Google and Yahoo Small Fries In Lobbying
When it comes to lobbying Congress, Google and Yahoo are relative lightweights compared to other companies. Both companies combined spent about $1.3 million last quarter–$730,000 from Google and $630,000 from Yahoo. Microsoft nearly doubled them, and Verizon, as a single company, has spent three times as much as all three.
What issues were Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo lobbying legislators for?
Many of the issues overlap. All three went to bat on patent reform, opening up wireless spectrum and specifically "white spaces," and cyber security and anti-phishing/spyware/malware initiatives. All three also lobbied on legislation regarding sex crimes—Google on efforts to crack down on child pornography, Yahoo on requiring registered sex offenders to provide the federal government with email addresses, instant messaging names and social networking handles for use in a national system, and Microsoft also on measures against online predators.
Google and Yahoo share the goal of keeping regulators out of online advertising, especially in regard to their recent ad partnership. Microsoft, as expected, is on the opposite side of that one.
Google and Yahoo also agree that legislation should be passed making it illegal for US companies hosting Internet content to give users’ personal information to governments like China, who restrict access—sort of a "protect us from ourselves" initiative.
Google and Microsoft can agree on legislation for mapping the (true) availability of high-speed Internet access and making broadband access more available. They’re also both fans of H-1B visa reform.
Microsoft and Yahoo team up in lobbying efforts regarding piracy, intellectual property, and copyrights.
Google, with a former McCain aid on their lobbying staff, goes after network neutrality legislation, while Microsoft croons about trade and taxes, and Yahoo speaks toward better online privacy.
The combined spending of all three don’t match the least spent by the top 20 so far this year. Number 20 on that list, the National Association of Broadcasters have already shelled out $5.6 million this year in their efforts to sway Congress. The US Chamber of Commerce, representing about 3 million businesses trumps them all soundly by cranking out $22.3 million.
That top 20 is telling for the conspiracy theory minded, made up of, after the Chamber of Commerce and the AARP, defense contractors, media companies, medical, pharmaceutical, and insurance lobbies, and of course cable and telecommunications companies. Verizon leads that last pack, shelling out $8.9 million already.
Last year a total of $2.82 billion was spent lobbying Congress, according to OpenSecrets.org, and 2008 is well on its way to surpassing the $3 billion mark.