Not hard to connect the dots on this one. It’s a massive shakedown, at the highest levels. The fact that it’s govt. and politicians and not local mafioso in bad track suits make it no less a shakedown.
D.C. Wants a Bite at the Apple – David Boaz – Cato Institute: According to Politico, the daily newspaper of lobbyists and political consultants, industry giant Apple spent a mere $500,000 in Washington in the first quarter of 2012, compared to more than $7 million Google and Microsoft spent on lobbying and related activities from January through March of this year.
Then Politico lowers the boom: “The company’s attitude toward D.C. — described by critics as ‘don’t bother us’ — has left it without many inside-the-Beltway friends.”
With a rising position in the market has come endless, reflexive scrutiny. The biggest example: The Federal Trade Commission has started rumbling about Apple’s threat to competition. Note the absurdity here. Apple creates whole new products and industries, consumer benefits that didn’t exist before — and the federal government wrings its hands about the possibility that it’s somehow going to “limit” competition in a market it created.
It’s not just the FTC. The Justice Department’s antitrust division is investigating Apple’s e-book pricing arrangements. The U.S. International Trade Commission has conducted investigations into Apple’s wireless patents (finally clearing Apple in one recent case). And congressional committees regularly pressure the company about how smartphone apps — which a very savvy consumer marketplace is perfectly capable of monitoring on its own — might threaten privacy or enable illegal activity.
Make no mistake: This will continue unless and until Apple gets with the program and starts spending a few million a year on Washington lobbying.