AT&T Issues Non-Denial Denial on Denying Google Voice Entry into App Store.

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AT&T has issued an even more strongly worded statement that at first glance shifts blame for denying Google Voice and Google Voice-related iPhone apps entry into the iTunes App Store, while on second glance looks like that's all it's really aimed at doing -- shifting blame and not actually denying responsibility.

“AT&T does not manage or approve applications for the App Store. We have received the letter and will, of course, respond to it.”

As others have pointed out, AT&T has previously admitted complicity in denying SlingMedia Player usage of the 3G network for their iPhone app, and is widely suspected of having likewise limited the Skype app and having the NetShare tethering app removed from the App Store last year.

Had they rather said something closer akin to "we have no problem with Google Voice or any Google Voice-related app running on our network" it would be quite a bit more believable. (Although who knows what contractual muzzles Apple, AT&T, and perhaps even Google are operating under, though the FCC is sure trying to find out).

If you haven't yet, get on over to our poll and let us know what you think!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 25 comments. Add yours.

supermanfos says:

I think AT&T is burning & shredding papers right now. Leave no evidence behind! :)

KORG says:

Rene your right, if at&t said we don't have a problem with google instead if saying that statement would have put them in a good light. But Thats not the case everybody knows they are full BS so much that the FCC can't even stand it. At&t even changed it's TOS right after Slingplayers made a public statement that it's app was submitted. Really what excuse did Apple make to kill NetShare or to submit a quick beta to shut down skype . The minute something hits the tech blogs at&t has Apple on speed dial while bitching why they allowed the app in the store.
Google is making a statement: Apple/at&t wants to "control" while we just want to "innovate." Please google a multibillion dollar company already before hand that either it's app was going to get booted or denied. It's knows that Apple is tied down by at&t and google want's to show to the public to what extent this control has over Apple. Rene you say contractual muzzle, I say it's more like a cage and google is jumping ship and while saying you can too!
Read between the lines...

Ben says:

So you guys are just flat out plagiarizing Daring Fireball now, huh?

iphonemilk says:

Hey why doesn't google make an app for the iPhone that gives Free MP3's and also FREE Apps as well.
I mean.. while were at it we mine as well have those things on the iPhone as well, it's innovation right? i mean AMIRITE?
Anyone who is on FCC's side during all of this is a moron.

Kanoswrx says:

What does google voice or slingbox over 3g, or google latitude have to do with free mp3's and free apps? Your probably in the 1% of the minority who are on Apple's and AT&T's side for this. They are obviously hurting innovation by blocking this Apps because they are obviously offering better services then they are. Maybe if they offered it themselves people wouldn't have these issues, instead they use their Monopoly to block things they don't want and get away with it. Hence the FCC getting involved just like they should.

Rene Ritchie says:

@Ben:
No, not any more than people who write the same thing after me are plagiarizing this site. We'll always credit anyone we get anything from, but sometimes even us dumb idiots here see something so obvious we get the same idea as the geniuses on the smarter sites.
However, I'll take that as a compliment :)

icebike says:

“AT&T does not manage or approve applications for the App Store.

Ok, with that lawyer language, we can clearly assume that ATT did lean on Apple to get GV denied.
If they didn't, they would have just said:

"NO we did not influence Apple to block GV".

But the fact that they wander astray and avoid answering the direct question says they DID INDEED block Google Voice, if not by hook, then by crook.
I SO want to see them testify under oath.

Nickel says:

Come on Milk, wise up. That's apples and oranges and you know it. As others have pointed out, we pay for our data and should not have AT&T controlling what we do with it.

iphonemilk says:

It's exactly just that, did you not see the Word FREE in front of MP3's and Apps?
using Skype or anything else would enable me to make free calls, I would not even need to use my Cel phone Minutes We mine as well cancel all Cel phone minutes plans, we don't even need to use them anymore.
let's just give all Cel phones access to Skype and GV mobile on their Cel phone's data plan. We don't need minutes anymore it's free!
Btw could you explain to me how blocking this is hurting innovation? Apps like Skype and the like are already out. nothing NEW is being innovated, this is simply giving all you Limewire types something else to do for free.
yes you DO pay for your data connection but that doesn't mean one should void out the other.
Like i said you change this ? then you need to change it for every single cel phone. NO MORE MINUTES PERIOD.
You want things to be fair? then make it fair, don't half A$$ it and just attack ATT and the iPhone.
let's eliminate ALL cel phone minutes plans, we don't need them anymore we've got VOIP apps now.

iphonemilk says:

To further speak on my point, if you're going to use an idealogy for something then use it.
If were going to fix the way we are charged for minutes and data, then fine i'm with you. let's do it for EVERYONE then, not just single out Apple and ATT just because it's a huge popular device right now.
Can we say Tunnel Vision?
the reason why these apps were denied is obvious, people would not need minutes with apps like this.
the whole system needs a revamp then, not just one company and one phone. I'm sick of Tunnel vision issues.
If all humans are created equal then fine let's treat everyone as equals right?
we all know that exists right now rolls eyes

Moe says:

The iPhone is an expensive phone, BMW makes expensive cars.
Both are worth the hard earned money
let's say I am a moron and I decide to put a spoiler I bought at the swapmeet on my brand new BMW M3, well it's my car I can do whatever the heck I want to it including painting it lime green, if BMW says the spoiler is bad for the car's aerodynamics and is unapproved by our aftermarket product guide and the color green makes BMW look bad and they force me to take that spoiler off and prevent me from putting a new one on and they repaint my car after I take it in for repairs, they also discover that I installed an aftermarket radio they tell me that the engine warrenty is void
I will kick them squaaahhh in the nuts

Jeremy says:

am i missing something or does everyone realize that google voice isnt even a voip provider.... the fact that in order to make free calls you would also need a sip client to recieve the call that google voice places to connect you.... and a gizmo5 account....
maybe some of you don't realize what google voice is or does. Ill summarize
you use a google voice dialer or go to google.com/voice/m put a number in or pick a contact, then you pick the phone you want it forwarded to, then click call and google voice calls you and when you pick up calls the other party.
The main feature it has is free SMS, Voicemail, and ONE number that you can choose what phone to forward to depending on the contact/time/etc.
This is no way allows for free calling, maybe free SMS but who cares. Second, if you have a SIP client on your phone anyway, you already have free calling over data.
@iPhoneMilk, what a business should do is let their users do what they want, then form the business model around that. not the other way around. Whats blocking innovation is ATT/APPLE telling you what you want to do, not letting you decide. period. end of story.
don't know if you ever noticed but the "i" in all their products are always lower-case. Coincidence? maybe... maybe not...

Adam says:

Hmmmm, anyone thought about us UK guys? Did O2 have any say in getting the app removed? If not and it was ATT then surely we are been denied access to something that O2 are not even involved in.... That's more than unfair. Since when does ATT make decisions for the UK?

danny92975 says:

This is about AT&T and Apple saying no but not taking resposibility in explaining why they say no and that's why FCC is involved. Let the battle begin!!!!

icebike says:

@Jeremy:

am i missing something or does everyone realize that google voice isnt even a voip provider…. the fact that in order to make free calls you would also need a sip client to recieve the call that google voice places to connect you

Yes, Jeremy, you are missing something...
Google voice is a new number with a Forwarding Phone service and Voice message service.
It will call your CELL when you get a call. (Using your minutes).
But the banned Google Voice Application is also designed to allow you to call out using your GV number. For Free.
See the help page for Android devices here:
http://google.com/support/mobile/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=22030
It also allows you to manage your GV account, manage your voice mails, send /receive SMS.
So it does a lot of stuff.
HOWEVER: You still can't receive calls on the GV app.
So it would still use your minutes for inbound calls. However, I expect that would change once they get push notifications working.
---- Crazy Talk Here:
What if that big datacenter that Apple is building out east was planned to handle a similar service from apple, and that's why they won't allow it?
Nah, forget that ....

digitalrio says:

It's very simple.. If AT&T is behind all this it will show soon enough.. My version is since Google's CEO was on the board this (GV and latitude) could not happen because they would be combining forces to corner the market with more features for the iPhone and the FCC would take notice (there was conflict of interest), therefore leaving the door open for numerous lawsuits by competitors and risking being fined by the Feds. Now that the CEO resigned there are more possibilities of all of this happening in the near future.. In other words Apple and Google smelled an investigation coming and got rid of the apps and the CEO in time. Why else would they allow a version of GV earlier for so long and apologize to the developer for taking it down originally? Let's wait and see..

Nickel says:

Dude, Milk, we are required to pay for minutes too. Maybe someday voip will be the norm, but as of now, it's an option. An option that we should be free to use without interference from AT&T. Remember, they're still getting paid for minutes. Your analogy about apps and mp3s is just bad.

SoCalxmarc says:

Everyone writes allot in here...
I think what everyones trying to say is that
-at&t is the devil
-iphone should go to another network to avoid all this Gay shit like waiting for mms, charging for tethering....
- Me FTW.!!

Mattshall says:

Actually icebike Jeremy is right. I have the gv app and when you place a call from it your phone rings then it dials the other number so you are still using your minutes. That is what makes this whole thing kinda crazy all it really does is give you a different way to make a phone call.

Tex says:

Why does everyone blame AT&T for what Apple is doing? They are the ones that haven't allowed MMS on their devices since day one. They are the ones that haven't allowed you to tether since day one. They are the ones that regulate the App Store. AT&T has MMS on all other phones but the Iphone. AT&T has tethering on their other phones but the Iphone. It's only Apple that is restricting things. Yea AT&T may be able to have some influence over what apps are allowed on their network but in the end it is Apple's decision. Apple has every right to restrict whatever they like from their own product. IT IS THEIR PRODUCT. If someone wants a phone that can do something the Iphone cannot do then they have every right to buy a different product. No one is making you buy an Iphone.

ppennza@gmail.com says:

@ Tex
just stop you have no idea what your talking about

SpiceRak2 says:

I love the "no one is making you buy an iPhone" arguement. You are right. No one is making you buy it...that is, if you rule out the Brand, marketing, features, etc.
The iPhone is a powerful device with plenty of potential and saying that you could have purchased something else and ignored what matters to you in a purchase is a wasted, lazy line of thinking.
Since when is it a bad thing to want MORE? That is the basis of innovation.
I'd like to see a change in how calls are billed, in general...not paying for inbound as well as outbound calls. Land lines don't work that way.
What about ridiculous SMS and Data charges? Carriers get away with murder there, too.
And on the Apple side...the restrictions are so blatently self-serving which brings all this attention in the first place. They are not complete victims...
Lastly, can anyone tell me why there are multiple people on both the Apple Board of Directors as well as the Google Board? How does anything get accomplished when half the group has to recuse themselves from meetings??

Tex says:

@ spicerak2
even "the Brand, marketing, features, etc." don't make you buy a product. The fact that you want or need a specific device makes you buy a product. I agree that Apple's marketing is very good if not some of the best out there but that alone doesn't force you to go out and buy a product. It isn't a lazy way of thinking. It's the truth. No one is making people buy iphones. People buy iphones because they want them, not because they are forced to purchase them.
I never said that you should ignore what you want in a product and buy something else. What i said is that if another product offers what you want and the iphone does not or cannot offer you what you want, then you should buy the other device.
If you don't like how carriers bill calls, sms, or data...then don't have a cell phone. Carriers will charge whatever they like as long as people are willing to pay for it. It's their services and they can charge what they like. If people stop buying their services then obviously they will change their pricing to attract customers. Unfortunately people are willing to pay the current rates so they won't be changing any time soon.
Shouldn't business serve themselves? Isn't that how they make money? If a business gave into the ignorant consumer who wants to pay for nothing but have the world delivered to them on a silver platter, then how are they supposed to make money? That doesn't sound like a good business practice to me.

SpiceRak2 says:

@Tex
It's wasted thinking. "Then don't buy an iPhone" and "if you don't like [it], don't have [it]" are throw away statements and certainly not realistic solutions for current iPhone owners or for anyone that offers criticism in hopes of better things.
The wireless industry is making money, in some ways by gouging the customer. This is not just one person's opinion. If I get a call on a land line, I can talk until I am blue in the face and it won't cost me a penny. Why is it not the same for an inbound call on my cell? It's not like the call would be free. The caller gets charged, too. Some would call that "double dipping". In fact, the reason it's not the same for a land line is due to government intervention.
Not all the opinions here equate to wanting everything for nothing and on a silver platter, for that matter. Good business should not involve gouging your customers. That's not asking for too much.
And Tex, not one person in this discussion claims to have been forced to buy anything, not even an iPhone. This is another reason I am suggesting that the argument is useless.