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  1. Rescuer's Avatar
    Apple Denies Google Voice App Rejection, AT&T Involvement - AppScout

    Apple has not rejected the Google Voice iPhone app, but it does have serious concerns about its ability to usurp existing iPhone capabilities, Apple said in a Friday filing.

    AT&T, meanwhile, denied any involvement in Apple's decision regarding the Google Voice app, but it did admit that AT&T and Apple have an agreement whereby Apple will not take steps to enable an iPhone to make VoIP calls without AT&T's consent.

    "Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it," Apple wrote in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). "The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own interface for telephone calls, text messaging, and voicemail."

    Apple's comments come after the FCC asked Apple, AT&T, and Google to answer specific questions regarding Google Voice. The agency's probe was prompted by reports that popular third-party Google Voice apps for the iPhone were removed from the iPhone App Store, including GV Mobile and VoiceCentral.

    In its filing, Apple confirmed that GV Mobile, VoiceCentral, and GV Dialer were removed because they fall into the same category as the pending Google Voice app.

    Specifically, the Google Voice iPhone app would replace the iPhone's "Phone" icon on the bottom of the home screen, which prevents voicemails from being stored on the iPhone and disables Apple's Visual Voicemail, the company said. The SMS function of the Google Voice app does the same thing.

    The app also transfers a user's contacts database to Google servers, and Apple said it has "yet to obtain any assurances from Google that this data will only be used in appropriate ways."

    As a result, Apple is still "pondering" Google's application.

    What about AT&T?

    Apple Denies Rejection of Google Voice iPhone App - The Cheese Stands Alone? - News and Analysis by PC Magazine

    Apple Denies Rejection of Google Voice iPhone App
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    The Cheese Stands Alone?

    Apple confirmed AT&T's assertion that it did not work with Apple on any decisions regarding the Google Voice app.

    "Apple is acting alone and has not consulted with AT&T about whether or not to approve the Google Voice application," the company said.

    AT&T had "no role in any decision by Apple to not accept the Google Voice application for inclusion in the Apple App Store," James Cicconi, senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs at AT&T, wrote to the FCC. "AT&T was not asked about the matter by Apple at any time, nor did it offer any view one way or the other."

    In addition to details about possible Google Voice negotiations, the FCC wanted to know if AT&T and Apple routinely commiserate on particular iPhone applications. AT&T responded that its exclusive deal with Apple for the iPhone was crafted before the iTunes App Store existed, so "AT&T has no specified role in Apple's consideration of particular iPhone applications."

    AT&T and Apple do have a deal with its come to VoIP, AT&T said.

    "AT&T and Apple agreed that Apple would not take affirmative steps to enable an iPhone to use AT&T's wireless service … to make VoIP calls without first obtaining AT&T's consent," Cicconi wrote. "AT&T and Apple also agreed, however, that if a third party enables an iPhone to make VoIP calls using AT&T's wireless service, Apple would have no obligation to take action against that third party."

    Basically, AT&T said, it wanted to protect its investment and ensure that after being locked into a multi-year deal with Apple, it would not lose money via applications that let customers bypass AT&T's network to make calls.

    "Both parties required assurances that the revenues from the AT&T voice plans available to iPhone customers would not be reduced by enabling VoIP calling functionality on the iPhone," AT&T said.

    AT&T told Apple, however, that it had no objections to Apple enabling VoIP apps that use a Wi-Fi connection rather than AT&T's 2G or 3G wireless data service.

    "Consistent with this approach, we plan to take a fresh look at possibly authorizing VoIP capabilities on the iPhone for use on AT&T's 3G network," Cicconi wrote. "AT&T will promptly update the Commission regarding any such change in its policies."

    Skype said it welcomed this announcement.

    "We welcome AT&T's willingness to take a fresh look at authorizing VoIP capabilities on the iPhone over AT&T's 3G network," Christopher Libertelli, Skype's senior director of government and regulatory affairs, said in a statement. "Skype hopes this is a step forward in enabling consumers to be able to use Skype together with their iPhone's and 3G connections."

    While AT&T said that it is "not typically consulted" regarding the approval or rejection of a particular app, it did admit to collaborating with Apple on three particular apps it feared might cause network congestion: the Pandora and AOL streaming music apps, as well as an app from MobiTV and CBS that let people stream NCAA men's basketball games to their phones.

    In those cases, AT&T worked with Apple and the app creators to come up with workarounds that would not disrupt the network, AT&T said.

    Free Press, which has pursued Comcast for what it considered unreasonable network management, said this proves that "AT&T has been caught with its hand in the Apple jar" and asked the FCC "to move quickly to pass new rules to prohibit exclusive contracts for devices and violations of Network Neutrality."

    What About Google?

    Google, meanwhile, provided details on its Google Voice iPhone app, and said that "whether the application utilizes the voice or data capabilities of a wireless network depends on the particular feature utilized by the user."

    Features that do use the wireless network, Google said, include accessing the inbox, placing a call, and sending SMS messages.

    Google redacted its response to a question about Apple's explanation for rejecting Google's app and if Google has had any contact with Apple or AT&T about the issue.

    AT&T and Apple repeatedly mentioned that while an official iPhone app for Google Voice does not yet exist for the smartphone, users can access the service via the browser. Google, however, argued that the Web-based version is limited compared to the iPhone app.

    Only the App Store version can directly access the iPhone address book and dial directly from the app, Google said. Furthermore, the App Store version offers a distribution advantage over the web-based version due to the popularity of iTunes.
    Last edited by Rescuer; 2009-08-22 at 03:40 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    2009-08-22 03:36 AM
  2. StealthBravo's Avatar
    ^ nice write up .

    I think it's crap however. You know AT&T put the axe to the GV app
    2009-08-22 03:36 AM
  3. Rescuer's Avatar
    er, i wasn't sure where to post it. it says "member written news" but i didn't write it. just sharing
    2009-08-22 03:38 AM
  4. StealthBravo's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing
    2009-08-22 03:40 AM
  5. A_DuB187's Avatar
    Thanks for posting this.
    160GB iPod Classic
    8GB 2G - Firmware 2.2.1 PWN'D
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    16GB 3G S - Firmware 3.0 Ra1n'n Purple
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    32GB iPhone 4
    2009-08-22 04:19 AM
  6. ScottDrummer's Avatar
    thanks, at&t must have had a say in this before or when the app was submitted
    2009-08-23 07:12 PM