Apple says Google Voice is on hold, not cut off
AT&T denies iPhone app slap
Apple has denied it has outright rejected the Google Voice app for the iPhone, and told regulators on Friday it is under review because it could interfere with the "user experience".
In its letter to the FCC, Apple said: "Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it.
"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 user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail."
It also said that Google's appropriation of the iPhone's entire contacts database raised privacy concerns and that it had yet to receive assurances from the search giant regarding how it would be used.
Meanwhile in its letter, AT&T, the iPhone carrier in the US, specifically denied it had any hand in the decision not to offer Google Voice via the iPhone App Store.
"AT&T was not asked about the matter by Apple at any time, nor did we offer any view one way or the other," it said.
Many commentators pointed the finger at AT&T when the block was reported in July, alleging it was seeking to avoid competition. Google Voice offers free calls and texts, potentially damaging the carrier's main revenue sources.
Google Voice wouldn't be the first third part call app for the iPhone, but rivals such as Skype for iPhone only allow calls via Wi-Fi. The Google Voice app would connect to the internet via the AT&T 3G network. Apple said it was unclear whther Google Voice actually uses VoIP.
Apple confirmed AT&T's denial of involvement in its letter. However, it acknowledged it was contractually obliged "not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&T's cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&T's permission".
Apple and AT&T sent their letters to regulators in response to a broad investigation of competition in the US wireless market. ®
"Google Voice is on hold"
>Google Voice is on hold
Well, it's not as though Apple are short of music to play them. while they wait.
Mine's the one with the generic MP3 player in the pocket.
Like the media companies...
The phone companies have to wake up. There are new technologies out that that people want (VOIP being a prime example). By artificially limiting consumers they are just shooting themselves in the foot.
Like the music industry has finally begun to realize, consumers don't tolerate artificial limits for very long. The mobile phone companies just have to realize that the future is IP for transport. The sooner they do, the sooner phones will really start becoming useful.
AT&T claimed it did not have a say in "individual apps" and that Apple had the "last say" in any inclusion or exclusion from the store. However, what they did NOT say is that clauses in their contract with Apple prevent Apple from accepting certain TYPES of apps, or apps that have specific features that either bypass AT&T revenue streams, allow free calls through the data side of the network, allow havy data use like viewing live TV over 3G, and likely more restrictions.
In these cases, in order to avoid running afowl of AT&T contract terms, AT&T would not even need to be consulted, and Apple would simply have to refuse an app that violated these conditions. It would thus have been Apple's decision (by omition of contract terms which they're not permitted to disclose) to not accept that app.
Google Voice does not use VoIP, but it could presewnt some challenges for AT&T (more so for other carriers), as all calling activity could be redirected via the user's google number, and if that number was lited at the person's "home" phone, was passed through an AT&T landline, or was listed in some "my 5" group or equivalent, such that calls to and from that central numnber were allways free, that could cause AT&T (not to mention OTHER partners and potential partners) had any say in that. in Particular, I think it would be wise for the government to ask VERIZON if THEY had any say in this, based on their rumored soon to be approved contract to sell and support iPhones...
I had already thought of this, i am only waiting on my google Voice phone lines to be approved. i have 2 AT&T landlines, both the most basic possible service, no callerID or anything, no long distance package, they're $12 a month. I use one exclusively for incoming fax and the alarm system, and the other is for local calls. All I'd need to do is turn on call forwarding (permanantly) for each number to a Google Voice number. All calls from my AT&T mobiles to the home phones are free (thanks to AT&T unity, I call any AT&T line, land or mobile, for free). Google would take my call and forward it to anyone I wanted through their system. All calls incoming would be routed through google the same way, and thanks to callerID forwarding, appear to be calls originating from an AT&T line. I'd never pay for a phone minute again ever, and would drop more than $60 a month of my current iPhone family pan cost. On Verizon it would be easier as I could simply list the Goolge line as one of "my 5" for free, and I could then also drop the AT&T landlines...
Clearly AT&T and Verizon are already aware of this loophole in my contract. Lot of people have done this before (I did with an Asterisk telephony board years ago to Sprint). Allowing Google voice clearly could bypass their ability to bill for airtime calls, and would be a serious hit to their revenue models, and due to existing contract terms for ober 10million iPhone users, they could stand to loose BILLIONS. Essentially, with a Google Voice account, the $59 iPhone plan becomes an unlimited calling plan...