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Apple, Google, AT&T Respond To the FCC Over Google Voice 326

Posted by Soulskill
from the honest-guys-we-cool-we-cool dept.
We've recently been following the FCC's inquiry into Apple's rejection of the Google Voice app. Apple, Google, and AT&T have all officially responded to the FCC's questions: Apple says they haven't actually rejected the app, they're just continuing to "study it," and that it may "alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging, and voicemail." The interesting bits of Google's response seem to have been redacted, but they talk a little about the approval process for the Android platform. AT&T claims it had "no role" in the app's rejection and notes that there are no contractual provisions between the two companies for the consideration of individual apps. Reader ZuchinniOne points out a report in The Consumerist analyzing some of the statements made in these filings, as well as TechCrunch's look into the veracity of their claims.
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Apple, Google, AT&T Respond To the FCC Over Google Voice

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @12:56PM (#29164853)

    If they're all communicating via Google Voice, then the app clearly works, so this whole issue is moot. Right?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:03PM (#29164917)

      Summary of this dupe:

      Apple is the bad guy who is preventing iPhone owners from using the hottest cellphone app, Google Voice. They flat out admitted it in the FCC response. Much gnashing of teeth and hair pulling from the "Apple can do no wrong. Teh iPhone is teh best thing EVER!!! crowd".

      AT&T has nothing to do with Apple's PR disaster.

      Lots of screaming and crying from Apple loonies and all sorts of kooky theories trying to make Apple out to not be the culprit "Apple is lying to cover AT&T to the FCC!!!"

      Android, Blackberry, and Palm owners not caring and loving Google Voice.

      • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:47PM (#29165257)

        Android, Blackberry, and Palm owners not caring and loving Google Voice.

        As a G1 owner who happily uses GV on a daily basis, I have to say you're dead on about that "not caring" part.

  • the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @12:59PM (#29164869)

    alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience

    Isn't that the whole point of iphone apps?

    • Re:the point (Score:4, Insightful)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:27PM (#29165113) Journal

      Apple does have a "distinctive experience" but at a huge cost, like a Lexus or Acura or Chrysler vehicle. Apple charges me around $100 each year to upgrade my G4 Mac from 10.3 to 10.4 to 10.5, whereas Microsoft charged me *nothing* to upgrade from XP to XP-SP1 to SP2 to SP3. Over the last seven years using Wintel OS has been free, where using Apple's OS has been costly.

      You see:

      Some of us are trying to save money. We care about using aps like Google Voice which help save some cash, and Apple's blocking of this money-saving feature really pi - [bkspc] [bkspc] [bkspc] - annoys me.

      • Re:the point (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday August 23, 2009 @02:03PM (#29165369)
        Okay, fanboys, stop modding reasonable comments like the above as flamebait ... your bias is showing. Matter of fact, his reasoning is some of the same that I used in deciding to buy an Android phone over an iPhone, as slick as Apple's product happens to be. Personally, I don't care about Apple's endless pursuit of the perfect UI. I just wanted a powerful smartphone that would do what I (yes, I, the customer) want it to do, without having my options limited by a company I don't particularly trust. Fortunately, Apple's not a monopoly and I was perfectly free to choose something else, so I don't really care. It is interesting, though, that it appears that AT&T was not, in fact, trying to suppress an application/service that might cost it money as many first assumed. Not that I believe anything any corporate mouthpiece has to say, just on principle.

        In the end, I suspect that iPhone users will get access to Google Voice: Apple's just taking a little too much heat on this one, and GV is just too cool. Sorry, fanboys, Apple does not have a monopoly on being way-cool. Alternatively, of course, AT&T could offer something functionally identical to Google Voice ... theoretically it would be much easier for them to do it, given that they own so much of the network in this country. If Google achieves nothing else by this, they'll have raised the bar on what millions of people expect from their telephone company. That's a damned good thing: those bloodsuckers have been holding us back for a long, long time.

        The irony there being that the old AT&T was originally broken up, in part, because they weren't offering consumers enough new products and services. It took a Google to come along and start shaking things up, and not for the first time I might add.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mgblst (80109)

          There is a huge back lash against Apple evidenced on this page, so much rubbish being talked, and modded up to 5. The Microsoft bloggers are earning there free laptops today.

          Apple isn't perfect, but a lot of the smack talk being spoken here isn't the problem.

          Apple release a new version of there OS every year, the next one will cost $29 to upgrade. You don't have to, just as you don't need to move from XP to Vista, as many of us haven't.

          So you have your phone that you want, congrats. Who gives a fuck. Nobody

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bsDaemon (87307)
        But the updates between 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5 where more like going between Win2k, XP and Vista rather than service packs. Major changes, not just accumulated security updates, were introduced between each, as is my understanding. I haven't had a Mac in a right while, so I'm not entirely sure, but I think that's one of the major arguments. The 10.3.x, 10.4x, and 10.5.x updates were free but didn't introduce major new features.
        • >>>But the updates between 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5 where more like going between Win2k, XP and Vista rather than service packs.

          Except the updates were more frequent than that. What Apples does is the equivalent to Microsoft charging users ~$100 each year to keep using their Windows OS, and my pockets are not so deep that I can afford to keep giving ANY company that kind of tribute.

          • by beelsebob (529313)

            1) Except that you're not required to upgrade
            2) You're complaining about apple developing their OS faster than MS... Wut?
            3) The updates have actually been roughly 18-24 months apart in recent history.

      • by bsDaemon (87307)
        <quote>really pi - [bkspc] [bkspc] [bkspc] - annoys me.</p></quote>

        Also, the joke is "really pi^H^H^Hannoys me."
        • There's a certain irony that you corrected me over something as trivial as using [bkspc] instead of ^H
          and yet you don't even know how to use the HTML (quote) (/quote) modifiers properly. ;-)

      • Re:the point (Score:5, Informative)

        by Discordantus (654486) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @02:55PM (#29165763)

        Apple charges me around $100 each year to upgrade my G4 Mac from 10.3 to 10.4 to 10.5, whereas Microsoft charged me *nothing* to upgrade from XP to XP-SP1 to SP2 to SP3

        That is hardly true. Upgrades once a year? 10.3 had a 1.5 year lifespan, 10.4 lasted almost 2.5 years, and 10.5 is nearing it's 2 year mark as well. Plus, the soon-to-come upgrade to 10.6 is only 29 bucks. Also, Windows service packs are minor updates, mostly for bugfixes and consolidated security patches; Apple doesn't charge for these minor updates either. All the OS X point upgrades (10.3, 10.4, 10.5) were *major* upgrades, packed with new features.

        Over the last seven years using Wintel OS has been free, where using Apple's OS has been costly.

        In other words, over the last seven years, Windows has not released any new features. And you're ignoring Vista, which you apparently were not forced to upgrade to; Interestingly, you weren't forced to upgrade to 10.3, 10.4 or 10.5, either. You always have the option not to buy; if you don't think the feature set of a particular release is big enough, wait for the next one, and you get double the features for the same price.

        • >>>Interestingly, you weren't forced to upgrade to 10.3, 10.4 or 10.5, either.

          Actually, you are. Try running Firefox or Safari on 10.2 or 10.3. You can't. Apple forces its users to upgrade by obsoleting OSes that are barely 4 years old, whereas Wintel users can still use XP without any problem (in fact you could still use 98 in many cases).

      • by Macrat (638047)

        A Apple charges me around $100 each year to upgrade my G4 Mac from 10.3 to 10.4 to 10.5, whereas Microsoft charged me *nothing* to upgrade from XP to XP-SP1 to SP2 to SP3.

        You're a little confused. Apple didn't charge you for 10.3.1, 10.3.2, 10.3.2, 10.3.3, 10.3.4, 10.3.5, 10.3.6, 10.3.7, 10.3.8 & 10.3.9. (aka service packs)

        You bought 10.4 just as you bought XP. And you bought 10.5 just as you bought Vista.

      • by node 3 (115640)

        Apple does have a "distinctive experience" but at a huge cost, like a Lexus or Acura or Chrysler vehicle. Apple charges me around $100 each year to upgrade my G4 Mac from 10.3 to 10.4 to 10.5, whereas Microsoft charged me *nothing* to upgrade from XP to XP-SP1 to SP2 to SP3. Over the last seven years using Wintel OS has been free, where using Apple's OS has been costly.

        Only a MS fanboy can complain about a company that constantly makes huge improvements to their software.

        Some of us are trying to save money. We care about using aps like Google Voice which help save some cash, and Apple's blocking of this money-saving feature really pi - [bkspc] [bkspc] [bkspc] - annoys me.

        And most of us can afford the average of $75/year to keep up to date with all versions of OS X since 10.0. And some of us are willing to spend that extra $75... Wait, extra? XP, Vista and now 7 all retail for over $200. To have purchased every copy of OS X as it was released would run $674. Windows Premium would run over $800.

        I guess what I'm trying to say is, some of us are trying to save money. We care

      • Apple charges me around $100 each year to upgrade my G4 Mac from 10.3 to 10.4 to 10.5, whereas Microsoft charged me *nothing* to upgrade from XP to XP-SP1 to SP2 to SP3. Over the last seven years using Wintel OS has been free, where using Apple's OS has been costly.

        Apple does release periodic "under the hood" upgrades analogous to Microsoft's Service Packs. They are free.
        Apple occasionally releases major upgrades that include new software that adds major features or applications (e.g. Dashboard, Time Machin

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday August 24, 2009 @03:29AM (#29170451) Journal

          Your numbers are wrong, because if you were truly like me - budget conscious - you would not have upgraded your XP at all. I want to thank you for sharing, because I think this very accurately demonstrates my point, better than of my previous messages did:

          Paid upgrades (list prices)
          Mac
          2001 Mac OS X 10.1 $129
          2002 Mac OS X 10.2 $129
          2003 Mac OS X 10.3 $129
          2004 Mac OS X 10.4 $129
          2007 Mac OS X 10.5 $129

          Total: $643

          -----
          Windows
          2001 Windows XP Home $149.99 (still using this same OS)

          TOTAL: $150

  • Reverse engineering (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jlintern (1169449) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @12:59PM (#29164877)

    Apple says they haven't actually rejected the app, they're just continuing to "study it," and that it may "alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging, and voicemail."

    So Apple is holding Google's app in limbo until they have time to reverse engineer the functionality and release it as native functionality of the iPhone?

    • So Apple is holding Google's app in limbo until they have time to reverse engineer the functionality and release it as native functionality of the iPhone?

      That's ok with me...I tried an add-on app on my S60 phone (though admittedly not one developed by google) and the google voice stuff was like jumping through hoops when you wanted to use it. I would love it to be native functionality

      • I would love it to be native functionality

        Yes, this is a classic example of why native applications are often superior to Web applications in certain areas. On my G1, using Google's integrated app, it really is seamless. I optionally have the choice to make my calls using GV, or not, which is pretty cool, on a call-by-call basis if I want. It's integrated right into the base dialer. It takes an extra two seconds or so to dial (presumably because it's calling Google's intermediate number first) and then the call goes through.

        If you're on T-Mobile

    • by speedtux (1307149) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:09PM (#29164989)

      What's there to "reverse engineer"? Apple already has a competing product, MobileMe / me.com.

      The difference between Google and Apple's products is that Google's product is free and isn't tied to any particular hardware platform and works well on many devices in addition to the iPhone. Apple doesn't want to offer that kind of product because they want to tie all their products together and lock their users in.

      • What's there to "reverse engineer"? Apple already has a competing product, MobileMe / me.com.

        The difference between Google and Apple's products is that Google's product is free and isn't tied to any particular hardware platform and works well on many devices in addition to the iPhone. Apple doesn't want to offer that kind of product because they want to tie all their products together and lock their users in.

        Apple has an official, no-additional-cost MobileMe client for Windows. MobileMe works as effectively for Windows+Outlook+IE8 as it does on a Mac. (Which is not particularly well.)

  • Article summary: Apple points the finger at AT&T, AT&T points the finger at Apple. All the consumer gets is the finger.

    • >>>Apple points the finger at AT&T, AT&T points the finger at Apple. All the consumer gets is the finger. All the consumer gets is the finger.

      Addendum:

      Consumer gets angry and starts ordering Apple and AT&T products and never pays for them. Consumer gets last laugh.

  • After bricking unlocked iPhones, kicking applications off the iPhone store that might even slightly compete with anything Apple or AT&T might vaguely think about in the far future and filing a wave of patents on basic well-known computer science, Apple Inc. today filed a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission declaring that it was openly adopting Evil(tm) [today.com] as a corporate policy.

    "Fuck it," said Steve Jobs to an audience of soul-mortgaged thralls, "we're evil. But our stuff is sooo good. You'll keep taking our abuse. You love it, you worm. Because our stuff is great. It's shiny and it's pretty and it's cool and it works. It's not like you'll go back to Windows Mobile. Ha! Ha!"

    Steve Ballmer of Microsoft was incensed at the news. "Our evil is better than anyone's evil! No-one sweats the details of evil like Microsoft! Where's your antitrust trial, you polo-necked bozo? We've worked hard on our evil! Our Zune's as evil as an iPod any day! I won't let my kids use a lesser evil! We're going to do an ad about that! I'll be in it! With Jerry Seinfeld! Beat that! Asshole."

    "Of course, we're still not evil," said Sergey Brin of Google. "You can trust us on this. Every bit of data about you, your life and the house you live in is strictly a secret between you and our marketing department. But, hypothetically, if we were evil, it's not like you're going to use Windows Live Search. I mean, 'Bing.' Ha! Ha! I'm sorry, that's my 'spreading good cheer' laugh. Really."

  • Dinosaurs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeffasselin (566598) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ednilocamroc]> on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:08PM (#29164977) Journal

    Just like the RIAA, the MPAA, and other such entities, the cellular and phone companies are dinosaurs of an early technological age, and they are holding us back.

    Cellular networks should, just like line-based internet access utilities, be simply network providers that sell access to their network from any standards-compliant device we want to use. Everything would just be another end-point of the Internet on a TCP/IP network, with different applications providing diverse needs: voice, video, pictures, text are nothing but data. Sell your consumers data transfer and connection capabilities and let us choose what we want to do with this access, instead of trying to profit from stupid things like SMS and infinitely complex plans: in the end, the cellular providers would benefit from this kind of system, as more uses would emerge out of the free-market system and would end up giving them more customers. Things would be simpler, access would be cheaper too. Everyone would win.

    • Re:Dinosaurs (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:33PM (#29165165)

      You mean, "US mobile carriers should act more like the ones they have in the rest of the world", right?

      In the last 4 years, I've been to 16 different countries on 4 continents. In every one of them -- except one -- I've had reliable, reasonably-priced access within 30 seconds of turning my phone back on after landing or crossing the border. Even in a village in freaking *Cambodia* where most people didn't even have running water, for cryin' out loud.

      Except one. The US.

      I have a Swedish and an Australian SIM card. Each of which cost less than US$ 10 and included a bunch of minutes and free or nearly-free (international!) texting and cheap and easy-to-get refills. Both of which "just work" every place I've tried to use them.

      Except one. The US... where they want 10 times that much just for the SIM and they can't even guarantee that it'll work in both Florida and New Jersey!

      (If you're curious -- Yes, I was stupid enough to lay out $100 just so I could use my phone in the US for about 10 days. And No, it did not.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jared555 (874152)

        Unfortunately the best option is probably buying a $10-$20 tracfone (or other pay as you guy) specifically for the trip to the US.

        It shouldn't be that way, of course, but typically at least then you aren't locked to specific towers, etc.

      • Re:Dinosaurs (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Renraku (518261) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @03:02PM (#29165819) Homepage

        Why should the US cellular companies cater to people that like foreign technology? Foreign cell phones are cheaper, more numerous in options, have less features removed from the hardware via firmware, etc, etc.

        The US cellular companies make their money based on contracts. When they can sell you a $50 phone for $200 without contract, or give it to you free with a two year contract, why should they change? They're extremely profitable right now. It's not in their best interests to change.

        • by schon (31600)

          Why should the US cellular companies cater to people that like foreign technology?

          Exactly - they should keep offering technology from American companies like Samsung [att.com], LG [att.com], Sony/Ericsson [att.com], Nokia [att.com], Blackberry [att.com] and HTC [att.com]!

    • Re:Dinosaurs (Score:5, Interesting)

      by speedtux (1307149) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @02:59PM (#29165795)

      Just like the RIAA, the MPAA, and other such entities, the cellular and phone companies are dinosaurs of an early technological age, and they are holding us back.

      In Europe, you can use any phone on any carrier. You can effectively stream audio, video, and whatever else you like and the carriers don't really care. You do get unlimited 3G flat rates for under $30/month.

      The only major phone that doesn't work that way? You guessed it: Apple's iPhone.

      Far from freeing the US market from SIM locking and carrier lock-in, Apple is trying to export the evil of the US cellular market to Europe.

  • For six weeks. While being no closer to a "decision."
  • by rmdyer (267137) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:12PM (#29165005)

    How could Apple possibly know what "end user experience" best suits me? If I install Google Voice, then that -IS- the end user experience I want! If Microsoft pulled that, they would get dinged for trying to push out the competition. Replace "Google Voice" with "IE" for example in Apple's reply, and "iPhone" with "Windows". This is exactly why the iPhone software environment is poison. Apple should not be allowed to decide what kind of "end user experience" I want on my hardware. Yes, if I purchased the hardware from Apple for the "hardware experience", then that means that I liked the "hardware experience" over other vendors, but that doesn't mean I like, or should be required to use their software! All "computing devices" should be "reconfigurable" using software, thats why software exists! Not to lock you into some Nazi form of "I know best what is for you" mentality. Open the devices up vendors!

    Related: Buy the phone first, then choose your cell service vendor! NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND! Enough with hardware-cell service vendor tie-up aggreements!

    • by rmdyer (267137)

      Error addendum.

      Where the following line was stated:
            'Replace "Google Voice" with "IE" for example in Apple's reply, and "iPhone" with "Windows".'
      this should have read,
            'Replace "Google Voice" with "Firefox" for example in Apple's reply, and "iPhone" with "Windows".'

      Dyslexia because of thinking too fast.

    • by Eil (82413)

      Apple should not be allowed to decide what kind of "end user experience" I want on my hardware.

      Solution: Don't buy Apple hardware.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by notamedic (1236734)

        And, additionally, don't become one of the people who log on to Slashdot and complain about a product they don't own.

  • I don't quite understand what the big fuss is about with syncing. You can already sync iPhone contacts and calendars with Google accounts easily; see here [google.com] for how to set that up.

    Google Voice doesn't need to sync Google contacts; in fact, it shouldn't, because that would conflict with the synchronization that already exists.

  • Karlan Mitchell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:21PM (#29165067)

    Someone is lying, this is why.

    1. Apple has stated that they aren't sure how the Google voice application works, is it VoIP, telephone, ect, ect
    2. AT&T's contract with apple explicitly states they must be contacted when a VoIP app is being approved.
    3. Both parties claim to of had not contact with each other, a violation of AT&T ToS for Apple

    I smell something funny......

    btw. The application is not VoIP, its a telephone route, which would cut into AT&T's outrageous international rates
                    for phone calls (however have no affect on local call's price); I only state the above because Apple claimed it
                    could possibly be VoIP (even though its easy to find information on how it works, they are just buying time)
                    and we know apple should of immediately contacted AT&T if this was even a possibility.

    • Not the reason (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drhamad (868567)
      No, because VOIP, while a concern, according to these documents, was not the reason for the rejection (or postponement). Rather, mimicking of core iPhone functionality was.
  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:25PM (#29165087)
    From TFconsumeristA:

    Multiple sources at Google tell us that in informal discussions with Apple over the last few months Apple expressed dismay at the number of core iPhone apps that are powered by Google. Search, maps, YouTube, and other key popular apps are powered by Google. Other than the browser, Apple has little else to call its own other than the core phone, contacts and calendar features.

    Heh, that's a funny situation for Apple to be in. I guess Apple is no longer interested in just selling you the hardware and a good OS, they want to sell you a substantial number of the applications as well. I seem to recall Microsoft engaging some similar behavior awhile back, something about web browsers and being able to remove them.

    I just got an ipod touch recently (it was free with rebate) and frankly, I find that Apple is unnecessarily confining the device. I've been using their laptops and desktops for years, with OS X, I've always thought that it was an incredible benefit to them to have it run on BSD, run MS Office, run Photoshop, run X11 so I can run GIMP and just about every other linux app out there, etc. etc. etc. With the phone, they confine you so much that if it weren't for the possibility to jailbreak it, I probably would have given it away to a family member.

    The point is that, as a long time Apple user, I'm really starting to get a little bothered by their increasing amount of attempts to force me to use their stuff the way they want me to rather than the way I want to use it. That sort of behavior earned MS my distrust long, long ago.

    • Oh and incidentally, I was just thinking about why I thought that jailbreaking was such a boon, and there's a couple of reasons. First, winterboard just rocks my socks. I love screwing around with themes, fonts and icons. Second, the ssh functionality. Ever since Google released fuse for the mac I've been hooked. I now use rsync and sshfs to backup everything on my desktop, to make certain folders on my laptop mirror my desktop, and seamlessly share files with my home linux cluster, PC, and laptop that
      • er, make that linux cluster (at work), home linux PC and linux laptop. I don't really run a linux cluster at home.
    • by Reverberant (303566) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:53PM (#29165301) Homepage

      Heh, that's a funny situation for Apple to be in. I guess Apple is no longer interested in just selling you the hardware and a good OS, they want to sell you a substantial number of the applications as well.

      I don't think it's about Apple wanting to see you a substantial number of apps, I think it's about Apple not wanting the core features of their phone to be based on the whims of a third party. It's kinda like the situation of Office on the Mac back in the 90's when MS threatened to kill Office which would have basically ended corporate use of Macs.

      • It's kinda like the situation of Office on the Mac back in the 90's when MS threatened to kill Office which would have basically ended corporate use of Macs.

        That's a very good point, along with what the AC said below about, "What if Google really is evil?" But why didn't Apple go out and say that then? Oh wait, they did:

        The Google Voice application replaces Apple's Visual Voicemail by routing calls through a separate Google Voice telephone number that stores any voicemail, preventing voicemail from bein

        • by Korgan (101803) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @05:49PM (#29167125) Homepage

          The GV app is still just an app. It doesn't replace any of the Apple apps. They're still there and still fully functional. What it does do is make them redundant.

          Instead of giving people your cell number, you give them your Google number. At that point, all your voicemail is kept on the Google service, all your calls are routed through the Google service to whatever phone(s) you choose to have the calls go to. You are no longer tied to Apple's Visual Voicemail (which by most people's accounts hasn't worked properly in quite a while anyway) nor are you limited to AT&T's network anymore. The same applies to SMS and so on as well. Use your Google number instead of your iPhone number and you can get the messages on any/all your phones rather than just your iPhone.

          The GV app also allows you to make calls out through Google's network. Your phone dials Google, then dials out from Google to where ever. With the apps on the various platforms, this is essentially transparent. You just use the dialer in the GV app instead of the Apple dialer. It doesn't sync your contacts to the Google servers as such. Like all apps on an iPhone, it has access to your contacts directly, so doesn't need to store them on the server. Not that it matters much given you can use Google Sync to do it, or even us iTunes itself.

          Having said all that, the Apple phone apps are still all there and you can use those as well if you want. But if you do, CallerID will show your cell # instead of your Google number. If people call that number, you lose things like voicemail transcription features and so on.

          I am basing this on the functionality in the applications on other platforms such as Android and Blackberry. I doubt the app for the iPhone would be any different in functionality, only in appearance.

          But no, the app doesn't replace the Apple ones. It merely supersedes them and essentially makes them redundant.

  • I'm guessing that the reason google redacted the text of it's complaint is because it's clearly going to get what it wants. Google has no need to badmouth them in public. AT&T and Apple colluding to prevent competition looks really bad. It would have been much smarter for AT&T or apple to introduce enough latency and jitter into the data link to effectively block VoIP apps via inherent technical limitations.
  • TechCrunch claimed that apple's claims were untrue. They did this by ignoring the little bit were the purpose of google voice is to replace your existing phone service. So while they are correct that the google voice app does not rip out and replace these features, using google voice logically supplants them. If your phone identity is not your google identity and not your provider identity then the apple apps might as well be removed.

    It's a completely bogus self serving argument. It's like arguing that i
    • by forand (530402) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @02:39PM (#29165631) Homepage
      I think you have misunderstood what Google Voice is. IT is NOT meant "to replace your existing phone service." As a matter of fact, you cannot use GV without an existing phone service. Furthermore, to use Google Voice to make a call it actually has to call you first then connect you to the person you where trying to call. Finally, why does Apple (or anyone other than myself) get a say in what I do with my existing phone service?

      But yeah TechCrunch's article is full of it.
      • I think you have misunderstood what Google Voice is. IT is NOT meant "to replace your existing phone service."

        It supplants Visual Voicemail with google voice mail.

        It supplants contacts.

        It supplants your phone number with a different one - the idea is you forget the number attached to your phone.

        So yes, in fact, it does supplant your phone service substantially from the standpoint of the phone parts of the iPhone, and from AT&T's view (even though they were not involved it seems).

        • by RedK (112790)
          It doesn't supplant anything. Your original voice mail is still usuable and tied to your original number, which is also still usuable along with your original contacts. It offers phone consolidation of these features however if you want. All this is based on what you want to do and you can opt-in (notice not opt-out) of any of these features.
    • by speedtux (1307149) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @03:16PM (#29165937)

      Apple's position is clearly that by letting google extend their platform to the iphone they would clearly gain converts to it, but without letting apple control that environment they lose the ability to provide distinction, and maintain their competitive advantage.

      Nobody is forcing users to install Google Voice. So, what you are saying is that if users have the choice, they will install Google Voice and not use Apple's services anymore.

      So, you are basically saying that Apple's "competitive advantage" is in propping up an uncompetitive product (their services) with a good product (their phone hardware).

      Just thought I'd put that into perspective for you.

  • If Apple do allow Google Voice, will that effectively allow free SMS and mobile calls?

    I've read polar conclusions in two different places, so I don't know what to think.

    If SMS etc. through Google Voice is free, then the only charge will be for the internet access (which byte for byte, is presumably orders of magnitude cheaper than SMS).

  • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot@nospAM.stango.org> on Sunday August 23, 2009 @03:20PM (#29165981) Homepage Journal

    Google Voice stands to cost AT&T money. Apple won't lose a thing by offering it-- in fact, they stand to lose iPhone sales for rejecting it when apps for it are available on competing devices. In light of this, who is more likely to be the force behind the rejection?

    As for the argument Apple is putting forward, that is just BS. If I put GV on my iPhone it's because I *want* it there.

    And as for AT&T's argument, "Hey, look, we allow GV on other devices on our network!"-- No, it's not that they're allowed, it's that AT&T simply can't prevent them from being installed and used. Apple is the sole (official) gatekeeper to getting an app on the iPhone and under contract with AT&T, so it's clear they're doing AT&T's bidding here. I don't know why Apple is taking the lion's share of the blame by saying they're still evaluating it, but my guess would be some sort of quid pro quo with AT&T.

    The whole thing stinks, and I hope the FCC realizes it and opens a can of whoop-ass.

    ~Philly

    PS - Please learn WTF Google Voice does before commenting. It is NOT a VoIP application despite a dozen people saying or implying it is in their posts already.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tgibbs (83782)

      I think Apple's thinking is a bit wrong-headed, but I believe that I understand the reasoning. I'd guess that it goes something like this. "The appeal of the iPhone rests upon the ease of use and integration of features like Visual Voice Mail, the Address Book, Mail, and the Phone application. Right now this is entirely under our control. What happens if everybody starts using Google's apps and bypassing ours? How will we add new features to enhance the Mail and Voice features of the iPhone? What if we add

  • by Budenny (888916)
    You can go overnight from 'I have to have a Mac so I can manage my iTunes' to 'I can't have a Mac because it won't run Google Voice. That is, an exclusive feature becomes a feature exclusion, and you move from being cool and integrated to being feature deficient. Overnight.
  • OMG! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Cisco Kid (31490) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @06:39PM (#29167423)
    [...] it may "alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface [...]

    Oh no! How terrible! But what if THATS WHAT THE USER WANTS?!
  • It's a telephone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FranTaylor (164577) on Monday August 24, 2009 @01:17AM (#29169873)

    Didn't the FCC rule a long time ago that the telephone company cannot place restrictions on what a customer hooks up to the phone service?

    Don't tell me it's not a telephone. It is sold as a telephone and it comes with telephone service. That makes it a telephone.

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