Michael Arrington of TechCrunch parses Apple’s response to the FCC about its rejection of the Google Voice app from the iPhone App Store.
Part of the response, he says, is “a total lie”–specifically the basic premise that Apple has not “rejected” the app but is merely “studying” it.
Other parts of the letter, says Mike, are highly misleading.
These are serious charges. Mike attributes his characterizations to sources at Google, who were apparently told by Apple that the app was being rejected.
Based on these assertions, the FCC’s next stop should be to follow up by interviewing folks at Google about the process. If there are discrepancies in what Apple is telling the FCC and what Google tells them, this could quickly blow up into a major problem for Apple.
As evidenced by Jason Calacanis’s post last week–The Case Against Apple–sentiment about the company has shifted over the past few years from cult-like support for a beloved underdog to anger over what appear to be bullying and anti-consumer practices of an emerging monopolist.
Apple’s market share in iPhones is still far too low for the company to have an actual anti-trust issue. As we’ve been saying for the past couple of years, however, the smartphone game is rapidly becoming a platform game (think Windows). If Apple’s behaviour today leads to an FCC crackdown (or merely public outrage), this could have a major impact on the company’s market share, power, and financial performance in 3-5 years. So the result of this investigation–and its impact on not only Apple but Google–are very important.
The first part of Apple’s argument, that they never rejected the application, is “a total lie,” according to many sources with knowledge of the Google Voice application process.
The second part of Apple’s argument, that the Google Voice application hurts the iPhone’s distinctive user experience, is seriously misleading…
Here’s the key language from Apple’s letter, with my comments:
Apple: “Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it.”
Reality: One third party Google Voice app developer disclosed to us in July that Apple SVP
told them that Google’s own app would be or already was rejected. Google also confirmed this to us later. There is overwhelming evidence that Apple did in fact reject the application.
Apple: “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 spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and innovative way to seamlessly deliver core functionality of the iPhone.”
Reality: This strongly suggests that the Google Voice app replaces much of the core Apple iPhone OS function. This certainly isn’t accurate, and we believe the statement is misleading. More details below, but in general the iPhone app is a very light touch and doesn’t interfere with any native iPhone apps at all.
Read the whole thing >
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