Originally Posted by Tulkas
No, I am not saying it violates the ToS. As far as providing a way around using the AT&T long distance service or internation call service , the Google Voice service provides no more than any of the examples I provided. So, when I say "At best they avoid the long distance charges", they aren't skirting anything that other legal and allowed services provide.
By saying that it does violate the long distance payments, at least, you are saying it. You may not have used the words, but you did say it.
As I mentioned, those are different services that are allowed by law. This is not the same. It isn't a calling card, or a discount card. It required you to get another phone number among other things.
An outbound call forwarding, where you call a local access number, then enter the number you want to reach,then connects you directly or calls you back. How does this differ, at all, from the Google Voice service? You are still making local calls using the AT&T network to a service that uses their own network to connect you for less than AT&T would charge. Calling cards would be similar. You say these would then be covered by some legal provisions...how could those not apply to Google providing an identical service for outbound call forwarding?
You need to get another phone number, plus other requirements that the other services don't use.
Would being a lawyer help me see the difference? Maybe. If you are a lawyer, then perhaps you could explain it. If the examples I gave do not violate the ToS, how could GV in this sense?
I've already said that the law recognizes distinctions. This isn't (as yet) recognized. That's one of the reasons the FCC is looking into it.
I just don't agree I guess. I see the SKYPE issue as a simple case of how AT&T allows the data network to be used. (I don't like ISPs of any kind, wireless or landline, deciding how I can use my data, but that is not relevant in this case) AT&T clearly prohibits VOIP on their data network, so SKYPE was forbidden to allow VOIP on AT&T data network.
GV call forwarding put none of the voice traffic on the data network. It is purely a voice call on AT&T's network a subject to whatever costs might apply. I can't see how the fact that the local number you are calling might end up forwarding you on to another number, perhaps over their own VOIP network, could be compared to the SKYPE situation.
Well, this would allow you to avoid paying the $1.29 a minute to the UK, for example. I have a plan that allows me to call for $0.99 a minute, but you wouldn't be paying that either. That would be using their network to avoid paying mandated fees, thus violating their terms of service in a way not allowed by law, which those calling cards are allowed to do, because those companies pay for network blocks at lower prices. Google isn't paying AT&T for those blocks.
But they very clearly do not mention AT&T's ToS in any way related to GV. They mention it only to explain any influence that AT&T has on app approval in general, as per contractual obligations to AT&T. Then they even more bluntly state that "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."
They mention the contractual obligations, then state that they alone are making the decision. That's fine as it goes. But you have to read between the lines.
If Apple has a contractual obligation to prevent users from violating the TOS, then why does Apple need to consult with AT&T when an app comes along that does? Apple would be able to decide that themselves. AT&T's advice isn't needed.
Unless Apple is boldly lying, there really is no question that AT&T and AT&Ts ToS has no impact on the status of GV app. If we take Apple at their word, then they themselves clearly rule out an AT&T ToS violation or contractual obligations to AT&T as even being factor.
They don't have to lie. When I was in business, there were contracts that I had to adhere to. I had lawyers to make sure they were written properly. If I had to disallow something, then I did. I didn't have to run to my partners and consult every time. If the contract is that poorly written that you can't figure out what must be done, then that's not good.
Not just the main attraction. It would be stripping really the only reason for the app itself to exist..i.e. as a front end to the GV service. It would be a bit like asking a word processor app to just leave out the work processing. Or am IM app to leave out messaging. If the only way to to have the app approved is to remove the app, then what is the point?
There are other features that could be used, but yeah, that's basically what I meant.
Well, they could certainly make it difficult for users...which is really all that banning the app itself accomplishes. Blocking local access numbers from their network and DNS blocking of GV address would disrupt the use of the service on their network...Worthless and easily worked around, but if their ToS actually bans the service, then yeah, they could make an impact. And with laws against circumventing technological barriers, they might even be able to take legal action against users that use the service...again pointless, but no less so than the banning of the app.
This all comes down to how open should networks and software platforms be?
There must be some flexibility, but companies can't be allowed to cut too much off either.
Computers grew up with the concept of unlimited software. but these new phone platforms did not, because of network control of the early systems, and now, also with the phone manufacturers control.
There will be some (un)happy medium reached within a few years as this all evolves. We need to give it some time.