The whole saga around the rejection of the official Google Voice client for the iPhone continues to play a prominent role on many websites. We all remember that the FCC had asked the three companies involved, AT&T, Google, and Apple, to answer a number of questions, but Google had censored a part of its letter. The censored section has now been published by Google.
In the original replies to the FCC’s questions, Apple stated that it had, in fact, not rejected Google’s own official Google Voice client, but that it was still under consideration. Google’s answer to the relevant question which asked Google to divulge the reasons given by Apple for not approving the Google Voice application was censored by Google’s request.
Several individuals filed Freedom of Information Act requests to get the answer uncensored, and Google complied with these requests, and now the letter is on the FCC’s website, uncensored. This is how the answer goes:
Apple’s representative informed Google that the Google Voice application was rejected because Apple believed the application duplicated the core dialer functionality of the iPhone. The Apple representative indicated that the company did not want applications that could potentially replace such functionality.
In a series of in-person meetings, phone calls and emails between July 5 and July 28, 2009, Apple and Google representative discussed the approval status of the Google Voice application that was submitted on June 2, 2009. The primary points of contact between the two companies were Alan Eustace, Google Senior Vice President of Engineering and Research and Phil Schiller, Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing. On July 7, Mr. Eustace and Mr. Schiller spoke over the phone. It was during this call that Mr. Schiller informed Mr. Eustace that Apple was rejecting the Google Voice application for the reasons described above.
This is a direct contradiction with the words from Apple, who stated that the application was not rejected, but that it was still under consideration. Google here states that the application was rejected, end of story. When asked to comment on the now uncensored parts of Google’s letters, an Apple spokesperson said:
We do not agree with all of the statements made by Google in their FCC letter. Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application and we continue to discuss it with Google.
So, the big question now is, who is the one twisting the truth, or maybe even downright lying? While I don’t really trust either of the two companies (because they’re companies), the appearances are against Apple; in their letter to the FCC, they already lied about the Google Voice application “replacing” things like the dialer, while in fact, it only duplicates it by adding another, application-specific dialer. In addition, as John Gruber pointed out, try searching the App Store for “dialer”.
Other complaints from Apple in their letter proved to be dubious too, such as the privacy concerns they raised about contacts being uploaded to Google Contacts. This functionality has been part of iTunes for a while now, so the complaints raised by Apple were rather moot.
All in all though, we have to remember that we are dealing with companies here, and by definition, companies lie. By policy, companies will lie and deceit until their pants combust, so it’s really hard to tell who is telling the truth here. What do you think?
Apple has continued to state even after this latest Google revelation that it didn’t reject the app. I guess time might tell. I doubt the FCC will do anything about it in any case.
In my own personal opinion, there’s no contradiction. Apple flat-out lied in their reply to FCC. And I am not saying that because Google said their thing to FCC and Apple said their own thing to FCC (it’s one word against the other anyway). The reason I say this is because of what happened to the OTHER google voice applications, applications written by third parties that had nothing to do with Google.
And what happened to them was that they were first approved, and then, a few weeks later (when Google submitted their own app), they were UNapproved. Which tells me, that Apple didn’t care too much about the whole google voice thing at first, and then when Google itself submitted their own OFFICIAL app for google voice, then Apple did a 180 degree change to their policy because they realized that the official app has more weight.
Because of what happened to these two OTHER apps, it tells me that Apple DID reject Google’s app, and that what they are saying right now that the app is STILL under “inspection” (after all these months) is pure hogwash. Bullshit. Bollocks.
Edited 2009-09-19 23:01 UTC