Apple lacks lobbying power in fight with EU

Apple is fighting with the European Union over $14.5 billion in taxes without the usual lobbying force of a major company, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company spent just over $1 million in 2015 lobbying the EU, when Google parent company Alphabet dropped $4.5 million and employs more than 10 full-time lobbyists. American companies lack direct national representation within EU institutions, leaving them at a disadvantage when competing against European countries who can have their national representatives lobby on their behalf. Other companies have built a strong European lobbying presence to sway investigations and potential legislation, but while CEO Tim Cook has personally made the trip to Brussels to clarify the company’s positions directly with the EU’s antitrust chief, Apple is far behind in employing locals charged with keeping a constant eye on developing situations.
People familiar with the matter said Apple was largely unsuccessful in gathering information about the years-long investigation into its European tax dealings that resulted in the massive $14.5 billion judgment against the company. Google has mounted several public relations campaigns to promote its European activities and Amazon frequently touts the ways it helps European businesses sell their products across borders. Even so, all of Google’s spending hasn’t seemed to help it gain any preferential treatment with EU regulators, leaving one person close to the investigation to admit, “I don’t know what [Apple] would have done differently. It’s not a question of behavior; it’s a question of what’s in the numbers and what’s on the table.”

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