FCC – Apple and AT&T Questioned for Google Voice App Rejection

When Apple rejected Google voice App from App Store, questions were raised. How could they reject such a revolutionary App for a premier partner of Apple?

It didn’t make sense. Most people predicted the culprit is AT&T. Apple living hard on AT&T’s mercy, goes as per what suits this steamy big old carrier.

Were predicting that someone someday will wake up to investigate why Google’s Voice app was rejected. Did Apple give out a similar excuse – like they did for avoiding Leagalization of Jailbreaking of iPhone.

Now FCC is involved and they have begun an investigation into the matter.

“The Federal Communications Commission has a mission to foster a competitive wireless marketplace, protect and empower consumers, and promote innovation and investment,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said last evening. “Recent news reports raise questions about practices in the mobile marketplace. The Wireless Bureau’s inquiry letters to these companies about their practices reflect the Commission’s proactive approach to getting the facts and data necessary to make the best policy decisions on behalf of the American people.”

As a matter of fact, Investigation had already started. In its letters to AT&T, Apple, and Google, the Commission asked each party to clarify exactly what happened and why the application was blocked from the iTunes App Store.

From Apple, the FCC would like to know why the Google Voice applications were removed, why Google’s own client was rejected from the App Store, and whether or not any other related applications were removed. In addition, the FCC would like contact information for the involved developers. They’re also interested in any differences between Google Voice and other VoIP applications that did get approved for the App Store.

They also want to know if Apple did this in consultation with AT&T, or whether they acted alone. On a more general note, they also want to know if AT&T has any influence in the App Store approval process, whether in general or for specific applications.

But this isn’t all. The FCC is also interested in the App Store beyond just the Google Voice issue. The FCC wants to know the criteria for App Store rejection, the details of the submission process, the amount of rejected applications, a list of those applications, and so on.

Among its half-dozen questions, the FCC bluntly asked Apple why the app was rejected, and whether there is a list of prohibited apps that is provided to potential vendors, developers and iTunes customers.

To AT&T, the commission asked a number of similar questions,and asked to “Explain AT&T’s understanding of any differences between the Google Voice iPhone application and any Voice over Internet Protocol applications that are currently used on the AT&T network, either via the iPhone or via handsets other than the iPhone.”

As the Wall Street Journal pointed out this evening, this inquiry is significant because the FCC received no complaints about the rejection, and it was spurred purely by “Recent press reports [which] indicate that Apple has declined to approve the Google Voice application for the iPhone and has removed related (and previously approved) third-party applications from the iPhone App Store.”

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