When you dominate a market the way Google dominates the search market, you will almost inevitably face antitrust allegations sooner or later. For the past two years, Google has been subject of an FTC investigation because of the way the company allegedly arranges search results to feature its own products more prominently.
Last month the Federal Trade Commission closed the case, concluding that Google had not violated antitrust or anticompetition laws. The ruling was a major victory for the search giant, who avoids a sizable fine but committed to voluntarily change some of its practices. In its quest to fend off the allegations, Google had massively upped its lobbying expenditure in the past two years. In 2012 alone, the company spent $16.5 million on lobbying, a 70 percent increase over 2011.
Compared to other companies in the tech industry, Google is by far the biggest spender in Washington. Industry heavyweights such as Microsoft and Apple spent just $8.1 and $2 million in the past year, with the latter even cutting its lobbying budget by 13 percent compared to 2011.