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Feds break Apple's code of App Store silence

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Fail and You Oh, Apple Computer. What sorts of antics are you into this month?

Since the iPhone was released two years ago, watching Apple keep its obsessive vise grip on the device while trying to promote third party application development has been one solid I-didn't-know-you-could-do-that after another.

Battle the recording industry for liberal music licensing terms and build the largest online music store, all the while living out the RIAA's wet dream by manually approving every bit of code that runs on a computing device? I didn't know you could do that.

Being run by an ex-hippie CEO who used to spike his Oolong tea with LSD, and then carrying on Jerry Falwell's legacy by protecting the children from iPhone programs that show a bit too much skin? I didn't know you could do that.

Have a board member whose own company makes a device that directly competes with your bread and butter? Well, I knew you could do that in Silicon Valley, because we're all such good friends.

That is, at least, until the old crusties from AT&T show up with their Geritol and single letter ticker symbol. Here in the Valley, we run more at a line-of-blow-off-a-stripper's-ass speed, so when Apple rejected the Google Voice application for the iPhone, everyone suspected that AT&T strong-armed them into kicking the Google to the curb. In fact, the move was so out of character that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - the governmental agency responsible for keeping seven dirty words off the public airwaves - started asking questions. Well, Apple got all butthurt and went on the defensive, posting an open reply to the FCC on their website.

Apple's fast-talking response is very to-the-letter, and it reminds me of stores that sell "body massagers" in places where vibrators are illegal.

The FCC asks: "Why did Apple reject the Google Voice application for iPhone and remove related third-party applications from its App Store?" According to accounts I've read of the process, Apple's usual response to questions of this sort is "Go fuck yourself," but maybe the FCC gets a bit more delicate treatment.

Apple replies: "Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it." What is it, a fucking math problem? Good Lord, don't you people make computers for a living? Maybe they're applying the tradition of ignoring the client until he either forgets about what was happening or dies.

Apple continues: "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. These factors present several new issues and questions to us that we are still pondering at this time."

Once a developer has access to a piece of data, he can copy it and do with it anything inside the realm of Turing completeness, but this is the type of control that the RIAA drools over. I think that Eric Schmidt needs to drive down to Cupertino and make Steve Jobs ponder how to remove a foot from an ass.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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