The FCC responses are in and now we know what Google, Apple and AT&T have to say on the matter. AT&T claims innocence. Apple claims… well I don’t what they are claiming because their answers don’t make sense. And, frankly, we are calling BS.
Be forewarned, the insincerity in their response lies thick and the facts simply don’t support their arguments. Here are some selected quotes from their response letter:
“Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it.”
That’s not what Mr. Richard from Apple told us. He said that it was “not allowed due to policy.” And that sounds very different than we are “pondering it”.
“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.”
Um, no. The SDK does not make it possible to “replace” the iPhone’s core anything. This is simply a very specific solution for Google Voice Users to utilize that distinct and separate service. It has to be accessed just as any other App does and it does not replace a thing. It also has to be installed by the user who chose that App for its specific functionality. Would a user that went out of their way to download and install the app really have a “confusion” issue between this and the native phone app??
“For example, on an iPhone, the “Phone” icon that is always shown at the bottom of the Home Screen launches Apple’s mobile telephone application, providing access to Favorites, Recents, Contacts, a Keypad, and Visual Voicemail.”
Always shown at the bottom? I guess so, that is unless a user chooses to put something else in their dock as Apple allows. This example is really just silly, perhaps Apple forgot they enabled that “feature”.
“The Google Voice application replaces Apple’s Visual Voicemail by routing calls through a separate Google Voice telephone number that stores any voicemail, preventing voicemail from being stored on the iPhone, i.e., disabling Apple’s Visual Voicemail. Similarly, SMS text messages are managed through the Google hub—replacing the iPhone’s text messaging feature.”
Again they choose the word “replace” which couldn’t be further from the truth. This is where we get to the heart of what Apple is ignoring: Users deserve choice. This App simply gives users options. By personal example, I give my AT&T/iPhone number out mostly to personal friends. I use the AT&T/iPhone voice, voicemail, and SMS services natively for my interactions with them. However, I have that same iPhone number as a member of my Google Voice profile. I use the Google Voice number for business. So, then I can use VoiceCentral to access voicemail, transcriptions, and SMS for my business line. Therefore I use the native Apple functions and the Google Voice functions interchangeably and about equally. That’s my choice. Never been confused and nothing is duplicated. It’s not a “separate” number and it would be ludicrous to consider Apple’s Visual Voicemail “disabled”. Oh and another thing, Google Voice’s SMS works best when you use it in conjunction with the iPhone text messaging since there is no good way to enable a Push Notification for SMS at present.
“In addition, the iPhone user’s entire Contacts database is transferred to Google’s servers, and we have yet to obtain any assurances from Google that this data will only be used in appropriate ways.”
Wait, what?!? Maybe Google’s app did something different but ours simply allowed convenient access to your iPhone Contacts for initiating calls. Just as countless other apps do and their API specifically enables.
And the greatest insult comes near the end:
“…we send the developer a note describing the reason why the application will not be approved as submitted. In many cases we are able to provide specific guidance about how the developer can fix the application. We also let them know they can contact the app review team or technical support, or they can write to us for further guidance.”
Here’s our Exhibit A: Richard. Where’s our “specific guidance”? How come our emails from July 27th still go unresponded? Apple, who can we write to “for further guidance”? Phil Schiller, you’ve been the App Store Angel lately… can we talk?
There is one thing that strikes me as funny with Apple’s continued inappropriate use of the word “replace”. That’s exactly what I’m thinking about doing: “replacing” all of my Apple gear. Starting with the iPhone. Going to try the MyTouch Android but I’ll tell you something I’ve learned over the last two weeks: the Palm Pre is a very nice device.