Google Says Apple Rejected Voice App

A letter that Google sent to the FCC to explain the circumstances surrounding Apple's refusal to offer the Google Voice app for the iPhone offers a different explanation than Apple's letter.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

September 18, 2009

2 Min Read

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday posted an unredacted version of a letter from Google that contradicts Apple's claim that the Google Voice app was not rejected.

Apple's refusal to distribute the Google Voice app through its App Store prompted the FCC in July to send letters to Apple, AT&T, and Google seeking an explanation. The agency said it wished to understand the situation more completely in light of pending regulatory proceedings on wireless open access and mobile handset exclusivity.

In its public letter to the FCC last month, Apple stated: "Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it."

Google's letter previously offered a confidential explanation of the fate of Google Voice. But several media organizations and individuals filed requests to see the letter under the Freedom of Information Act.

Google decided that because Apple had made its letter public and because of the FOIA requests, it would no longer ask that portions of its letter be withheld.

The unredacted version made available on the FCC Web site on Friday reveals that Google's explanation differs from Apple's.

"Apple's representatives informed Google that the Google Voice application was rejected because Apple believed the application duplicated the core dialer functionality of the iPhone," Google's letter states. "The Apple representatives indicated that the company did not want applications that could potentially replace such functionality."

Apple's letter describes the iPhone dialer as "core mobile telephone functionality" and characterizes the company's actions as a defense of "the iPhone's distinctive user experience," whereas Google's language suggests a defense against competition.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on smartphone security. Download the report here (registration required).

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights