Google, Apple and AT&T all answer the Federal Communications Commission's questions about the band of the Google Voice application from Apple's iPhone App Store. Apple claims the competition was too close. AT&T claims it had no bearing on the situation. Google answers the questions under a confidentiality cloak. The FCC is reviewing the companies' responses, which are sure to draw more questions.
If the public was expecting any startling wizard to reveal himself from
behind the curtain of controversy surrounding Apple's rejection
of the Google Voice application for its iPhone App
Store, it was sorely disappointed. In fact, answers about the issue from Apple,
AT&T and Google to the Federal Communications Commission may leave the public more confused
That's because Apple claimed it has not technically rejected Google Voice
from its App Store; it just hasn't accepted it yet because it is still studying
it. Exclusive iPhone carrier AT&T denied it had anything to do with why
Google Voice was not accepted to the App Store. Google fueled the intrigue by
requesting confidentiality in many of its answers to the FCC, which requested
clarity from the three companies about the Google Voice brouhaha.
Google Voice is a call management application that gives users one phone
number through which to route their phone calls to home, work and mobile phone.
Google submitted a version of the application to Apple's App Store in the hope
that it would run on Apple's iPhone. Google revealed that Apple had also
rejected its version of Google Voice for the iPhone in July after Apple booted
third-party applications from its App Store. Apple
declined to provide reasons for the Google Voice ban.
The FCC July 31 sent letters
to Google, Apple and AT&T to find out why all
this happened; the three companies responded
the Google Voice application has not been
approved because it replaces the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality
and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text
messaging and voice mail. In short, Apple feels the Google Voice application
cuts into some of the action provided by the iPhone's operating system, its
crown jewel. Apple explained the overlaps between Google Voice and iPhone:
"For example, on an iPhone, the 'Phone' icon that is always shown at
the bottom of the Home Screen launches Apple's mobile telephone application,
providing access to Favorites, Recents, Contacts, a Keypad, and Visual
Voicemail. 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 being stored on the iPhone, i.e.,
disabling Apple's Visual Voicemail. Similarly, SMS text messages are managed
through the Google hub-replacing the iPhone's text messaging feature. In
addition, the iPhone user's entire Contacts database is transferred to Google's
servers, and we have yet to obtain any assurances from Google that this data
will only be used in appropriate ways. These factors present several new issues
and questions to us that we are still pondering at this time."
However, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington blasted
these statements as outright lies and claimed that Apple
did in fact reject Google Voice. Daring Fireball's John Gruber was also discomfited
by Apple's apparent "semantic hair splitting"; is it fair to classify
something that has not been rejected unapproved?