By August 22, 2009

Apple responds to the FCC, everyone owes AT&T an apology

On June 28th Apple rejected Google’s Google Voice App, preventing it from entering the iPhone’s App Store. This set off a firestorm of protest among the technorati, and caught the attention of the FCC America’s telecoms regulating agency. This prompted the FCC to start an inquiry in to the rejection, and Apple’s App Store approval process. The FCC sent letters to Apple, AT&T, and Google requesting clarification as to what happened. Well today’s the day all the companies are required to respond.

 

Apple’s letter is a doozy.  The seven page letterApple sent to the FCC is filled with self serving contradictions and contemptible patronizing misdirection.  Apple claims that it never actually rejected the Google Voice App, but rather it is still reviewing it. This is splitting hairs, apparently Apple has not rejected the app, but they are not going to approve it, I fail to see the difference.

Apple’s next claim is that the Google Voice application ruins the iPhone experience by offering an alternate dialing, SMS, and voicemail interface. This is also not only a lie, but it makes absolutely zero sense considering what else is in the App Store. There are several alternate dialer apps including Rotary Dialer and Smart Dial as well as more than a dozen SMS applications. Apple’s claim that Google Voice lets you circumvent Visual Voicemail is perhaps the most infuriating of these claims. To somehow suggest that iPhone user’s don’t have the right collect voicemails in any other way than their lame implementation of Visual Voice mail is baffling. Visual Voicemail on the iPhone is just voicemail with caller ID attached, which is nothing more than a miniscule improvement over standard voicemail.Google’s transcribed voicemail is truly a revelation (though the machine transcription is not quite accurate yet), and far more useful. 

Apple makes yet another absurd claim that they can’t be sure that Google can be trusted with access to the user’s contacts. This is asinine. The main problem I have with this claim is the fact that almost everyone who has a Google Voice account most likely also uses Google Contacts which makes the desktop web version of Google Voice useable.

The perceived wisdom around the internet was that AT&T was responsible for disallowing the app (something I never really believed). Apple has put this smear against AT&T to rest, though I’m sure Apple’s own admission that they are solely responsible for rejecting the Google Voice app will not be enough to keep the Apple faithful from blaming AT&T.  Here is Apple’s direct quote taking sole responsibility for the decision.

“Question 2. Did Apple act alone, or in consultation with AT&T, in deciding to reject the Google Voice application and related applications? If the latter, please describe the communications between Apple and AT&T in connection with the decision to reject Google Voice. Are there any
contractual conditions or non-contractual understandings with AT&T that affected Apple’s decision in this matter?

Apple is acting alone and has not consulted with AT&T about whether or not to approve the Google Voice application. No contractual conditions or noncontractual understandings with AT&T have been a factor in Apple’s decision making process in this matter.”

I think after reading that quote directly from the letter the internet owes AT&T a sincere apology.

There aremore interesting tidbits in the letter about the App Store Approval process, and it’s worth a read if you have the patience to slog through the Lawyerese and self serving Avarice.  Read the entire letter here.

 

Source GigaOm

Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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