Home Technology In the midst of the DMA, Apple doubled its lobbying spending in...

In the midst of the DMA, Apple doubled its lobbying spending in Europe


” [Nous sommes] concerned about certain provisions [qui] will create unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities for our users, while others will prohibit us from charging for the intellectual property in which we invest heavily. » This is the very bitter reaction of Apple after the agreement in principle reached by the European institutions around the Digital Markets Act (DMA) at the end of March.

The company has however gone to great lengths to influence this new regulation which will upset its management of iOS; it doubled its lobbying expenditures at the European Commission and the European Parliament year on year. In the current financial year from October 2019 to September 2020, his lobbying expenses were between 3.5 and 3.7 million euros. For the last financial year from October 2020 to September 2021, they reach between 6.5 and 7 million euros, according to Apple’s transparency declaration. Apple has considerably strengthened its team of influencers by mobilizing 21 lobbyists (7.2 full-time equivalent) against 9 (4.5 full-time equivalent) previously.

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Thierry Breton, European Commissioner responsible for the internal market and one of the architects of the DMA/DSA. Image European Parliament (CC BY).

Recruited by Apple in November 2021 as director of government affairs in the European Union, Michelle O’Neill replaced Hendrik Bourgeois as chief lobbyist. Among the eight employees accredited to access the European Parliament buildings is Sébastien Gros, a former senior French official who started at Apple as head of public affairs for France (he had responded to a Senate committee in 2020).

Since October 2020, all these beautiful people have met Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, or members of his cabinet at least five times. Meetings were almost as numerous with the cabinet of Margrethe Vestager, or the Vice-President of the Commission herself. The list of meetings can be downloaded here. Much has been said about the DMA, the regulation on the commercial practices of large digital platforms, but also about the Digital Services Act (DSA), another package of measures aimed at guaranteeing an online environment. “safe and responsible”.

Apple is not the only company to have tried to weigh on the DMA and the DSA, Google also fired all the woods by spending 6 million euros and employing 8 lobbyists. The search engine also did not appreciate the agreement reached at the end of March, considering that it creates “potential risks for innovation and the variety of choices offered to Europeans. »

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