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MacRumors
Sep 3, 2007, 11:01 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

The Associated Press (via Forbes.com (http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/08/30/ap4070569.html)) reveals that Apple has spent $720,000 on lobbying the U.S. Federal Government thus-far in 2007.

Topics of interest to Apple appear to be updating the U.S. patent system, and advocacy of bills to increase funding for technology in education and provide tax breaks for spending on research and development.

Many technology companies, including Apple, are interested in an update to the patent system that would help weed out bad patents by allowing companies to re-evaluate them after they are granted. Such an update could limit costly court battles.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/09/03/apples-2007-lobbying-patent-system-reform-education-tax-breaks/)



macpeter
Sep 3, 2007, 11:09 AM
Anything which supports research must be good :)

bobobo
Sep 3, 2007, 11:16 AM
Dam aristocracy. I love Apple's engineering while not perfect or even properly done. I can not stand aristocracy. I am going to have to say I am not happy about the political situation in America.

BKKbill
Sep 3, 2007, 11:19 AM
Not much in the scheme of things but if anything can help slow down the constant and never ending court battles. I'm sure Apple spends this much for lawyers in a day.

DaBrain
Sep 3, 2007, 11:20 AM
Dam aristocracy. I love Apple's engineering while not perfect or even properly done. I can not stand aristocracy. I am going to have to say I am not happy about the political situation in America.

You and millions of others! :(

swingerofbirch
Sep 3, 2007, 12:38 PM
I don't really get all this stuff about technology in education. To me it just seems like buzz words. Computers for the purpose of educating are evolutionary and not revolutionary. Computers bring text, media, and communication together. We've already had all those elements in books, videos, and human interaction.

To me the idea of teaching a child to use a computer is like going to school to teach a child to watch television. You're just teaching a child to be a consumer. I hope that when they say they want more technology in education they mean actually bringing children closer to the technology, in terms of programming, etc, and not just becoming proficient technology consumers.

For example, those one-to-one laptop programs to me seem like a waste of money. I don't think it's vital for a child to learn any particular program or operating system, but to learn to become sharp at problem-solving in a variety of situations. A few years ago when I was in high school, I volunteered to be on the school's long-term range planning committee. The IT specialist reccomended phasing out all the Macs since most students once they entered the work force would be using Windows-based computers. I asked him point-blank: do you have evidence to show that students benefit from learning how to use only one operating system? I didn't push it further, but learning to be a Windows-user means you would be prepared for a job doing rather menial work, not for creating new paradigms in computing.

I think we have to be careful that corporations don't push computer usage for the sole purpose of selling more of their products.

twoodcc
Sep 3, 2007, 01:04 PM
Anything which supports research must be good :)

not necessarily, but i think i know what you mean. and in this case, i'm sure it's good :)

iJawn108
Sep 3, 2007, 02:04 PM
increase funding for technology in education
more schools buying macs for their computer labs.

retrocool
Sep 3, 2007, 02:14 PM
That's a waste of $720k, because no honest politician is influenced by lobbying.

:)

retrocool

Babasyzygy
Sep 3, 2007, 02:26 PM
That's a waste of $720k, because no honest politician is influenced by lobbying.


Then you don't understand what activities can be covered by the word "lobbying." A lot of it can be providing basic education, or providing different perspectives, on issues. For example, the EFF's lobbying efforts are very important for educating legislators on the importance of Fair Use where they would otherwise only be hearing the voice of Big Media.

Unfortunately legislators are human and do not have perfect knowledge on everything upon which they vote.

kuebby
Sep 3, 2007, 02:56 PM
Then you don't understand what activities can be covered by the word "lobbying." A lot of it can be providing basic education, or providing different perspectives, on issues. For example, the EFF's lobbying efforts are very important for educating legislators on the importance of Fair Use where they would otherwise only be hearing the voice of Big Media.

Unfortunately legislators are human and do not have perfect knowledge on everything upon which they vote.

Very true, and I think this is especially relevant about the current patent situation where the obvious answer seems to be that patents should be easy to receive when, in fact, we can see this isn't the case.

Jenny1
Sep 3, 2007, 03:19 PM
It is a whole lot of $$$

Letting big companies have tax breaks, Hmmm... Don't let "Big Apple" get off easy! LOL

Stephen123
Sep 3, 2007, 04:51 PM
So what this story comes down to is that Apple has a very small lobbying budget for a company of its size, and does some surprisingly benign lobbying.

CalBoy
Sep 3, 2007, 05:29 PM
So what this story comes down to is that Apple has a very small lobbying budget for a company of its size, and does some surprisingly benign lobbying.

Well, we don't know what Apple's 501 budget is. Lobbying has sadly moved on from the traditional "here's a check senator" to PACs that have massive budgets and then endorse candidates during election season. It's a little loophole in the law because 501s can give a lot more than most corporations can due to the legal limits imposed on corporations for campaign donations. I guess modern voting has boiled down to choosing between a "douche" and a "terd sandwich" as the creators of South Park so eloquently remind us.

Timothy Flint
Sep 3, 2007, 05:42 PM
Politicians are not smart. When they think of money, they think of Microsoft. Apple has got to be there to let then know there is an alternative.

CalBoy
Sep 3, 2007, 05:47 PM
Politicians are not smart. When they think of money, they think of Microsoft. Apple has got to be there to let then know there is an alternative.

I think politicians are actually more likely to be Mac users than you think. Al Gore, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and many others in the political arena, are Mac users. Remember, politicians usually have one track minds, but they also want only the best for themselves;)

newguineafan
Sep 3, 2007, 07:08 PM
Why, oh, why is Apple joining the evil capitalist companies by lobbying? Just kidding.

At least they're lobbying for a good cause though.

exigentsky
Sep 3, 2007, 07:18 PM
I'm glad Apple is doing something to, hopefully, improve the situation with software patents. It's pretty crazy now. This should be evident considering that Amazon patented 1-click buying. Software patents in general are not a good idea. It's like trying to patent e = mc^2.

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/amazon.html

Analog Kid
Sep 3, 2007, 07:24 PM
The patent system is broken beyond repair, in my opinion. They are too expensive for individuals and too easy for large corporations. They aren't protecting innovation anymore, but rather are being used to threaten bankruptcy through litigation. Much of a patent depends on what is "obvious to one skilled in the art" but they aren't litigated by people skilled in the art. Judges and juries don't have unique qualifications in the field being litigated and it isn't feasible to expect them to. The number of bad patents in circulation is sickening.

I like the idea of patents-- the idea of protecting innovation in exchange for teaching others the methods used in order to spur further innovation in the field. I like the belief that someone clever enough can carve out a place for themselves by being rewarded for their innovation though temporary exclusivity. In practice though, it's not about the quality of the innovation but rather the size of your legal budget.

The article doesn't really say much about what Apple would like to see changed. If they're looking to stop bad patents from being approved (because right now the USPTO basically says that having a patent issued is only a mild endorsement at best, and can only be tested in court) then it has to be done in a way that doesn't increase the cost to smaller players. The place that the most changes need to be made, however, is in litigation.

To me the idea of teaching a child to use a computer is like going to school to teach a child to watch television. You're just teaching a child to be a consumer. I hope that when they say they want more technology in education they mean actually bringing children closer to the technology, in terms of programming, etc, and not just becoming proficient technology consumers.

For example, those one-to-one laptop programs to me seem like a waste of money. I don't think it's vital for a child to learn any particular program or operating system, but to learn to become sharp at problem-solving in a variety of situations. A few years ago when I was in high school, I volunteered to be on the school's long-term range planning committee. The IT specialist reccomended phasing out all the Macs since most students once they entered the work force would be using Windows-based computers. I asked him point-blank: do you have evidence to show that students benefit from learning how to use only one operating system? I didn't push it further, but learning to be a Windows-user means you would be prepared for a job doing rather menial work, not for creating new paradigms in computing.

I think we have to be careful that corporations don't push computer usage for the sole purpose of selling more of their products.
Using any one operating system does give kids exposure to concepts used in all operating systems. Computers are still seen as mysticism to many, and giving kids exposure to them so they can be confident in using a tool that is becoming ubiquitous is a good thing, in my opinion.

EricNau
Sep 3, 2007, 07:27 PM
That's a waste of $720k, because no honest politician is influenced by lobbying.

:)

retrocool
And lucky for Apple there's not a single honest politician in the U.S. Government. :)

BTW
Sep 3, 2007, 09:23 PM
That's a waste of $720k, because no honest politician is influenced by lobbying.

:)

retrocool


I'm sure they only shopped for the dishonest ones. Then again $720k doesn't buy you many of those. ;)

MikeTheC
Sep 3, 2007, 09:51 PM
Ok, some thoughts on this...

First off, I remember an interview with Steve Jobs where he basically said that the notion of computers making education better -- on their own -- was just wrong, and has been proven so by numerous studies. What Steve's stated position was, as I recall, is that you have to recognize that computers are a means, and not an end.

The problem with many schools' implementation of technology in their curriculum is that they use it as an end. The computer becomes a babysitter instead of just another tool, like paper, pencils, chalk and chalk boards, etc. This methodology isn't getting us anywhere, other than perhaps in the area of basic computer literacy. However, concomitant with achieving instructed computer literacy is having educators who are, themselves, computer literate and not computer phobic. And frankly far too many of the teachers I have either met or heard about anecdotally are computer illiterate. I mean, if a teacher can't tell the difference between network- or Internet-related web browsing issues and the fact that their monitor is turned off or unplugged, then how the heck can you expect that person to ever effectively instruct their students in technology?

Putting more computers in schools in and of itself is about as useless as simply (and endlessly) pumping more and more money into the schools. Neither of them represent a direct mechanism of, nor a direct path for, the much-needed educational improvement in this country.

Secondly, let's look at exposure to one OS vis a vis exposure to multiple operating systems.

I've made this argument on this message board before, so if it seems a bit familiar to you, then no, it's not just your monitor or the brand of cola you've been drinking.

The computer world used to include a cornucopic verisimilitude in both OS and hardware platforms, and that essentially coalesced by about 1994, polarizing into a MacOS/Windows world. And look at what's happened since. If you were to conduct a survey, you would find that most people you'd ask who presently own a computer never owned one prior to 1994, or 1995. And since most people who have owned computers from that time forward have owned Microsoft OS product-driven computers, it follows that most people today know nothing but Microsoft OS-based computers. This is something which Microsoft happens to exploit the living daylights out of, and is perhaps the single biggest reason (though not the only one) they've been able for so long to maintain their monopoly even in spite of their product's poor quality. This is a perfect example of the paradigm that "Ubiquity trumps Everything".

I started using computers back in 1985, and really got into things (and into the mix) around 1987, while in high school. With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien and King Theoden, I'm fortunate in my friends. I've used Apple IIs, C64s and C128s, Tandy computers including their CoCo, TRS-80s, and more, IBM-PCs running DOS, Amigas, Ataris -- in other words, a large portion of the gamut -- and so I am very cognizant of the nature, the existence and the benefits of alternatives. I also hail from a time where the computer enthusiast movement abounded. Now-a-days, it's a totally comoditized market with few true practitioners, and mostly just freeloaders and those who want to have the status without actually rolling up their sleeves and doing anything to earn it.

I have incalculably benefitted from using more than one OS; and I have equally-well benefitted from learning from those who were (and still are) computer enthusiasts. Anyone who argues the view contrary to this one is wrong, ignorant and hopelessly short-sighted. (They're also a few other things, but I won't mention those words here since this is a "family-friendly" message board.)

Thirdly, let's take a look at the software patent situation.

This is a joke, and it's the worst kind of joke. It's turned a system that was supposed to spur innovation into a monster which stifles innovation in favor of valuing only the first person to "get there". It's turned the system upside down and into a minefield, and if it hasn't already it's sure to soon become the bane of America's -- and perhaps the world's -- existence. The E.U. shot down software patents, and while I'm proud of them for it, I'm ashamed of my own government for not doing the same thing.

Hey, I've got an idea. How about in this next election cycle, we kick everyone out of office everywhere, and put in nothing but brand new people. Sure, they may not know the ropes, and yes they might not act as a cohesive whole, but at least it won't be such an easy job for the business world to control all of them. And maybe, just maybe, if they don't go passing as many new laws, we won't have as many bad laws and future battles to fight.

CalBoy
Sep 3, 2007, 10:38 PM
Hey, I've got an idea. How about in this next election cycle, we kick everyone out of office everywhere, and put in nothing but brand new people. Sure, they may not know the ropes, and yes they might not act as a cohesive whole, but at least it won't be such an easy job for the business world to control all of them. And maybe, just maybe, if they don't go passing as many new laws, we won't have as many bad laws and future battles to fight.

First off, let me say that I like your writing. Most of us here(including me!) don't usually bother with well structured arguments. Well done:)

However, with that part of your post^^^, I have some issues. I don't know what state you live in, but in California, all Assembly members and State Senators have term limits. I believe they are currently two terms each (equal to four years for Assembly members and I think eight years for senators). This sounds good right? New blood is guaranteed every few years right? Wrong. What ends up happening is political aids and lobbyists (there's that word again;)) end up "helping" the newely elected senators and assemblymen. In essence, the office is on a continual rotation, with the only constant being the root cause of the problem. In truth, the more experience a politician has, the less likely they are to lose sight of the more important long-term goals of a government.

For example, LBJ was a career politician. His strength was in parliamentary politics. His ability to control both the House and the Senate within a matter of years was amazing. Now contrast this with the fairly young and inexperienced JFK. Sure JFK looked good on TV, but in reality, he was a poor leader. Most of his ambitions were blocked by his own party in the House and Senate. Only LBJ's relationships with powerful senators and House leaders allowed some legislation to go through. History shows us that in the end, after more than two years, JFK hadn't been able to pass any meaningful legislation. Contrast this with LBJ, who after only two years, was able to craft and pass landmark legislation, including the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, and Medicaid. Johnson's experience was what allowed him to do all this.

Now, if we were to kick out all the people we could in 2008, which would include 435 House members and leaders, the President (duh), and 33 Senators, and even if we were able to stop all lobbying, donations by corporations (and consequently individuals as well), we would have an entrenched Senate. With a 67 vote majority, there would be endless pigeon holding, filibustering, and "Nay" votes on the floor. No president would be able to sign a law which dies on the Senate floor, and our situation might end up being worse because there would be a fear to act. Not to mention the fact that the newely elected House members and leaders (remember, 435 of them) would have to learn procedure before they would be effective as leaders.

So I guess it comes down to the fact that the only people who are strong enough to stand politics are the very people we have elected right now (or those we will elect in a year and two months).

I think a much better solution would be to demand more out of our reps. There's nothing wrong with making them disclose who they speak with, who they associate with, and from whom they've recieved money. If we want a better government, it's up to us to demand one.

Mgkwho
Sep 3, 2007, 10:50 PM
I don't think it's a waste of money. The issues seem wholly positive to me, so go Apple.

-=|Mgkwho

EricNau
Sep 3, 2007, 10:58 PM
Exactly how should I interpret, "provide tax breaks for company spending on research and development"?

...Said company would be given tax breaks for product R&D? I'm not sure I understand why companies should be given tax breaks for developing new products. :confused:

MikeTheC
Sep 3, 2007, 10:59 PM
CalBoy -- thank you for the kind words.

Actually, I wonder if the "fear to act" factor would be worse than what we've got today. How are we to know that anything the government does was in fact the "right" thing unless we had access to an alternate universe where the government did the opposite thing, or did nothing? The truth is we don't, really. We suspect and we believe, but we don't really know.

I sometimes wonder if taking a more chaos-centric approach and simply trying out different avenues of action -- even though this would be somewhat more costly in the short run -- might not produce better results in the long run.

Ugg
Sep 3, 2007, 11:34 PM
I don't really get all this stuff about technology in education. To me it just seems like buzz words. Computers for the purpose of educating are evolutionary and not revolutionary. Computers bring text, media, and communication together. We've already had all those elements in books, videos, and human interaction.

To me the idea of teaching a child to use a computer is like going to school to teach a child to watch television. You're just teaching a child to be a consumer. I hope that when they say they want more technology in education they mean actually bringing children closer to the technology, in terms of programming, etc, and not just becoming proficient technology consumers.

For example, those one-to-one laptop programs to me seem like a waste of money.

Buying books, videos and music isn't consumerism?

I think we're at a crossroads as far as technology in the classroom is concerned. School boards, teachers and IT departments have in many cases failed to maximize the benefits of computers.

Why buy textbooks, videos, video equipment, etc, etc, when computers can easily replace all of that? Not only replace but do so cheaper.

Textbooks are increasingly written for the lowest common denominator. Dumbed down for extremist and fundamentalist school districts. Doing so does a disservice to education.

By using computers, a teacher has the ability to expose a student to multiple viewpoints instantly. Kids aren't stupid, they know when they're being misled.

Few kids will ever grow up to become IT specialists. It would seem really stupid to force them all into the IT field.

The world is run by computers. Do you want your kid to grow up computer illiterate?

CalBoy
Sep 3, 2007, 11:50 PM
Actually, I wonder if the "fear to act" factor would be worse than what we've got today. How are we to know that anything the government does was in fact the "right" thing unless we had access to an alternate universe where the government did the opposite thing, or did nothing? The truth is we don't, really. We suspect and we believe, but we don't really know.

I sometimes wonder if taking a more chaos-centric approach and simply trying out different avenues of action -- even though this would be somewhat more costly in the short run -- might not produce better results in the long run.

Sure, we'll never know whether our decisions were the right ones, but if we think objectively, we can measure ourselves pretty well. For example, despite all the bad things we hear about politics, politicians, and the decision making process, there are some positives that come out of our government. For example, we now have laws which protect consumers from identity theft and laws which allow consumers to know their own credit score and credit history. Thus, there is some good that goes with the bad.

However, on balance, we humans are slow learners. We have to be taught the same lessons over and over again. Each time, it is manifested through different people, social customs, and regions. On the whole, we like to deny others what we have, because we think that it is the only way to preserve a "good" life. In reality, when we extend to others what we have, life improves for all. This concept has been repeated since the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War II, the break down of the British Empire, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Movement, and now the Gay Rights Movement. Each time, there was a large group of people who sought to prevent change because they thought it would bring an end to their way of life, and each time, they were proven wrong. In light of that, I guess our grade as a civilization is an F, because despite all the tests and challenges we've endured as a nation, we refuse to learn from these tests.

If we were to take a chaotic approach, there would be a lot of losers and only a few gainers. In the constant change, relatively few would be able to have what most have today. We could however have simulations and think tanks to consider many options. That is way to test chaos before adminstering it to 300 million people.

AppleiMac
Sep 4, 2007, 12:24 AM
Wow, this isn't that large of an amount to be spent on lobbying for a big company like Apple. I would think it would be in the millions, like it is for the auto industry.

fastbite
Sep 4, 2007, 03:04 AM
Wow, this isn't that large of an amount to be spent on lobbying for a big company like Apple. I would think it would be in the millions, like it is for the auto industry.

Totally agree, the amounts is peanuts.

moramicro
Sep 4, 2007, 03:23 AM
http://www.cnbc.com/id/20519095/for/cnbc/
Apple Paid Lobbyist $120,000
Updated: 9:47 a.m. PT Aug 31, 2007

WASHINGTON - Apple Inc. paid Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw LLP $120,000 to lobby the federal government in the first half of 2007, according to a recent disclosure form.

The firm lobbied on issues related to the European Union's intellectual property policies, according to the form posted online Aug. 13 by the Senate's public records office.

Apple is being pressured in Europe to license its digital rights management technology to rival companies so iTunes users can play the music they buy there on any digital music player.

Besides Congress, the firm lobbied the State Department, U.S. Trade Representative's office and the White House.

Under a federal law enacted in 1995, lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches. They must register with Congress within 45 days of being hired or engaging in lobbying.

Apple is based in Cupertino, Calif.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

aLoC
Sep 4, 2007, 03:28 AM
Well I'm sure that money could have been spent on something more productive but there are too many laws.

ddubbo
Sep 4, 2007, 04:23 AM
Why, oh, why is Apple joining the evil capitalist companies by lobbying? Just kidding.

At least they're lobbying for a good cause though.
Good cause? To buy a lot of white plastic boxes in account of healthy food at schools, sport, safety and outdoor activity?

SPUY767
Sep 4, 2007, 07:56 AM
It is a whole lot of $$$

Letting big companies have tax breaks, Hmmm... Don't let "Big Apple" get off easy! LOL

Tax breaks on R & D are a good idea. Sure, they help apple quite a bit as Apple's R&D budget is gargantuan compared to most, but tax breaks might encourage a little more life in the rest of the industry where innovation has fallen into a slump of mimicking something that comes out and breaks the mold.

jocknerd
Sep 4, 2007, 07:59 AM
Unless Apple is lobbying for the elimination of software patents, I think they are only looking to make it easier for corporations to patent and go after individuals and make it harder for individuals to patent stuff themselves.

illicium
Sep 4, 2007, 09:07 AM
Putting more computers in schools in and of itself is about as useless as simply (and endlessly) pumping more and more money into the schools. Neither of them represent a direct mechanism of, nor a direct path for, the much-needed educational improvement in this country.



I am not claiming to know all the statistics, nor am I COMPLETELY disagreeing with the basic idea of your statement, but my father just recently retired from the education business as the Superintendant of an entire school district here in Texas. In this position he took part in and had access to studies that test several stats regarding student achievement in several areas including academics as well as athletics in relation to the amount of money the school received each year.

Their studies showed a DIRECT correlation between student success and the wealth of the school. Richer schools were more successful in athletics and also things like standardized tests (ie: SAT, ACT) and also what Universities their kids were getting accepted to. Granted these studies pretty much only involve the state of Texas but I see no reason why it wouldn't apply nation wide.

"endlessly pumping more money into schools" when worded that way it is hard to flat out say "you're wrong" but studies do show more money for schools = more success for students

Keep in mind I say this also knowing that just having more money isn't the key, it's how the money is used of course.