Apple, AT&T Deny Collusion in FCC Google Voice Inquiry

FCC, National Broadband Plan, Wireless August 24th, 2009

, Reporter, BroadbandBreakfast.com

WASHINGTON, August 24, 2009 – Apple, Inc. and AT&T on Friday filed responses with the Federal Communications Commission in which both companies strenuously denied that Apple’s removal of the Google Voice application from Apple’s iPhone App Store was for anticompetitive reasons.

The two companies, as well as Google, were responding to an inquiry by the commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau that had been prompted by Apple’s refusal to allow consumers to download Google’s Google Voice application to use on their iPhones. The application lets users make and receive calls, text messages and voice mail from Google Voice – not the underlying AT&T wireless service.

Apple denied it had banned Google Voice, instead insisting it was “studying” the application to determine its’ effect on the iPhone user experience. Google Voice “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 said in its’ response – an alteration Apple feels requires further investigation.

But Apple insisted it had no dealings with AT&T in its’ decision: “Apple is acting alone and has not consulted with AT&T about whether or not to approve the Google Voice application,” the company wrote.

AT&T also denied any consultation with Apple, with both companies insisting no contractual arrangement exists between with with respect to the iPhone app store.

But Google might have other thoughts. In it’s response to the FCC’s inquiry, Google redacted Apple’s reasons for rejecting the application as “confidential.”

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