Apple Responds to FCC Questions (Google and AT&T as Well)
Apple has responded to the FCC's questions, issued following the controversial rejection of Google's Google Voice application (though, in their response, it looks like Apple is claiming they haven't rejected Google Voice, but are merely reviewing it (updated: under the dubious "duplicates functionality" rationale, due to independant dialing and to see if it violates Apple's contract with AT&T not to allow VoIP over AT&T's data network.)
The entire document is available via Apple.com.
Google and AT&T responded as well, though not on their own websites yet. Engadget is hosting their letters. AT&T claims they were never contacted about Google Voice, however if their contract with Apple forbids it, like Skype and other VoIP apps, Apple wouldn't have to contact them, so again -- huge round of jeers for AT&T's non-denial denials.
[Thanks to Doug for the tip)
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
If it did violate a contract, they would not have banned it and all other GV apps, simply required them to be limited to WIFI like skype.
Nerve has been struck.
but apple says:
"Apple is acting alone and has not consulted with AT&T about whether or not to approve the Google Voice application. No contractual conditions or non-contractual understandings with AT&T have been a factor in Apple’s decision-making process in this matter."
i think you need to revise/update this blog post, after reading Apple's responses in full. this is how false rumours get started.
the google voice app doesn't "replace" the apple functionality in the sense that most people would think of "replace". it doesn't erase the iphone app icon and it doesn't rewire the phone to a new number.
GV integrates with the existing functionality as much as possible, but if people want to use both their google voice number and carrier supplied number at the same time, it isn't like the google voice app prevents the user from using a "pure" iphone workflow alongside a "impure" google voice workflow on the same device at the same time.
it is all very ridiculous, this idea that these apps would cause massive confusion among iphone users, and that the only reason these apps are banned is so apple can protect its poor, confused and helpless users from the big, bad confusing google applications.
if apple was being totally honest, they'd also say "we don't want the main way people use our phone to be via google applications and websites, because that will make it easier to switch to another phone with similar applications at a later date"... but i doubt that would go over very well with the FCC, let alone the FTC.
@icebike: nerve, and competitive kill instinct.
The GV app did not do any of those things. GV did not replace ANY Apple functionality it merely added another application.
Calls to your phone still go to your phone, or Visual Voicemail. Calls to your GV number optionally go to your GV voice mail (its your choice). It absolutely does not disable Visual Voicemail.
You don't need to sync your addresses, and if you want to that functionality is already present in Mail Contacts and Calendars.
I could go on... but why bother.
This is about as close to an outright LIE I've seen any company put on paper in response to a federal investigation.
If you read the whole thing the main BS that stands out is Apple's claim that GV "replaces" the Apple dialing and SMS interfaces. It doesn't replace them in the least. They are still there, and a user could continue to use them if they WISHED TO!
Good lord, could you imagine the stink that would be heard throughout the land if MS decided that only software approved by them could be installed on a PC? And OMG, the heavens would implode if one of their criteria for approving an app included the rule that it not "replace" any functionality of Windows? No other browsers, no other back-up, no other system utilities, no other email software, nothing.
It's offical -- the IPhone is a great piece of hardware made my a really, really crappy company, and restricted to THE worst cell phone company in the US.
At lease one Ex-Apple employee has stated that they hire people who's principal training involves scanning for "dirty words".
true google voice workflow is better than hacky google voice workflow is better than normal iphone workflow.
so people set up a hacky google voice workflow on their iphone, which is not only useable but also better than the normal iphone workflow due to the additional functionality it has to offer.
at this point they realize how limited the traditional apple + at&t phone functionality is, but also realize that the google voice workflow is going to be so much more integrated and so much smoother over on an android phone. so they start eyeing android phones.
so apple has 2 options.
one is to let google voice integrate completely into the native iphone dialer, or actually fully replace it. this isn't going to happen.
the other is to ban google voice from the iphone and build their own version that they can bundle with mobileMe.
if i was a betting man, my money would be on the latter.
BTW - Apple's iPhone isn't an open platform. Nintendo doesn't let any app anyone wants on the Wii or DS, the problem here is Apple should just say "it's an appliance, you got what we want you to get" and not bother with the sophistry. 90% of users likely wouldn't care if it's an appliance either way, right now 10% of users who know better feel like they're being bamboozled -- and insulted.
And game systems are not the same as cell phones. By the way, does ANY game system hold sway over WHAT games can be developed for it? Not that I know of.
Corporations exist to make money for their stake holders. I generally don't believe anything any of them say. I don't think Microsoft is open. I don't think Google is "not evil", and I don't think Apple is about anything other than their aesthetic and their margins...
Great old story:
Snake asks monk to give it ride across the river. Monk says know, snake will bite him and he'll drown. Snake says if it bites him, they'll both drown. Monk sees logic of statement, gives snake ride across the river. Half way across, snake bites him. Monk is astonished, now they will both die. Snake tells monk it's a snake, it's its nature to bite and the monk knew that when he picked it up...
However a storm of feedback on their feedback site might deliver a clue. Call me a hippie wussbag, but I think it is true.
You keep using the console analogy, but it does not hold. Nintendo does not keep off the Wii arbitrarily -- developers have a clear set of conditions when they purchase the development kit, and, if they abide by those agreements, they are on. The days of the NES "Seal" licensing are long gone, in large part because (LESSON TO APPLE HERE) they hurt the Nintento developer community, and better third party games sprouted on other platforms.
And Apple is going WAY beyond what Nintendo did on their worst days. Apple acts arbitrarily, and protect their own products from competition. (Paraphrasing an earlier comment I do not feel like looking up.) SONY does not keep Sonic off the PS2/3 to protect Crash Bandicoot. Microsoft does not keep First Person Shooters off the XBox to protect their Halo franchise. It would be ludicrous and self-defeating for a console maker to even think of that.
Yet Apple does this, and people ignore the self-defeating path and cheer.
(And yes, that's facetious, but it does show all companies protect their own interests).
I think you're right that Nintendo has evolved, to some degree, and the reasoning behind it. Personally, I hope Apple does the same.
Again, faulty analogies. XBMC was not created by a licensed developer, so Microsoft neither supported nor blocked it. SONY did not "let" Linux onto the PS2, they specifically released a version of Linux for the PS2, primarily to get around certain European accounting procedures.
Iphone feedback site? You are joking right?
Apple is only motivated by embarrassment in the press. As long as iPhones sell well, nothing else makes any difference.
How long did Copy Paste take?
How long did MMS take?
These were the top two suggestions at the feedback site since the first iPhone was introduced. Over Three years.
So click that submit button all you want, but I guarantee noise made on sites like this gets bucked up to the mainstream press much faster than all those clicks which go direct to /dev/nul.
But then they opened the App store.
Chickens, horses and cats have all left their respective containers, probably on the same departed train.
PS3 had Linux as well. Sony just killed it with the PS3 slim. And even when the PS3 had Linux, it couldn't access the full hardware (graphics were crippled).
In a discussion about how (Apple|Microsoft|Nintendo) treats licensed developers, XBMC is totally irrelevant, because it is not produced by anybody working with a platform license. In iPhone terms, it is a Cydia app.
As for Linux on the PS3, you are simply misinformed. SONY did not kill anything. With the PS3 slim, SONY stopped releasing their OWN FIRST PARTY DISTRIBUTION of Linux, but there are still 3 other distributions out there that work just fine. For SONY to do what Apple has done, they would have to lock down their new hardware so those distributions so not work, either.
Re: Linux on the PS3 -- I may be the one misinformed, or at least overly optimistic. I had ready from people who anticipate being able to put Ubuntu/Fedora on the slim PS3, but believe right now they cannot.
maybe apple could turn that into an ad campaign. "there's no app for that. [because we're worried that you might discover something that works better on another platform]"
I don't think I'm missing the point, just looking at a different angle: Xbox restricts things which would adversely affect their business, like letting someone legitimately offer XBMC. So, XBMC is "jailbreak" like GV Mobile is -- because it's not allowed to be otherwise.
Blocking GV is going to drive people to Android faster then just allowing GV on the iPhone.
Apple really does need to look and Nintindos history.