gave general information on its diversity, environmental and coding education programs and policies.Apple still tends to be one of the lesser spenders among its Big Tech peers. Google spent $2.96 million in the quarter, a nearly 34% increase from last quarter, though still far below its own record quarterly spend that once approached $6 million.Microsoft, which has managed to sidestep the harshest of criticism leveled by lawmakers at the tech firms, reported a modest increase in spending from the previous quarter, reporting $2.54 million in lobbying, up 2.8% from the prior period.First-quarter disclosures for Amazon and Meta were not immediately available in the government’s public database.Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.WATCH: Here’s how the lobbying industry works

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