Posted by: garispang | August 2, 2009

FCC asks Apple, AT&T to explain rejection of Google Voice


WASHINGTON: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked Apple and AT&T on Friday to explain the decision to reject an application developed by Google for the iPhone.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said “inquiry letters” were sent on Friday to Apple, AT&T, the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the United States, and Google.

“The Federal Communications Commission has a mission to foster a competitive wireless marketplace, protect and empower consumers, and promote innovation and investment,” Genachowski said in a statement.

He added that in sending the letters the FCC wanted to get “the facts and data necessary to make the best policy decisions on behalf of the American people.”

The FCC move comes after Google said a Google Voice application for the iPhone was rejected by the iPhone App Store and related applications were removed.

In the letters to Apple and AT&T, the FCC asked whether the two companies had consulted in deciding to reject the applications, which have been described as a potential threat to services provided by the iPhone and AT&T.

Exclusive deals between mobile phone makers and wireless carriers have been drawing scrutiny from the FCC and the US Congress and President Barack Obama’s antitrust chief, Christine Varney, has pledged to be more aggressive than the previous administration in cracking down on practices seen as anti-competitive.

Google Voice allows users to merge their home, office and mobile phones into a single number. It also allows them to make cheap international phone calls, send free SMS messages and provides transcripts of voicemail messages.

The FCC gave Apple, AT&T and Google until August 21 to respond to its inquiries.

“Although Google announced that their new Google Voice service was going to be available for the iPhone, Apple cut the cord and removed the application from the iTunes store for duplicating built-in iPhone features. From our side it sounds like BS and the more we look into why the Google Voice iPhone app has been rejected, the more we think that the almighty AT&T something to do with it.

Considered one of the best things to happen in the telephony market after such a long time, Google Voice is a real scarecrow for the carriers because it allows free SMS messages and cheap long distance calls. That’s exactly what makes carriers lots of money and the reason why AT&T would like to keep the GV Mobile application away from the iPhone.

And if you consider that back in April, GV Mobile’s developer Sean Kovacs was phoned by Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, himself, to announce that the application has been officially approved in the App Store, we’re definitely sure that it’s AT&T to blame and Apple to get furious on for “swallowing”.

Is Apple screwing their customers just because AT&T asks them to? Definitely so!”



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