Google spent more than $4 million on lobbying last year, according to the latest reports it filed with the Senate. That figure is a huge leap from the $2.8 million it spent a year ago, as All Things D's Kara Swisher points out, but still less than the $6.7 million that Microsoft spent. (A decline from the $8.9 million the software maker spent in 2008, Swisher writes.)
Mercury News columnist Chris O'Brien surmises Google's increase on its lobbying expenditure equals its growing reach and interests.
The company's transition from upstart to Goliath has multiplied its legal and policy problems. There may be no better measure of this phenomenon than Google's expansion of its lobbying activities on Capitol Hill.
In just five years, the search engine giant has gone from almost no presence in Washington to spending more money on lobbying than all but one other Silicon Valley company in 2009... Google seems determined not to repeat the mistake Microsoft made in the 1990s when the software company ignored politics until it was ensnared in an epic antitrust lawsuit.
For comparison, IBM spent $5.4 million on lobbying in 2009, Yahoo $2 million, Apple $1.5 million, and Oracle was No. 1 in the valley with $5.1 million, according to a Mercury News chart.
And who is helping these companies navigate Washington? Google for one is getting help from K-Street companies like Podesta Group and Dutko, which was acquired by Huntsworth last fall, according to public documents filed by the company as required under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
As a newcomer to Washington, Facebook, which only registered in June 2009, relied on an in-house team, spending about $207k, according to filing. It hired privacy advocate Timothy Sparapani in June to spearhead and grow its Washington agenda.