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FCC Investigates Apple and AT&T Over Google Voice

FCC Investigates Apple and AT&T Over Google Voice

Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:21pm by iClarified
The FCC has opened an inquiry into why Apple has refused Google Voice from the App Store and what role AT&T played, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The WSJ has obtained a copy of the letter sent from the FCC to Apple. A similar letter was sent to AT&T.

Apple recently removed all third party Google Voice applications from the App Store. At this time it was also revealed that the official Google Voice application was denied acceptance into the App Store as well.

You can find the FCC letter to Apple reprinted below.

Catherine A. Novelli, Vice President
Worldwide Government Affairs
Apple Inc.
901 15th Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005

RE: Google Voice and related iPhone applications

Dear Ms. Novelli:
Recent press reports indicate that Apple has declined to approve the Google Voice
application for the iPhone and has removed related (and previously approved) third-party applications from the iPhone App Store.1 In light of pending FCC proceedings regarding wireless open access (RM-11361) and handset exclusivity (RM-11497), we are interested in a more complete understanding of this situation.

To that end, please provide answers to the following questions by close of
business on Friday, August 21, 2009.

1. Why did Apple reject the Google Voice application for iPhone and remove related third-party applications from its App Store? In addition to Google Voice, which related third-party applications were removed or have been rejected? Please provide the specific name of each application and the contact information for the developer.

2. Did Apple act alone, or in consultation with AT&T, in deciding to reject the Google Voice application and related applications? If the latter, please describe the communications between Apple and AT&T in connection with the decision to reject Google Voice. Are there any contractual conditions or non-contractual understandings with AT&T that affected Apple's decision in this matter?

3. Does AT&T have any role in the approval of iPhone applications generally (or in certain cases)? If so, under what circumstances, and what role does it play? What roles are specified in the contractual provisions between Apple and AT&T (or any non-contractual understandings) regarding the consideration of particular iPhone applications?

4. Please explain any differences between the Google Voice iPhone application and any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications that Apple has approved for the iPhone. Are any of the approved VoIP applications allowed to operate on AT&T's 3G network?

5. What other applications have been rejected for use on the iPhone and for what reasons? Is there a list of prohibited applications or of categories of applications that is provided to potential vendors/developers? If so, is this posted on the iTunes website or otherwise disclosed to consumers?

6. What are the standards for considering and approving iPhone applications? What is the approval process for such applications (timing, reasons for rejection, appeal process, etc.)? What is the percentage of applications that are rejected? What are the major reasons for rejecting an application?

Request for Confidential Treatment. If Apple requests that any information or documents responsive to this letter be treated in a confidential manner, it shall submit, along with all responsive information and documents, a statement in accordance with section 0.459 of the Commission's rules. 47 C.F.R. § 0.459. Requests for confidential treatment must comply with the requirements of section 0.459, including the standards of specificity mandated by section 0.459(b). Accordingly, "blanket" requests for confidentiality of a large set of documents are unacceptable. Pursuant to section 0.459(c), the Bureau will not consider requests that do not comply with the requirements of section 0.459.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.


James D. Schlichting
Acting Chief
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
Federal Communications Commission

FCC Investigates Apple and AT&T Over Google Voice
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Comments (10)
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stitso - August 2, 2009 at 1:34am
Finally. FCC better punish AT&T and Apple. These companies think they are untouchable.
Steve Job-less
Steve Job-less - August 1, 2009 at 1:45pm
ATT. I am not happy with their service. Apple is about profit make no doubt about it. They don't give about you. they just want yo paper fooz!
Miguel - August 1, 2009 at 12:20pm
As we say in Brazil.... Piiiiiiiiiiicaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa para a Apple!!!!!
Jimmy - August 1, 2009 at 11:59am
Jay - August 1, 2009 at 9:55am
Man if Apple and ATT keep this up they are going to get in alot of shit. First the exclusive contract investigation and not the Google Voice investigation... Whats next? They need to start being more open. Maybe it would keep them out of trouble.
Msbaylor - August 1, 2009 at 9:01am
I think it is about time the FCC stepped in! I've been waitin on them to question ATT & Apples decisions in the mobile communications industry.
Telia - August 1, 2009 at 5:02am
The basic point here is that the telecommunication industry possesses the technology and capacity that allows consumers to use cellular devices in different and more effective ways than currently; like VOIP and other networking applications. However the problem is that the industry doesn't know how to charge for these services and therefore sees no reason to develop or allow them.
What about skype?
What about skype? - August 1, 2009 at 8:50am
Although apple DOES sell less product if their carriers are idiots and rip people off and try to make contracts that include removing voip apps. This would be cool if apple confidentially went to the FCC to start this investigation in order to strong arm the carriers. Allow better apps.. Show more people.. sell more Iphones. Probably not true at all but I'll try to keep my faith in apple for the time being
Telia - August 1, 2009 at 5:49pm
@ plzmake sense- plz be clear. You make a lot of presumption in your comments but let me be clear on the foremost (your bottom line). You're right that the iPhone is an Apple product and they do whatever they want with it but we (yourself included) are Apples customers and we are much more valuable than their products. Sure, Apple can ignore us all together but Apple will do well to listen and cater to their customers demands. Regardless though, what this boils down to and what we all agree on is this: Apple should authorize Google Voice!
francochelsea - August 1, 2009 at 1:18am
HA HA!!!
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