Sunday, August 9, 2009

Federal Communications Commission Seeks Explanation from Apple and AT&T for Rejecting Google Voice Apps

Apple’s rejection of the Google Voice Application has become one of the hottest news across the mobile phone industry. There has been a lot of speculation regarding the reason behind this huge step Apple has taken to prevent applications getting duplicated. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took this issue quite seriously and launched an investigation on Friday to dig deep into the matter. FCC has been questioning Apple Inc. (AAPL) and AT&T Inc (T) regarding their rejection of Google Voice Application and removal of similar third-party applications from the App Store. However, this news has certainly put iPhone developer into deep thought.

Late on Friday, FCC sent letters to all the three companies asking them for explanation. The letter further seeks information whether or how AT&T was consulted in Apple’s decision of the rejection or removal of apps from the App Store. For the convenience of their investigation, FCC asked Apple to describe the conversation the company had with its partner (AT&T) while making decisions. In the letter the commission said:

“Why did Apple reject the Google Voice application for iPhone and remove related third-party applications from its App Store?… 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?…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?”

FCC did not leave the matter to that but further asked about other VOIP applications that are approved by the company for iPhone and the ones that have been rejected in general. The commission also enquired about the standards that Apple has set for approving or rejecting apps and its approval process.

However, while FCC is busy investigating the issue, an AT&T spokesperson supported his company’s stand and said that they do not have any role in making decisions related to iPhone application approval or disapproval – it is Apple and Apple alone. In his comment, he said - “We have received the letter and will of course respond to it. AT&T does not manage or approve applications for the app store,”

No matter what the reason maybe, it is for sure that Apple’s decision will certainly have an impact on every iPhone app developer and upset almost every iPhone user.

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