Like clockwork, the FCC has released the statements from AT&T, Apple, and Google which respond to the Commission’s inquiries into why the Google Voice app was rejected from the iTunes App store.
Since AT&T denied any involvement early on, we have been eagerly awaiting Apple’s take on the situation. Cupertino replied with a six-page letter.
“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…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.”
Apple also confirms AT&T’s statements which absolve it from blame in the rejection of the app, “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 noncontractual understandings with AT&T have been a factor in Apple’s decision-making process in this matter.”
However, it does confirm that the operator does not want VoIP on the iPhone: “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 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.”
After providing some examples of apps that have been rejected from the iTunes App store on the basis of bugginess, inappropriate content, and violation of AT&T customer Terms of Service, Apple said: “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.”