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AT&T denies blocking Google Voice apps

updated 11:50 am EDT, Sat August 1, 2009

FCC probes Google app

AT&T on Saturday issued a brief initial response to Federal Communications Commission letters of inquiry sent to Apple, AT&T and Google on Friday regarding their roles in the rejection of Google Voice-enabled apps. Addressing concerns that it may have denied the apps to exclude a service that provides lower-cost long distance and SMS without using its data network, AT&T spokesman Brad Mays flatly denied any link between AT&T and decisions made by Apple as to which apps are allowed on the App Store, instead putting the responsibility on the iPhone maker. A larger response is said to be forthcoming.

"AT&T does not manage or approve applications for the App Store," Mays said. "We have received the letter and will, of course, respond to it."

The letters asked Apple and AT&T if the carrier pressed Apple into declining the recent Google voice app. The FCC also asked Google to explain Google Voice and detail which apps have been approved or denied in the past, such as Google Earth and Google Mobile App.

AT&T's statement contradicts its own stance on iPhone apps in the past. It was previously responsible for limiting SlingPlayer for iPhone to using Wi-Fi for streaming the feed from a remotely connected Slingbox. It was only released on the App Store after AT&T specifically modified its terms of service to exclude use of SlingPlayer over 3G on iPhones, calling them "personal computers" but not making a similar provision for BlackBerries and other similarly competitive handsets.

The letters are a part of a larger FCC investigation into the access to exclusive phones for rural customers when they aren't serviced by the relevant carriers in their areas.

To date, neither Apple nor Google have issued public responses to the FCC letters.

By Electronista Staff


  1. b9robot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2009


    Typical for AT&T Point at

    Typical for AT&T to point the finger at the other guy.
    In any case, Apple should reverse there decision as it wouldn't hurt there business and it would finally make texting free like it should have been all along.

  1. phillymjs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000



    Follow the money. Apple wouldn't lose money from people using GV's features. AT

  1. Peter Bonte

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001



    It could be that Apple is preparing a iChat version for the iPhone, maybe they are temporarily removed until after the update.

  1. ggirton

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    Google Voice s great

    But you still pay for receiving a text message, since it goes to your phone anyway.

  1. Le Flaneur

    Senior User

    Joined: Oct 1999



    Read John Gruber's blog. Why would Apple care? The problem for AT

  1. luckyday

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    Apple is the company that ultimately made the decision. Does it make it better to argue that it was a result of AT&T's prompting? I think that's almost more ridiculous

  1. dmsimmer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005


    AT&T Ads

    Now we know that "More bars" means keeping people from options.

    It certainly didn't mean reception.

  1. cvbcvb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2003



    Not only SlingPlayer was hosed but letís not forget the handcuffs put on Skype (by AT&T)!


  1. CmdrGampu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2009


    Can't stand them

    AT&T is still up to its old tricks. They were a dishonest company when the government broke them up in the early 80s and they're still crooked. That's why I refuse to buy an iPhone until there's one from another carrier.

  1. slider

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Yes and Yes

    Seriously, Verizon as a company isn't any better. But, in my area at least, they seem to have better coverage. I know that AT&Ts is expanding/improving rapidly since the iPhone first came out.

    There's a bigger story here and I'm really curious what it is. Is it possible that AT&T is having all these issues b/c of the rapid increase in data traffic since not only the intro of the iPhone, but also the general increased number of smart phones and wireless PC connects that seem to be the norm more and more? Has anyone put together any numbers on the type of traffic on individual carrier networks?

    I'm bumping into more and more people with iPhones recently, it's starting to look like the number if iPods.

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