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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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  • Reverse engineering (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jlintern ( 1169449 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:59PM (#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?

  • Karlan Mitchell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @02:21PM (#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.

  • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @02:25PM (#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.

  • Re:Dinosaurs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @03:59PM (#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.

  • Not the reason (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drhamad ( 868567 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @04:55PM (#29166233)
    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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @06:11PM (#29166789)

    Apple gets a big cut out of every phone it sells using AT&T. This "blocking of the application" is obviously an assist from Apple on behalf of AT&T. The implied financial incentives should be enough for the FCC to "read-into" the behavior of Apple to try and block these kinds of applications. The fact is Apple hasn't approved any VOIP applications. That is the real crime here. The monopolistic anti-competitive actions on the part of AT&T. I don't blame them for acting as such to preserve their company. The fact is they are selling an outdated technology and have been lucky enough to find a willing partner in Apple. That the entire arrangement was destined to fall flat on its face once serious competitors entered the game should have been obvious to everyone.

  • Re:Talk about bias! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MindCheese ( 592005 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @06:21PM (#29166877) Homepage

    your bias is showing. ...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.

    Then you buy an iPhone and you jailbreak it.

    Right. Rather than buy a phone that will do what he needs out of the box with no extra tinkering, he should buy the one that requires him to go download some software from some l33t hax0r unofficial dev team in order for the phone to satisfy his requirements. And are you supposed to just trust that redsn0w, yellowsn0w, etc. are all created equal and don't install anything else on your phone while they're freeing you from Apple's tyranny?

    I own an iPhone 3G. Will I upgrade to the 3GS? Not on your life. Though jailbreaking did make the device much more useful to me, my next upgrade will whatever Android phone happens to be on the market at the time. Apple is once again planning their own funeral with the closed ecosystem they've built around their products.

  • Re:babies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Korgan ( 101803 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @07:32PM (#29167381) Homepage
    As a work around, Google has said they are going to release an iPhone Safari specific version to run as a webapp on the iPhone. The different Google Voice apps (across all platforms) are just a significantly improved and platform-native GUI to the service.
  • by tgibbs ( 83782 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @08:17PM (#29167655)

    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 new features and they don't work with Google Voice? If Google Voice becomes very popular, and we add a new feature that doesn't work right with Google voice, people will complain about us, not Google. It is far better not to have a feature at all than to have one that doesn't work right? Are we going to end up having to go hat in hand to Google, who is competing with us in the cell phone arena, to make sure that whatever we do to enhance the iPhone user experience works with Google Voice?"

  • Re:Dinosaurs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by quacking duck ( 607555 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @11:08PM (#29168761)

    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.

    By "evil" do you mean: "doesn't conform to what I want". But surely you must mean something else, because calling something "evil" just because "you don't like it" would be childish and petulant.

    Introducing a business model that takes away existing freedoms (from a consumer perspective) is evil, in Google's self-defined sense. Whether I like it or not doesn't enter into the discussion. Don't Americans like freedoms?

    I say this as a new iPhone owner (posting with it in fact) knowing full well not only what I was getting into, but also that things won't be improving in either Canada or the US anytime soon. I do hope the anti-consumer model doesn't get exported to the rest of the world.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @11:46PM (#29169031)

    Interesting that Apple doesn't say anything about... what was it "NetShare?" that they refused on behalf of AT&T... seems that they have removed any mention of tethering being a no no, now that they have included it into the last update.

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

    by walshy007 ( 906710 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:38AM (#29170819)

    I find it a bit odd that PC users are complaining that Apple improves their system too quickly.

    As a linux user I find this statement odd, as a heavy CLI user I still find their system nearly unusable in it's default state, I mean hell you guys only got wget in 10.5

    On brief examination of snow leopard though, I can't see any improvements that I wouldn't call minor. gui refinements? nice but superfluous. 64-bit addressing space? welcome to 2003 or so for linux, and 2005 or so for windows.Cups updated? looks more like a service pack than something major to me.

    Nothing at all wrong with that, but to say that each os x version is an uber upgrade with lots of features is a bit of a stretch

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