Apple responds to Google Voice blocking claims

By Iain Thomson on Aug 24, 2009 7:47 AM
Filed under Technology

Company says it isn't blocking it but needs more time to study.

Apple has responded to a request for information from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as to why the Google Voice application isn't available for the iPhone.

Last month the FCC said it was investigating Apple's lack of support for Google Voice, amid allegations that the company was blocking it at the bequest of AT&T, which sells the iPhone in the US. Today Apple denied this and said it wasn't allowing Google Voice because it interfered with the iPhone's user experience.

“Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it,” said the company.

“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 said Google Voice could be offered through the Safari browser but if it was installed as an application on the phone then it would interfere with key aspects of the phone's use.

It also said that it was concerned that Google stored all the information from Voice users on its servers and had given Apple no assurances that the information would not be used in an inappropriate way.

In its submission to the FCC Google said that while Voice could be used via the browser having it as an installed application was a superior method of using the service. Users could not for example access their iPhone address books using the web version.

However, the section of Google's response dealing with why it felt Apple had blocked the application was redacted and not available for public consumption.

AT&T also issued a response to the FCC in which it denied any role in the decision-making process over applications for the device.

“AT&T had no role in any decision by Apple to not accept the Google Voice application for inclusion in the Apple App Store,” James W. Cicconi, senior executive vice president of External and Legislative Affairs at AT&T.

“AT&T was not asked about the matter by Apple at any time, nor did it offer any view one way or the other. More broadly, AT&T does not own, operate or control the Apple App Store and is not typically consulted regarding the approval or rejection of applications for the App Store or informed when an application is approved or rejected.”

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Apple responds to Google Voice blocking claims
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