Figures published this week indicate that Silicon Valley search giant Google more than doubled the amount of money it spent lobbying European Union officials during 2014 across a broad range of issues.
But for all that money and ear-bending, Google’s investment isn’t paying off. EU officials recently announced they were filing formal antitrust charges against Google, and were launching a second probe into the market power of Android.
According to Reuters, the top lobbying spenders in Europe remain Exxon Mobil, Anglo-Dutch Shell, and Microsoft. Each company reported spending $5 million to $5.6 million in 2014. Microsoft’s spending remains heavy following years of fighting its own antitrust battles in Europe.
Google is behind these companies, but closing fast. In 2014, Google reported spending between $3.4 million and $3.9 million. But while the top three companies were relatively flat in their spending, Google’s expenditures were up dramatically from the $1.4 million to $1.7 million the company spent on lobbying in Europe in 2013.
Companies file reports about lobbying activities and spending in the EU’s Transparency Register. In its filings, Google said its lobbying focus include innovation, jobs and growth, data protection, and intellectual property.
By contrast, Apple spent less than $1 million on lobbying in 2014, despite facing its own issues in Europe, particularly related to taxes. Facebook, facing a broad range of data investigations, spent less than $600,000. Amazon spent under $800,000.