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

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 @02:35PM (#29165179)

    To make a Google Voice call you need phone service.
    1) You tell GV what number you wish to call (dest number) at from which phone you wish to make that call (source number)
    2) GV calls you at your source phone number (ie your cell phone number)
    3) GV calls the destination number
    4) You are now in a 3-way conference call with the source number,the destination number, and GV central

    GV isn't VoIP.
    It is an interesting use of a 3-way calling service.

    Your GV number isn't really "your" phone number. It is more like an agent or message service (like your Dr has) number. You actually can't make calls to/from the GV number. The GV number is only for forwarding (receive) & 3-way calling (send).

  • by Otterley ( 29945 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @03:02PM (#29165367)

    The FCC redacted that part, not Google, presumably on behalf of Google because the Apple Developer Agreement makes your communications with Apple confidential (subject to law enforcement inquiries). The FCC *does* possess the redacted parts of Google's response.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @03:22PM (#29165509)

    How could Apple possibly know what "end user experience" best suits me?

    Simple - it's the one they tell you best suits you.

    You didn't think Apple got to where it is by offering people choice did you?

    If I install Google Voice, then that -IS- the end user experience I want!

    Which is exactly why they don't offer it. If they allowed you to install what you want on the hardware you've purchased, it would stop being theirs, and start becoming yours - which is the *last* thing they want!

  • by forand ( 530402 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @03:39PM (#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.
  • Re:the point (Score:5, Informative)

    by Discordantus ( 654486 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @03:55PM (#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.

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

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @04:29PM (#29166045)

    Windows 95 -> 98 -> NT -> 2000 -> XP are all separate products one pays for. They are all Windows.

    OS X 2 3 4 and 5 are all seperate products one pays for. They are all OS X (10)

    This is patently absurd on multiple levels. The time period's don't line up, and the Windows sequence you illustrated is nonsense.

    First, you are mixing two separate windows lines. NT4 came out in 96, it its absurd that people would have "upgraded" from Windows 98 to NT, and because of their separate functions few if anyone upgraded from NT to 98 either. Perhaps you meant ME? But that's irrelevant, practically nobody upgraded from 98 to ME, nor had any reason to. ME was only released because 2000 wasn't ready for the home market. So at best people went from 98 to ME or 2000 but not through both. But most went straight from 98 to XP, and only got ME new if it was on a PC released in that window between ME and XP.

    Realistically, from 95 to XP you upgraded twice: Either you went from NT4-2K-XP or 95-98-XP. Because the average lifespan of a PC is 3-4 years, most people NEVER paid to upgrade at all, and just got the new version on their new PC.

    Second, the reality is that ALL the above windows happened before OSX10.2 was even released. To take Windows back to 95 you HAVE to go back to 95 with MacOS. That means in addition to 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, you have to count: System 7. MacOS8, MacOS8.5, MacOS9, OSX 10.0 & OSX 10.1. That's 10 versions of the Apple OS in the same time frame as Microsoft had 3. Now, the same hardware cycle applies to OSX to Mac's as PCs, and indeed there is simply no way to run OSX10.5 on a PC that ran System 7. But still, that's enough releases to essentially require you to upgrade your OS every year that you don't replace your Mac. Granted you can skip the odd release, but Apple is a lot more demanding about having current software. Windows 2000 is just now falling off the wagon for being supported by new software... how much new software will run on OS9? Or even 3 versions later 10.2?

    Bottom line, MS really HAS given us a relatively free ride the last 7 years with XP, while Apple has released several paid upgrades in that time frame. No point in trying to dispute it.

    However, that ride is over, as Vista was a paid upgrade, as is Windows 7, so the comparisons start balancing out again. And who knows when Windows 8(or whatever they'll call it) will be out, or whether we'll get another 5+ years of good support and free service packs. We might see that again, we might not, but I think we all expect 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, 10.X(?) to keep coming out like clockwork.

    So you CAN make a good argument against comodore64_love, but yours was not a good argument.

  • Re:the point (Score:3, Informative)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @06:36PM (#29167021)

    So to sum up your post.

    Microsoft likes to update rarely. This results in them having horrifically outdated products...

    Except that Microsoft did release several free service packs, so the OS wasn't really nearly as stale as the release dates might imply.

    And while Apple does release paid updates often, they often drag their feet as bad as Microsoft. Java updates for example tend to seriously lag. Hardware support for cutting edge hardware also tends to lag badly (video cards for example). And so on.

  • by tgibbs ( 83782 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @07:06PM (#29167223)

    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 Machine). These are typically priced at $129.

    The next major release is somewhat unusual, as it includes major "under-the-hood" enhancements and some new features (full 64 bit OS, support for Microsoft Exchange) but (at least based on announcements) no major new programs. The announced price is $29.

    Paid upgrades (list prices)
    2001 Mac OS X 10.1 $129
    2002 Mac OS X 10.2 $129 (Address Book, iChat)
    2003 Mac OS X 10.3 $129 (Expose, Filevault)
    2004 Mac OS X 10.4 $129 (Spotlight, Dashboard, Automator)
    2007 Mac OS X 10.5 $129 (Time Machine, Spaces, Boot Camp)
    2009 Mac OS X 10.6 $29

    Total: $674

    2001 Windows XP Pro $299.99
    2007 Windows Vista Business $299.99
    2009 Windows 7 Pro $199.99

    Total $699.97

    Of course, one can shave costs off of either by skipping some upgrades. So I suppose that one could say that Microsoft saved users money by not making Vista so appealing that most customers saw a reason to upgrade.

  • Re:Talk about bias! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @08:18PM (#29167663) Homepage Journal


    Apple has claimed that Psystar's selling of OS X on non-Apple hardware is illegal. I don't recall them claiming jailbreaking is illegal.

    Here you go [].

    Jailbreaking an iPhone constitutes copyright infringement and a DMCA violation, says Apple in comments filed with the Copyright Office as part of the 2009 DMCA triennial rulemaking. This marks the first formal public statement by Apple about its legal stance on iPhone jailbreaking.
    Apple's copyright infringement claim starts with the observation that jailbroken iPhones depend on modified versions of Apple's bootloader and operating system software.
    As for the DMCA violation, Apple casts its lot with the likes of laser printer makers and garage door opener companies who argue that the DMCA entitles them to block interoperability with anything that hasn't been approved in advance.

    Apple's arguments here are probably bullshit, as the article notes. But I wouldn't fault anyone for skipping the iPhone because of this, when there are plenty of other phones that are designed to run arbitrary code and whose manufacturers won't call you a criminal for doing so.

  • Re:the point (Score:3, Informative)

    by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:05AM (#29170635)

    No you are. A Mac with an OS older than about four years is basically worthless. It won't run any of the current browsers/programs, therefore forcing the user to make an expensive OS upgrade.

    You're still very confused.

    Four year old Mac OS would be 10.4 (Tiger) released April 2005.

    10.4 is still fully supported by the latest release of Firefox as well as Apple's Safari browser.

    My PPC laptop is running 10.4 and all of the apps run just fine as application developers haven't stopped supporting 10.4.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.