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Apple responds to FCC inquiry over Google Voice dilemma

post #1 of 280
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Apple on Friday offered a rare glimpse into the exclusive agreement between the iPhone maker and AT&T, when it officially responded to an inquiry from the Federal Communications Commission and explained its role in the absence of Google Voice from the App Store.

Apple filed a series of official answers to queries from the Federal Communications Commission, and provided the answers publicly on its Web site. In the responses, Apple stated that Google Voice was, contrary to media reports, not rejected from the App Store, but remains under review. In addition, it stated that the software has been delayed solely by Apple.

Apple did note that it continues to fulfill the obligations of its contract with AT&T. The contract states that Apple will not allow the iPhone to access voice over IP services via the AT&T cellular network. Apple said it is unsure whether Google Voice includes VOIP elements in how it routes calls. However, the contract with AT&T did not specifically prohibit the Google Voice application from being approved -- that issue was entirely with the application's apparent mimicking of the iPhone's core features, Apple said.

AT&T also issued a statement Friday denying any involvement in the state of apparent limbo the Google Voice iPhone software currently finds itself in. AT&T and Apple both stated that AT&T was never contacted by Apple for consultation on the Google Voice application, but that the decision was made solely by the iPhone maker. In the AT&T statement, Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive vice president, external and legislative affairs, encouraged Google Voice users to access the application from the Web.

"Let me state unequivocally, AT&T had no role in any decision by Apple to not accept the Google Voice application for inclusion in the Apple App Store," Cicconi said. "AT&T was not asked about the matter by Apple at any time, nor did we offer any view one way or the other."

Apple, in its own statement, said the Google Voice application too closely mimics the iPhone's standard software, including management of calls, voicemail and text messages. The response to the FCC states that the Cupertino, Calif., company is still "pondering" issues presented by the application. However, Apple said that Google is free to create a Web application that can be accessed through Safari.

The letter also included a list of applications that Apple has rejected from the App Store, only for the developers to fix the issues and the software to eventually be approved. Among them was SlingPlayer Mobile, which used AT&T's network to redirect a TV signal, and Lingerie Fantasy Video (Lite), which contained nudity. It goes on to say that Apple receives an estimated 8,500 application submissions every week, and about 20 percent of those are not approved in their first incarnation. Apple says it has reviewed more than 200,000 applications and updates since the App Store first opened.

In late July, Apple denied Google Voice access to its App Store and began pulling software that utilized the service that had already been approved and available for months. That move sparked a FCC investigation, which required all three involved parties to issue responses to the government. Those responses were filed today.

Below is Apple's letter to the FCC and the company's responses to the commission's inquiries in their entirety:



Today Apple filed with the FCC the following answers to their questions.

We are pleased to respond to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s inquiry dated July 31, 2009, requesting information regarding Apple’s App Store and its application approval process. In order to give the Bureau some context for our responses, we begin with some background information about the iPhone and the App Store.

Apple’s goal is to provide our customers with the best possible user experience. We have been able to do this by designing the hardware and software in our products to work together seamlessly. The iPhone is a great example of this. It has established a new standard for what a mobile device can be—an integrated device with a phone, a full web browser, HTML email, an iPod, and more, all delivered with Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch user interface.

Apple then introduced something altogether new—the App Store—to give consumers additional functionality and benefits from the iPhone’s revolutionary technology. The App Store has been more successful than anyone could have ever imagined. Today, just over a year since opening, the App Store offers over 65,000 iPhone applications, and customers have downloaded over 1.5 billion applications.

The App Store provides a frictionless distribution network that levels the playing field for individual and large developers of mobile applications. We provide every developer with the same software that we use to create our own iPhone applications. The App Store offers an innovative business model that allows developers to set their own price and keep more (far more in most cases) of the revenue than traditional business models. In little more than a year, we have raised the bar for consumers’ rich mobile experience beyond what we or anyone else ever imagined in both scale and quality. Apple’s innovation has also fostered competition as other companies (e.g., Nokia, Microsoft, RIM, Palm and Verizon) seek to develop their own mobile platforms and launch their own application stores.

Apple works with network providers around the world so that iPhone users have access to a cellular network. In the United States, we struck a groundbreaking deal with AT&T in 2006 that gives Apple the freedom to decide which software to make available for the iPhone. This was an industry first.

We created an approval process that reviews every application submitted to Apple for the App Store in order to protect consumer privacy, safeguard children from inappropriate content, and avoid applications that degrade the core experience of the iPhone. Some types of content such as pornography are rejected outright from the App Store, while others such as graphic combat scenes in action games may be approved but with an appropriate age rating. Most rejections are based on bugs found in the applications. When there is an issue, we try to provide the developer with helpful feedback so they can modify the application in order for us to approve it. 95% of applications are approved within 14 days of their submission.

We’re covering new ground and doing things that had never been done before. Many of the issues we face are difficult and new, and while we may make occasional mistakes, we try to learn from them and continually improve.

In response to your specific questions, we would like to offer the following:

Question 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.

Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it. The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone’s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail. Apple spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and innovative way to seamlessly deliver core functionality of the iPhone. For example, on an iPhone, the “Phone” icon that is always shown at the bottom of the Home Screen launches Apple’s mobile telephone application, providing access to Favorites, Recents, Contacts, a Keypad, and Visual Voicemail. The Google Voice application replaces Apple’s Visual Voicemail by routing calls through a separate Google Voice telephone number that stores any voicemail, preventing voicemail from being stored on the iPhone, i.e., disabling Apple’s Visual Voicemail. Similarly, SMS text messages are managed through the Google hub—replacing the iPhone’s text messaging feature. In addition, 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.

The following applications also fall into this category.

Name: GVDialer / GVDialer Lite
Developer: MobileMax
info@mobile-mx.com

Name: VoiceCentral
Developer: Riverturn, Inc.
4819 Emperor Blvd., Suite 400
Durham, NC 27703

Name: GV Mobile / GV Mobile Free
Developer: Sean Kovacs
sean@seankovacs.com
We are continuing to study the Google Voice application and its potential impact on the iPhone user experience. Google is of course free to provide Google Voice on the iPhone as a web application through Apple’s Safari browser, just as they do for desktop PCs, or to provide its “Google-branded” user experience on other phones, including Android-based phones, and let consumers make their choices.

Question 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?

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.

Question 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?

Apple alone makes the final decisions to approve or not approve iPhone applications.

There is a provision in Apple’s agreement with AT&T that obligates Apple not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&T’s cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&T’s permission. Apple honors this obligation, in addition to respecting AT&T’s customer Terms of Service, which, for example, prohibit an AT&T customer from using AT&T’s cellular service to redirect a TV signal to an iPhone. From time to time, AT&T has expressed concerns regarding network efficiency and potential network congestion associated with certain applications, and Apple takes such concerns into consideration.

Question 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?

Apple does not know if there is a VoIP element in the way the Google Voice application routes calls and messages, and whether VoIP technology is used over the 3G network by the application. Apple has approved numerous standard VoIP applications (such as Skype, Nimbuzz and iCall) for use over WiFi, but not over AT&T’s 3G network.

Question 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?

In a little more than a year, the App Store has grown to become the world’s largest wireless applications store, with over 65,000 applications. We’ve rejected applications for a variety of reasons. Most rejections are based on the application containing quality issues or software bugs, while other rejections involve protecting consumer privacy, safeguarding children from inappropriate content, and avoiding applications that degrade the core experience of the iPhone. Given the volume and variety of technical issues, most of the review process is consumed with quality issues and software bugs, and providing feedback to developers so they can fix applications. Applications that are fixed and resubmitted are approved.

The following is a list of representative applications that have been rejected as originally submitted and their current status:

Twittelator, by Stone Design Corp., was initially rejected because it crashed during loading, but the developer subsequently fixed the application and it has been approved;
iLoveWiFi!, by iCloseBy LLC, was rejected because it used undocumented application protocols (it has not been resubmitted as of the date of this letter);
SlingPlayer Mobile, by Sling Media, was initially rejected because redirecting a TV signal to an iPhone using AT&T’s cellular network is prohibited by AT&T’s customer Terms of Service, but the developer subsequently fixed the application to use WiFi only and it has been approved; and
Lingerie Fantasy Video (Lite), by On The Go Girls, LLC, was initially rejected because it displayed nudity and explicit sexual content, but the developer subsequently fixed the application and it has been approved with the use of a 17+ age rating.
Apple provides explicit language in its agreement with iPhone developers regarding prohibited categories of applications, for example:

"Applications may be rejected if they contain content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, sounds, etc.) that in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory; and
Applications must not contain any malware, malicious or harmful code, program, or other internal component (e.g. computer viruses, trojan horses, 'backdoors') which could damage, destroy, or adversely affect other software, firmware, hardware, data, systems, services, or networks."
And we also provide a reference library that can be accessed by members of the iPhone Developer Program that lists helpful information such as Best Practices and How To Get Started.

Question 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?

As discussed in the response to Question 5, Apple provides guidelines to developers in our developer agreement as well as on its web site regarding prohibited categories of applications. These materials also contain numerous other provisions regarding technical and legal requirements that applications must comply with, and Apple uses these standards in considering whether or not to approve applications.

Apple developed a comprehensive review process that looks at every iPhone application that is submitted to Apple. Applications and marketing text are submitted through a web interface. Submitted applications undergo a rigorous review process that tests for vulnerabilities such as software bugs, instability on the iPhone platform, and the use of unauthorized protocols. Applications are also reviewed to try to prevent privacy issues, safeguard children from exposure to inappropriate content, and avoid applications that degrade the core experience of the iPhone. There are more than 40 full-time trained reviewers, and at least two different reviewers study each application so that the review process is applied uniformly. Apple also established an App Store executive review board that determines procedures and sets policy for the review process, as well as reviews applications that are escalated to the board because they raise new or complex issues. The review board meets weekly and is comprised of senior management with responsibilities for the App Store. 95% of applications are approved within 14 days of being submitted.

If we find that an application has a problem, for example, a software bug that crashes the application, we send the developer a note describing the reason why the application will not be approved as submitted. In many cases we are able to provide specific guidance about how the developer can fix the application. We also let them know they can contact the app review team or technical support, or they can write to us for further guidance.

Apple generally spends most of the review period making sure that the applications function properly, and working with developers to fix quality issues and software bugs in applications. We receive about 8,500 new applications and updates every week, and roughly 20% of them are not approved as originally submitted. In little more than a year, we have reviewed more than 200,000 applications and updates.
post #2 of 280
Apple in the long run, will not allow Google Voice on the iPhone, at least not while the contract with AT&T is in effect.

Remember that AT&T pays(subsidizes) for your iPhone. SO they need to get their money back. You cannot get the iPhone at 75% discount and expect to make free calls on it. May be someday when the full price is paid by the users, then we all can get free VOIP like Google Voice on the iPhone.

AT&T needs to recoup their investment plus profit on each iPhone they activated. Investors of AT&T need to see their investment increase in value, just like Google and Apple investors. This issue is not about control of the iPhone, it is about AT&T recouping Billions of Dollars it has paid for you and me to get our iPhone at a very low price, far lower than the MSRP.


So no Google Voice or any other VOIP on the iPhone, for now.
post #3 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The contract states that Apple will not allow the iPhone to access voice over IP services via the AT&T cellular network.

Ooooh, this continues to infuriate me. Google Voice is NOT a VoIP service! It is a phone call forwarding service. Calls on both sides are connected over the phone lines. Sure, the call travels over the internet in between the two ends, but Google Voice relies 100% on actual phone service to connect the calls on both ends!!

This would be like restricting you from calling for technical support using your iPhone, since you call in with a phone number, but then are connected via VoIP to a call center in India for your conversation.

Skype is VoIP. It would use the iPhone's cellular data connection to connect your phone to someone else, thus bypassing your AT&T minutes *and* using considerable bandwidth. It makes sense why AT&T might want to ban that use (alas). But Google Voice is a phone call, made using your AT&T minutes, not using any data bandwidth, 100% un-differentiatable from any other phone call.

This doesn't make any sense.

:d
post #4 of 280
Quote:
Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive vice president, external and legislative affairs, encouraged Google Voice users to access the application from the Web.

Great, so AT&T don't care if their subscribers use this functionality. So why not officially tell Apple that they can allow the application and that it will not break the contract, so that Apple can scrub that worry from their list of so-called issues with the application.
post #5 of 280
So, let me get this straight... Google Voice too closely mimics the built-in functions of the iPhone, because the iphone allows free SMS messaging, free international calling, calling from a google voice number, and tight integration with google contacts?

Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
Reply
post #6 of 280
Here are some important parts:

Question 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.

Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it. The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone’s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail. Apple spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and innovative way to seamlessly deliver core functionality of the iPhone. For example, on an iPhone, the “Phone” icon that is always shown at the bottom of the Home Screen launches Apple’s mobile telephone application, providing access to Favorites, Recents, Contacts, a Keypad, and Visual Voicemail. The Google Voice application replaces Apple’s Visual Voicemail by routing calls through a separate Google Voice telephone number that stores any voicemail, preventing voicemail from being stored on the iPhone, i.e., disabling Apple’s Visual Voicemail. Similarly, SMS text messages are managed through the Google hub—replacing the iPhone’s text messaging feature. In addition, 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.


Question 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?

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.

Question 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?

Apple alone makes the final decisions to approve or not approve iPhone applications.

There is a provision in Apple’s agreement with AT&T that obligates Apple not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&T’s cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&T’s permission. Apple honors this obligation, in addition to respecting AT&T’s customer Terms of Service, which, for example, prohibit an AT&T customer from using AT&T’s cellular service to redirect a TV signal to an iPhone. From time to time, AT&T has expressed concerns regarding network efficiency and potential network congestion associated with certain applications, and Apple takes such concerns into consideration.
post #7 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

So, let me get this straight... Google Voice too closely mimics the built-in functions of the iPhone, because the iphone allows free SMS messaging, free international calling, calling from a google voice number, and tight integration with google contacts?



It sounds like the Google Voice app was replacing the Apple Interface all together and sending the user's personal information to a Google Server. The User was not given a choice in what Google Voice was doing.

??
post #8 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

It sounds like the Google Voice app was replacing the Apple Interface all together and sending the user's personal information to a Google Server. The User was not given a choice in what Google Voice was doing.

??

Before jump over Apple, read this quote again, Google are replacing the Apple's interface and sending personal information to a google server. Again, i say AT&T have every right to block the service and not allow free-loaders on its network.

I suggest AT&T request Apple to develop a similar software solution and offer to its future/existing customers. I must say AT&T are making my US colleagues think twice about buying a very good phone due to the crappy service.
post #9 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak splunder View Post

Ooooh, this continues to infuriate me. Google Voice is NOT a VoIP service! It is a phone call forwarding service. Calls on both sides are connected over the phone lines. Sure, the call travels over the internet in between the two ends, but Google Voice relies 100% on actual phone service to connect the calls on both ends!!

This would be like restricting you from calling for technical support using your iPhone, since you call in with a phone number, but then are connected via VoIP to a call center in India for your conversation.

Skype is VoIP. It would use the iPhone's cellular data connection to connect your phone to someone else, thus bypassing your AT&T minutes *and* using considerable bandwidth. It makes sense why AT&T might want to ban that use (alas). But Google Voice is a phone call, made using your AT&T minutes, not using any data bandwidth, 100% un-differentiatable from any other phone call.

This doesn't make any sense.

:d

i must agree, since Google Voice is not similarly to Skype. But if Google are sub. Apple's interface then that is not on! AT&T are just making a mess of things for their Apple customers. I suggest Apple get out of the contract with AT&T fast and go to the golden child Verizon.
post #10 of 280
People sorry after reading this section (see below), it seems like a very smart way of Google advertising their smartphone via this Google Voice, since, WHY Google does not offer this feature via web application like other apps it has offered in the past. R


Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it. The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone’s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail. Apple spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and innovative way to seamlessly deliver core functionality of the iPhone. For example, on an iPhone, the “Phone” icon that is always shown at the bottom of the Home Screen launches Apple’s mobile telephone application, providing access to Favorites, Recents, Contacts, a Keypad, and Visual Voicemail. The Google Voice application replaces Apple’s Visual Voicemail by routing calls through a separate Google Voice telephone number that stores any voicemail, preventing voicemail from being stored on the iPhone, i.e., disabling Apple’s Visual Voicemail. Similarly, SMS text messages are managed through the Google hub—replacing the iPhone’s text messaging feature. In addition, 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.

The following applications also fall into this category.

Name: GVDialer / GVDialer Lite
Developer: MobileMax
info@mobile-mx.com

Name: VoiceCentral
Developer: Riverturn, Inc.
4819 Emperor Blvd., Suite 400
Durham, NC 27703

Name: GV Mobile / GV Mobile Free
Developer: Sean Kovacs
sean@seankovacs.com

We are continuing to study the Google Voice application and its potential impact on the iPhone user experience. Google is of course free to provide Google Voice on the iPhone as a web application through Apple’s Safari browser, just as they do for desktop PCs, or to provide its “Google-branded” user experience on other phones, including Android-based phones, and let consumers make their choices.
post #11 of 280
BS. GV Mobile does not transfer one's contact list over the Google.
post #12 of 280
Guess those of us (myself included) were wrong about AT&T's involvement. It really was about feature duplication after all.

I was under the impression apps making use of Google Voice were more or less putting a pretty, native interface on the Google Voice configuration website, but it sounds like they actually go a step further and replicate things like SMS, voice dialing, and voice mail, rather than using the iPhone's central Phone app.

That reminds me of Podcaster and how it ran around the iTunes podcast directory to directly download podcasts, which would be out of sync with those episodes downloaded through iTunes, creating user confusion.

I'm intrigued by two things. First, that the Google Voice apps are still in review (rather than simply rejected outright) and second, that AT&T 'plans to "take a fresh look" at authorizing VoIP apps that run on 3G.'
False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
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False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
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post #13 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

BS. GV Mobile does not transfer one's contact list over the Google.

It does not say that it transfers the contacts to Google, but to some independent server. Thats why it has been quoted as not being approved. Thats my understanding.
post #14 of 280
Another day, another bullet dodged. Dammit Apple...
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Earth.ini corrupt;God.sys not found;Reboot Universe?>_
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post #15 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by souliisoul View Post

It does not say that it transfers the contacts to Google, but to some independent server. Thats why it has been quoted as not being approved. Thats my understanding.

I think this might be the case as well.
post #16 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Here are some important parts:

Question 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.

Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it. The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhones distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhones core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail. Apple spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and innovative way to seamlessly deliver core functionality of the iPhone. For example, on an iPhone, the Phone icon that is always shown at the bottom of the Home Screen launches Apples mobile telephone application, providing access to Favorites, Recents, Contacts, a Keypad, and Visual Voicemail. The Google Voice application replaces Apples Visual Voicemail by routing calls through a separate Google Voice telephone number that stores any voicemail, preventing voicemail from being stored on the iPhone, i.e., disabling Apples Visual Voicemail. Similarly, SMS text messages are managed through the Google hubreplacing the iPhones text messaging feature. In addition, the iPhone users entire Contacts database is transferred to Googles 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.


Question 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 Apples decision in this matter?

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 Apples decision-making process in this matter.

Question 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?

Apple alone makes the final decisions to approve or not approve iPhone applications.

There is a provision in Apples agreement with AT&T that obligates Apple not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&Ts cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&Ts permission. Apple honors this obligation, in addition to respecting AT&Ts customer Terms of Service, which, for example, prohibit an AT&T customer from using AT&Ts cellular service to redirect a TV signal to an iPhone. From time to time, AT&T has expressed concerns regarding network efficiency and potential network congestion associated with certain applications, and Apple takes such concerns into consideration.

thanks for outlining the important parts for us
post #17 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

Remember that AT&T pays(subsidizes) for your iPhone. SO they need to get their money back.

I don't get it, AT&T gets paid over $100 per month wether you call someone or not. How is not calling anyone makes AT&T loose money?
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post #18 of 280
So, I wonder how AT&T is coming along with MMS and Tethering for iPhone customers.
post #19 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by steviet02 View Post

thanks for outlining the important parts for us

Might have saved some time. Glad I could help.
post #20 of 280
Apple says... "Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it."

Please Apple! How extraordinarily lame! When might Apple make a final determination? How long does it take to consider and review such an app seeing as Apple already has experience reviewing over 65,000 apps?

Care to explain (much less mention) why Apple approved GV Mobile by Sean Kovacs in April 2009 only to pull it in July 2009 after it had been on the app store for 3 months and only after Google had submitted their own Google Voice app?

Let's see if the FCC accepts this weenie response or if it ticks them off enough to push even harder.
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Love The MAC, Hate On The FanBoy
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post #21 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

Apple in the long run, will not allow Google Voice on the iPhone, at least not while the contract with AT&T is in effect.

Remember that AT&T pays(subsidizes) for your iPhone. SO they need to get their money back. You cannot get the iPhone at 75% discount and expect to make free calls on it. May be someday when the full price is paid by the users, then we all can get free VOIP like Google Voice on the iPhone.

AT&T needs to recoup their investment plus profit on each iPhone they activated. Investors of AT&T need to see their investment increase in value, just like Google and Apple investors. This issue is not about control of the iPhone, it is about AT&T recouping Billions of Dollars it has paid for you and me to get our iPhone at a very low price, far lower than the MSRP.


So no Google Voice or any other VOIP on the iPhone, for now.

Not even close.

1)Google voice on iPhone ain't VOIP.
2) no 2 needed, since gv is not VOIP.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #22 of 280
Quote:
For example, on an iPhone, the “Phone” icon that is always shown at the bottom of the Home Screen launches Apple’s mobile telephone application, providing access to Favorites, Recents, Contacts, a Keypad, and Visual Voicemail. The Google Voice application replaces Apple’s Visual Voicemail by routing calls through a separate Google Voice telephone number that stores any voicemail, preventing voicemail from being stored on the iPhone, i.e., disabling Apple’s Visual Voicemail. Similarly, SMS text messages are managed through the Google hub—replacing the iPhone’s text messaging feature. In addition, 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.

Oh this is total BS. Yes, I know that Apple has enforced this rule about duplication of features, but honestly, this clearly isn't duplication of features, since the iPhone doesn't have voicemail transcription, doesn't have free SMS, doesn't connect to Google Voice so you can use one number to ring all your phones, doesn't have cheap international calling standard. So I say the FCC should just force them to approve it... and let the consumers decide whether they want to use it or not. And if consumers were so concerned with Google handling their data, they wouldn't use the service in the first place. This is not a reason to keep reviewing it... it's like saying they're trying to protect people from themselves from signing up with Google, who seems to be legitimate, but also does identity theft?!?

I don't believe Apple really wants innovation like this to stop... I still think there's an impetus to have good relations with AT&T in general so they can negotiate a better subsidy from them . Sigh, another day where a company screws the consumers.. or tries to, anyway. And I'm pretty sure that contact sync was exactly that, a contact sync to Google's servers. What wrong with that? Doesn't the iPhone already do that everytime you sync it in iTunes?

I guess the only resolution is when Apple provides this feature on their own... that'll be the day when birds start walking..
post #23 of 280
If Teh Google really tried to submit an app that replaced key parts of the iPhone interface with their own, then that app deserved to get rejected.

Eff Google and their arrogance.

And eff Google for stirring up such a sh*t storm against Apple and AT&T in the blogosphere while not copping to the fact that it was they who stepped over the line.

"Do no evil"? My arse.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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post #24 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

It sounds like the Google Voice app was replacing the Apple Interface all together and sending the user's personal information to a Google Server. The User was not given a choice in what Google Voice was doing.

??

And yet the Google disciples can somehow completely gloss over that little fact. Amazing...

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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post #25 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

If Teh Google really tried to submit an app that replaced key parts of the iPhone interface with their own, then that app deserved to get rejected.

Eff Google and their arrogance.

And eff Google for stirring up such a sh*t storm against Apple and AT&T in the blogosphere while not copping to the fact that it was they who stepped over the line.

"Do no evil"? My arse.

It replaced nothing. That word was intentionally selected to invoke a response from the simple minded, to make it sound as though iPhone users were actually losing something and something else was taking it's place, i.e. replaced. The entire iphone phone.app is left in place, therefore nothing is replaced. An alternative is provided.

What sort of retard would get confused between the google app that they had to download and the built-in in phone.app? Both would co-exist. Does Apple really think their users are so simple minded? I would normally say no, but the fact that some people bought into the 'replaced' wording, shows that perhaps they should,

How was google being arrogant by providing a service and app that there is huge demand for? How arrogant. Whereas Apple decided you are a twit that would be confused by another dialer, but you don't find that arrogant of them?

As far as having to cop to stepping over the line. 1) they did not. 2) what were they supposed to 'cop to? "uhh, sorry guys, our Google Voice Phone suite app would actually have some phone features...just in case you were too stupid to figure this out on your own"...I think the respect their users too much to expect they would have to spell it out in simple, small words.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

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post #26 of 280
it's the free text messaging which threatens att cash and profit cow, att is all over this
wow free texting, gee lets block that
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
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post #27 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

it's the free text messaging which threatens att cash and profit cow, att is all over this
wow free texting, gee lets block that

Bullcrap. There are other apps that let you text for free, I use AIM. Way to jump to a false conclusion.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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post #28 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

It sounds like the Google Voice app was replacing the Apple Interface all together and sending the user's personal information to a Google Server. The User was not given a choice in what Google Voice was doing.

??

To replace means to substitute one for another. This is not the case. The entire iPhone phone interface would still be available. The GV app would simply add an alternative. There are already multiple dialers for the iPhone, so this is a cop out.

The fact that user data would uploaded is a possible concern. Note that in Apple's very carefully chosen wording, they never claim that the user contacts would be sent to Google without explicit user consent. This is important to note, because if it was the case, Apple would have noted it, but they didn't. At best Apple says they are concerned they did not receive assurance from Google that user contacts information would be used appropriately. This is an intentionally vague cop out.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

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post #29 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

Bullcrap. There are other apps that let you text for free, I use AIM. Way to jump to a false conclusion.

now you are thinking sort of straight...you are right there are apps that let you sent text for free...(not that AIM is SMS), but there are apps that let you send SMS for free.

Additionally, there are apps that provide an dialer. Apps that let you call out. Apps that let you use alternative long distance providers or calling cards. Basically, they are apps that do everything the google voice app would do, but not do everything together. i.e provide an alternative, or 'replacement' for the phone.app that is built in.

So, you were against apps providing 'replacement's for built in functions...yet you claim to use some...double standards time?

EDIT: also, he wasn't jumping to conclusions. The Apple letter mentions SMS as one of the features that concerned them. So you know, way to read.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

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post #30 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610
It sounds like the Google Voice app was replacing the Apple Interface all together and sending the user's personal information to a Google Server. The User was not given a choice in what Google Voice was doing.


And yet the Google disciples can somehow completely gloss over that little fact. Amazing...

What's to gloss over? It wasn't stated in the letter. It was a hypothesis by Quadra 610. Seriously, if you are going to get so righteously indignant, you should read the letter first.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

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post #31 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

Remember that AT&T pays(subsidizes) for your iPhone. SO they need to get their money back. You cannot get the iPhone at 75% discount and expect to make free calls on it. May be someday when the full price is paid by the users, then we all can get free VOIP like Google Voice on the iPhone.

AT&T needs to recoup their investment plus profit on each iPhone they activated. Investors of AT&T need to see their investment increase in value, just like Google and Apple investors. This issue is not about control of the iPhone, it is about AT&T recouping Billions of Dollars it has paid for you and me to get our iPhone at a very low price, far lower than the MSRP.

So no Google Voice or any other VOIP on the iPhone, for now.

You're equating Google Voice with VOIP? Have you not been paying attention to the past several threads on this? You make a call with GV, you use minutes just like you would otherwise.
post #32 of 280
Apple owns the app store>> they can and shall reject any one for any reason .
don't like it ???
Apple owes no one anything .

Go apple
whats in a name ? 
beatles
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whats in a name ? 
beatles
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post #33 of 280
Reading over the Apple letter has not changed my opinion as to why the App was denyed (ok, not denied, but put on hold). It seems it was not AT&T but entirely Apple's decision. They mention 3 key reasons:
1) Replacing the iPhones core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls text messaging and voicemail
2) No guarantee from google that user data would be used appropriately.

#2 hold no water. We have no idea what Apple's standards for 'approprate use are nor if they provided these to Google. Also, note that the letter does not say the user contacts info would be sent to Google without user consent, which they certainly would have mentioned. So, it would seem , by this omission, that the sending of contacts would be optional.

While I believe that #1 was their real reason, I don't think it is a valid reason. Only part of this reason even makes sense. 'Replacing' the Apple UI for telephone calls etc? Lots of other apps do this, so why crack down on Google on this? Partly, because GV app would be the first app that would centralize all of these functions into a single UI, something not even the iPhone itself does. The main reason, I think, is the VVM feature that GV provides. It is more feature rich than Apples and Push notifications would make it a fully functional alternative to using the iPhone VVM....which Apple makes a recurring pile of money on. Every carrier pays Apple for VVM servers and pays them a sub fee for each user that subscribes to the service. On many carriers, other than AT&T, VVM is an option and so can be dropped. Lots of users would probably switch to a more feature rich, free alternative in a second...and they should be allowed to. People have used alternative voice mail systems for years, no reason they should be prevented from doing so now.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

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post #34 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

Apple owns the app store>> they can and shall reject any one for any reason .
don't like it ???
Apple owes no one anything .

Go apple

what a very thoughtful post.

Some people prefer to think and make decisions on their own.

Some people need to be told what to think, what to use, what to do. I have no respect for those people.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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post #35 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Question 3.... 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?

...There is a provision in Apples agreement with AT&T that obligates Apple not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&Ts cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&Ts permission. Apple honors this obligation, in addition to respecting AT&Ts customer Terms of Service, which, for example, prohibit an AT&T customer from using AT&Ts cellular service to redirect a TV signal to an iPhone.

The issue for anyone who uses an iPhone outside of the US is, why is Apple instructing developers to limit functionality based on only AT&T's TOS.

The iPhone is available in many countries outside the US. For example, I am in Canada and I have an iPhone from Rogers. The Terms of Service for my iPhone are different than those of AT&T customers (link below).

Why then am I being forced into limited functionality based on a Terms of Service contract that I never signed? Why should AT&T's terms of service be the lowest common denominator?

Apple needs to pay attention to the fact that the iPhone is an international product and the Apps on the App Store are available to more than just AT&T customers.

Rogers Terms of Service: http://www.rogers.com/cms/pdf/en/TOS_Eng.pdf
post #36 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak splunder View Post

Ooooh, this continues to infuriate me. Google Voice is NOT a VoIP service! It is a phone call forwarding service. Calls on both sides are connected over the phone lines. Sure, the call travels over the internet in between the two ends, but Google Voice relies 100% on actual phone service to connect the calls on both ends!!

which is fine and dandy and deals with any objections ATT might have.

HOWEVER, it does use a different interface than the iphone one and that is an issue for Apple. One point that can only be addressed by knowing the exact agreement when a developer signs up if if the rules pointedly state that such an app is a no-no is included. In which case Google should have expected a rejection. the implication is that yes such a line item is in the rules, but since we can't see the rules without signing up, we can't say with certainty

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #37 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

which is fine and dandy and deals with any objections ATT might have.

HOWEVER, it does use a different interface than the iphone one and that is an issue for Apple. One point that can only be addressed by knowing the exact agreement when a developer signs up if if the rules pointedly state that such an app is a no-no is included. In which case Google should have expected a rejection. the implication is that yes such a line item is in the rules, but since we can't see the rules without signing up, we can't say with certainty

Except that there are published apps that provide a different interface for these dame functions. Why then should Google have expected a rejection?

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post #38 of 280
Well I'll have to agree with Tulkas on some of these points, but I think the AT&T TOS seems to play a major role here, and Google's user of user data.

I do agree with Tulkas about GV not replacing Apple's interface. That does seem like dodging the issue, though not very deftly.

I'm still conflicted about how I should feel about all this. I'm quite satisfied with the way things are at the moment.
post #39 of 280
This is just the beginning of a long overdue fight between what is defined as voice and what is defined as data. Apple may have a few points, but as many posts here show, they don't really hold water. The issue here is revenue. Whether its made by selling a phone and an application or whether it's made by getting money every time you use your iPhone over a carrier. We don't really know how much Apple gets from AT&T and how it's broken down between each function of the phone application. I speculate that Apple makes a decent amount from each phone call, sms or vm that is used on an iPhone. They are not going to give that up.

If Google were to copy the functionality of the phone app, there would be a problem for Apple. The problem would be that now you can recreate a similar experience on any device that uses GV. This would put the iPhone and Apple in a situation where the experience could be duplicated easily, and create cheaper devices, (Android). Apple doesn't want to give Google access to their iPhone users in this way by risking the users migrating to another smartphone platform. Think windows 95. Apple didn't think Microsoft was a threat then, and this was long after Jobs was gone.
Do you think that Apple isn't aware of Google's plan to usurp Microsoft?

This will end up going to court or in front of Congress (ugh!).

This is far from over.
post #40 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

If Teh Google really tried to submit an app that replaced key parts of the iPhone interface with their own, then that app deserved to get rejected.

Eff Google and their arrogance.

And eff Google for stirring up such a sh*t storm against Apple and AT&T in the blogosphere while not copping to the fact that it was they who stepped over the line.

"Do no evil"? My arse.

Very good forum grammer.

If you haven't realized by now Google and Apple are competitors. They are out to make a profit just like Apple.

If Apple doesn't like that GoogleVoice puts their OS to Shame and has additional features that better the iPhone then Apple is Anti Competitive and will go down during this investigation.

I have an iPhone but their answers were complete BS considering what has already been approved.

Google used this opportunity to not only make Apple Look Bad but Also AT&T.

Steve, wake up from your coma. Get Phil out of answering emails to public shame (only when they hit the press) and start addressing the OS issues and hire more than 40 people to check apps. You charge $9,000 for a netbook (yes I know they don't have one and it certainly will only cost you your first Born and be tied to an AT&T subsidized contract for 2 years). I think you can afford it.
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