Among the major search engines, Microsoft is still the biggest spender when it comes to lobbying politicians, but none are spending lobbying dollars faster than Google. According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Google’s spend on lobbying has gone from $260,000 in 2005 to more than $4 million in 2009, an increase of more than 1,500%.
As Google has grown, its business interests have clearly led to wanting a stronger voice in Washington, DC. We’ve documented the Department of Justice’s opposition to Google’s Book Search Settlement and the company’s legal speedbumps over Street View many times in the past. Late last year, the FTC announced it would look more closely at Google’s AdMob purchase. And with Google expanding away from search into the telephone, business software, and other industries, government lobbying becomes even more important. Indeed, the CRP says Google has lobbied on a variety of issues ranging from advertising and copyright to energy and even homeland security.
Google’s increase in lobbying expenses even has the company closing the gap on Microsoft, which spends the most on lobbying of the main three search engine companies. While Google’s lobbying spend was up 42% in 2009, Microsoft’s was down 24% to $6.7 million.
Although it’s lower, that total still puts Microsoft at the head of the class in the CRP’s tracking of Computer/Internet industry lobbying, ahead of IBM, Oracle, the Entertainment Software Association, and Google (in fifth place).
Yahoo is on the list, but its lobbying spending also declined in 2009 to $1.97 million, a 16% drop from $2.35 million in 2008.
As you’d expect, some of Yahoo’s lobbying issues in 2009 were on antitrust issues and “educational efforts around the Microsoft/Yahoo! search deal.”