Feeds

Who rejected Google Voice on the iPhone?

Apple's decision not exactly rocket science

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

So Apple is taking the fall and AT&T washes its hands of the whole affair, but would Apple still be examining Google Voice if approval wouldn't upset its biggest customer?

The responses to the FCC investigation are in, and clearly state that there was no contractual agreement between AT&T and Apple to prevent VoIP, or Google Voice, style applications on the iPhone, but when Apple's arguments for rejecting the Google Voice application are so thin one has to ask if their desire to avoid upsetting its biggest customer isn't more compelling than any written contract.

Now that all the responses are public you can read and draw your own conclusions. Google's is somewhat redacted (pdf) but that doesn't matter as Google doesn't have a whole lot to say on the matter other than emphasising how much better the native application is than the web-based alternative.

Apple, on the other hand, has a great deal to say on the matter, arguing that it hasn't rejected Google Voice and other similar applications. It insists that it is still pondering the issue, which will come as a nice surprise to the developers who had been told their apps had been rejected.

Apple's key argument is that a native Google Voice application would confuse users by replacing the default iPhone voice and text interfaces, and "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." So the lads in Cupertino are just trying to protect the users, and keep their lives simple.

But that argument breaks down when one takes a glance at the iTunes Application Store, as aggrieved-developer Steve Kovacs did: Truphone, Skype and Fring applications all replace the dialling application (for use over Wi-Fi) while TextFree, FreeSMS and Texter all replace the text interface. As for the argument about lifting customer data, FriendSync will send all your contacts into the Facebook Cloud, while Sync in a Blink will share them with Google in just the way that Apple finds so offensive.

AT&T's response (pdf) is mostly concerned with what a great company AT&T is, along with the occasional pop at Amazon and it's monopoly access to the Kindle store. The operator does confirm that no contractual agreement existed between itself and Apple regarding applications.

Apple has, apparently, been in touch regarding some streaming video applications but the two companies "agreed ... 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."

The key word there is "obligation". While Apple may claim to have millions of iPhone customers, its biggest customer by far is AT&T, who admit that the iPhone receives "the largest subsidy AT&T has ever provided on a wireless handset."

So while the FCC hasn't uncovered any contractually-obligated conspiracy, it now faces the far more complicated questions of if it can really prevent Apple from simply ensuring that its product appeals to its largest customer. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.