Tencent Technology News, April 23, according to foreign media reports, in the first quarter of 2019, the retail giant Amazon's lobbying expenses broke the previous record, and for the first time in more than a decade, it has surpassed the subsidiary of Alphabet. Google’s lobbying expenses. However, Amazon’s contribution has also brought great returns, and the company is expected to win a US$10 billion cloud computing contract from the US Department of Defense.
Amazon’s influence in Washington has expanded rapidly in recent years, but it has lagged behind Google in lobbying for total spending. However, documents submitted to Congress showed that the retail giant’s lobbying spending in the first three months of 2019 was $3.9 million, up from $3.4 million in the previous period.
In the first quarter, as Google’s lobbying spending fell from $5 million a year ago to $3.4 million, Amazon became the technology company with the most lobbying spending in the United States. In the first three months of this year, Facebook’s lobbying spending increased from $3.3 million to $3.4 million. Amazon's lobbying spending in the fourth quarter of 2018 was $3.7 million, setting a single quarterly record.
The lobbying of these technology companies increased after the Democratic Party took over the House of Representatives, which led to the reshuffling of Washington, K Street, where a large number of think tanks, lobby groups, public relations companies and civil society organizations were concentrated. Appeal to Xinfei’s leadership and speak on the new agenda of the Congress, focusing on health care and prescription drug prices, trade agreements, privacy, and Donald Trump’s investigations.
Cloud computing dispute
The four tech giants who participated in the US Department of Defense's cloud computing service, “Winners Eat All”, have significantly increased their lobbying spending in the first three months of this year. Amazon and Microsoft became the two companies to bid, and Oracle and IBM were eliminated.
In the first quarter, Oracle’s lobbying spending was $1.3 million, a year-on-year increase of nearly 9%. The company launched a court battle on the bidding, claiming that the bidding process was jeopardized by conflicts of interest and unfair demands in favor of Amazon. Records show that Microsoft spent $2.8 million on lobbying, up 21% from a year ago, while IBM spent $2 million, a year-on-year increase of more than 35%.
In 2018, Amazon lobbied more government entities than any other technology company, and is now pushing to consolidate its influence, abandon its unloved trade groups, create new trade groups it likes, and send senior managers to please antitrust. Law enforcer.
Facebook faces the most frequent criticism of its tech peers in Washington because the company has repeatedly violated privacy allegations and allowed Russian agents to take advantage of Facebook's platform during the 2016 presidential campaign. In the CambridgeAnalytica scandal, the political consulting firm associated with Trump's 2016 presidential campaign received data from tens of millions of Facebook users, and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is likely to The company imposed a fine of several billion dollars.
Facebook and other tech giants are also facing increasing anger from bipartisan members. In March, Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth · Elizabeth Warren called for the spin-off of the largest technology companies, including Amazon, Google and Facebook, and a more rigorous review of major deals, such as Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods ) and Facebook to acquire Instagram and more. Amazon and Google disclosed their lobbying activities in antitrust or competition, although these documents do not always specify the exact positions of these companies on these issues.
Amazon, Facebook and Google also lobbied about privacy issues in the first quarter. At the same time, lawmakers continue their efforts to draft a national online privacy bill that regulates most areas of the digital economy. After years of data scandals, strict new regulations in Europe, and corporate concerns that state laws are difficult to comply with, the momentum of federal privacy laws is growing.
Twitter’s lobbying expenses also set a record, with spending in the first quarter of $420,000, compared to $150,000 in the same period last year.
In the telecom industry, which is dominated by large-scale mergers and acquisitions, US operator Sprint's first-quarter lobbying spending soared more than 70% to $1.4 million. The company disclosed that it will lobby for its upcoming $26.5 billion acquisition with T-Mobile US.
The acquisition will merge with the third and fourth largest wireless carriers in the United States, but has encountered obstacles in Washington. In February of this year, T-Mobile CEO John · John Legere and Sprint executive chairman Marcelo Claure came to Congress to defend the deal, which triggered consumption. And policy makers are concerned about rising prices and weakening competition.
Last week, Leger met with antitrust officials to eliminate concerns that the merger of the two companies could harm consumers. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also suspended its review of the agreement to evaluate new information from T-Mobile. The move shocked many observers who thought it was a sign that the merger might fail.
In the process of returning to Capitol Hill in March, Leger defended the cost of more than $190,000 at Trump's Washington hotel since the merger. He said that although the lawmakers were worried that he was trying to please the White House, he actually lived in the president's hotel for a long time.
AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner in February after a lawsuit. According to data disclosed by the company, in the first quarter of this year, the company's lobbying expenses decreased by more than 37% from the first three months of 2018, which was about $2.6 million.
Boeing spent $3.3 million on lobbying, nearly 10% less than a year ago. The company faced one of the worst crises in history due to two fatal crashes on the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
The two disasters prompted US lawmakers, regulators, and federal prosecutors to scrutinize the company's close relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Trump himself also announced that the United States would join other countries and stop 737 Max. 8 aircraft.
The decline in spending in the first quarter masked the long-term trend of Boeing’s lobbying spending. The company is the second-largest government contractor in the United States, and its spending on the US Political Council has almost tripled in the past decade. (Tencent Technology Review / Jinlu)