A deep dive into the aggressive lobbying tactics that Apple is using to fight app store bills in Georgia, Arizona, North Dakota, Louisiana, and other US states

A deep dive into the aggressive lobbying tactics that Apple is using to fight app store bills in Georgia, Arizona, North Dakota, Louisiana, and other US states

A deep dive into the aggressive lobbying tactics that Apple is using to fight app store bills in Georgia, Arizona, North Dakota, Louisiana, and other US states (Emily Birnbaum/Politico)

A deep dive into the aggressive lobbying tactics that Apple is using to fight app store bills in Georgia, Arizona, North Dakota, Louisiana, and other US states — Poorly resourced state governments are no match for the lobbying firepower of Apple, the most valuable company in the world.

This is the story about how Apple overcame Georgia with the help of its lobbying machine

There is no denying the fact that state governments with limited resources cannot compete against Apple, one of the most valuable companies in the world, when it comes to lobbying.

There were two bills in Georgia this year that Apple wanted killed off, and it rushed lobbyists to the state legislature, threatened the state attorney general with abandonment of key economic projects, and pushed for an amendment that was Apple-friendly.

In the Georgia House Judiciary Committee, a bill that had seemed to be on the verge of gaining momentum in two months hit a snag. Due to the fact that the legislation was not brought to a vote by the committee chair during this year’s legislative session, it was effectively killed in the lower house of the legislature.

The aggressive lobbying efforts carried out by Apple in Georgia, the extent of which were previously unknown, highlight a pattern that has played out across the country without much national attention over the past few months: State lawmakers introduced legislation that would compel Apple and Google to give up some control over their app stores for mobile phones. As a result, Apple in particular exerts intense pressure on lawmakers to consider legislation, promising to invest in the economy or threatening to pull its money in the event that the legislation is not passed.

Rep. Regina Cobb, a Republican lawmaker in Arizona who championed a bill that would have prevented Apple from placing its apps on the App Store in her state, said, “Apple has been able to intimidate and use a lot of money” to kill legislation in her state. During her time with Apple in other states, Cobb says it was important to follow Apple’s playbook closely. “Each state has its own way of doing it, but when it comes down to it, it is all about strong-arming the legislature in a way that suits their agenda.”

As a result, I think lawmakers are running a little scared and saying, they are not going to touch this, they are not going to touch this, because it could have a negative impact on them in the future. I believe they are running a little scared because they are throwing those dollars around.

The state legislatures are often able to move more rapidly and with greater flexibility than the federal government, which means they are more likely to be able to take action on issues that are complex and controversial. Although poorly equipped local lawmakers have been unable to hold their own against Apple’s lobbying firepower, despite the fact that Apple has hired key state lobbyists to work on its behalf and has focused on killing legislation that threatens the company’s bottom line with the aim of protecting its interests.

Although Google has also lobbyist against many of these state-level bills, it has been Apple that has been the most aggressive and visible opponent across a wide range of states, which has marked a shift for a company that has long been seen to take a quieter approach to lobbying than its competitors.

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