Apple not paying off Washington might be costing them in the courts

Apple spends far, far less time and money lobbying and otherwise making nice with Washington politicos than their competitors like Google and Amazon. That lack of pragmatism might be costing them in recent DOJ investigations and court proceedings, at least according to Steve Friess at Politico:

The company marches to its own iTunes, spending little on lobbying, rarely joining trade associations and, in a pattern that's become more pronounced this summer, refusing to negotiate or settle in many lawsuits.

Experts say Apple's tried-and-true approach is starting to backfire, as the company has already taken at least one big hit in a high-profile e-books trial. A recent landmark D.C. appearance by CEO Tim Cook may reflect a new reality for Apple: that direct engagement with lawmakers, regulators and rivals is more effective than trying to remain above it all.

Back-room dealings and old-boys-clubs is likely nothing new in Washington, but clearly also a game Apple's not used to playing. As distasteful as it is, Apple's odds of escaping unscathed with their relative innocence intact must be nearly zero. Like John Gruber of Daring Fireball says:

In other words, word on the street in Washington is that it's a shakedown, pure and simple. The smart move for Apple would be to just pay up, but that's sad.

As good as Steve Jobs made Apple in product, and as good as Tim Cook made them in logistics, they need someone who can make them just as savvy in political machinations. Maybe a laser-focused "executive chairman" all their own?

Source: Politico via Daring Fireball