updated 05:50 pm EDT, Mon August 24, 2009
RingCentral app overlooked
RingCentral Mobile, an app with very similar features to those of Google Voice, has been overlooked by the FCC, says BrainStorm Tech. Should Apple's public response to the FCC be considered earnest, the website asserts RingCentral would have faced similar scrutiny by Apple, given the numerous similarities between it and Google Voice. The column additionally notes that the RingCentral app was the template from which both Google Voice, and its predecessor, GrandCentral, were built.
The RingCentral app performs most of the same functions as Google Voice -- universal telephone number, voicemail, dail-by-name directory, and call forwarding -- and utilizes VoIP services that AT&T scrutinizes. The two apps do differ slightly, with users requiring a subscription to RingCentral at $10 per month for individuals and $100 per month for larger businesses. If Google Voice had been approved, it would have been free.
RingCentral was approved almost 10 months ago and faced no opposition to the services to it provided. BrainStorm Tech also suggests that RingCentral has signed a strategic agreement with AT&T to do "something much bigger and cooler that they will not discuss openly because of intense competition."
Furthermore, Apple has expressed discontent with the number of Google-based apps that are core to the iPhone, according to a TechCrunch analysis. "The Google Voice App takes things one step further," says the article, "by giving users an incentive to abandon their iPhone phone number and use their Google Voice phone number instead."
The FCC plans to meet Thursday to vote on whether to proceed with a full-scale investigation of wireless industry practices.