FCC Investigating Google Voice Rejection from Apple's iTunes App Store, AT&T's Involvement
Techcrunch got a hold of a letter sent by the FCC to Apple seeking more information on the rejection of Google's Google Voice app, and removal of third party Google Voice apps already in the iTunes App Store.
Specifically, the Federal Communications Commission wants to know why Apple rejected the apps, and which apps exactly were rejected, whether Apple alone made the decision or whether AT&T played any part, what role -- if any -- AT&T plays in the App Store approval process, what makes Google Voice any different than VoIP apps Apple has already approved, what other apps have been rejected and why, whether or not there's a list of verboten apps and how that list is made available to developers and consumers, and other timing and statistical information concerning the approval process and rejections.
Basically, it reads as a wish list of every question every frustrated developer, consumer, and -- yes -- even blogger has ever wanted Apple to simply, plainly, and consistently answer. There is, however, a proviso for Apple to request confidentiality, which given Apple's penchant for secrecy, likely means we may never see those answers.
Similar letters were sent to Google and AT&T.
Opinions always vary about when and how much government should intrude into business. Some will think never, some will hope always, and we like to think there's a balance in between. App Store rejections currently annoy developers and the more tech-savvy consumers who read blogs and technology columns. Unfortunately, until it breaks the confidence of the average consumer and suffers immediate, painful consequence, Apple likely thinks most users aren't even aware of the issue and it can take its time and follow it's own agenda.
If nothing else, the FCC has just thrown a monkey wrench into that strategy.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]