(First of all, I must say: I love this pic!)
My, how the tables have turned. Earlier this week, we learned that Apple had suddenly begun to pull third party iPhone applications for Google Voice, citing the unconvincing rationale that they “duplicated” some of the iPhone’s functionality. We then broke the news that Apple had also rejected Google’s own official Google Voice application submitted six weeks prior, sparking a din of complaints from developers and users alike over the arbitrary and possibly anti-competitive restrictions being imposed by Apple. AT&T, too, has been a target of frequent criticism as many of us believe it may have also played a part in the decision. Of course, nobody really knows who is to blame — AT&T has hinted that it was ultimately Apple’s decision, and Apple continues to remain mute on the issue. But now we may get our answers: the Dow Jones newswire reports that The Federal Communications Commission is looking into Apple’s rejection of Google Voice, and has sent letters to AT&T, Apple, and Google to find out what’s going on. We’ve obtained copies of the letters and reprinted them below.
The newswire report notes that this is part of the FCC’s ongoing investigation into wireless handsets and their exclusive deals with carriers. Of course, this all comes years after Google CEO Eric Schmidt sent a letter to the FCC, urging it to adopt open standards that would gives users the freedom to use whichever applications they’d like on their wireless devices, on whichever network they preferred. At the time the suggestions seemed perhaps a bit idealistic, but now it’s becoming clear just how badly they’re needed.
It has been just over one year since Apple released the App Store, and already we’re beginning to see just what can happen when major companies collude to restrict user choice without fear of recourse. As I’ve written before, Google Voice offers a service that innovates in the telephony space in a way that hasn’t been seen for years. But rather than try to improve and offer a better service, Apple and AT&T are doing what they can do to protect their sacred cash cow. But it looks like the government isn’t going to stand for that any longer. With this move, the FCC is showing that it’s not going to let Apple carry its famed culture of secrecy into the telecom space.
For the letters read the whole post by TechCrunch