updated 10:50 pm EDT, Sun August 23, 2009
Apple lied to FCC?
Apple's may have deliberately mislead the Federal Communications Commission, according to Kevin Duerr, a developer of one of the Google Voice-related applications removed from the App Store. The developer believes the company is lying and suggests that were Apple's rejected Google Voice, VoiceCentral and two other related apps and instead claimed it was still studying the "potential impact on the iPhone user experience."
"The one thing that's frustrated me more than anything else is that if they stick with the story of duplication," said Duerr, "At what point are apps duplicating [Apple's functionality] on the iPhone?"
Apple told the FCC it had not approved the apps because the software alters "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."
A recent TechCrunch article also questions Apple's claims, arguing that the company has both rejected the app and cites untrue and misleading reasons for doing so. The article's writer claims to be "intimately familiar with the Google Voice service and applications," and insists the app does not replace or interfere with the iPhone's user interface. The article says that Apple's belief that the app transfers the user's Contacts database to Google's servers is false, and instead suggests that the app works similar to many other iPhone apps by accessing the iPhone's contacts without syncing the information to the Google servers.
The FCC launched its probe three weeks ago, inferring that the app rejections fell under the obligations of an AT&T/Apple agreement. The companies have both plead contrary cases, stating that while AT&T does sometimes notify Apple that various App Store submissions violate their agreement to ban VoIP software from straddling AT&T's data network for phone calls, the wireless carrier did not play a part in the Google Voice situation.
The investigation is part of a larger FCC inquiry into pricing and the exclusive arrangements between smartphone producers and mobile carriers. The FCC will vote whether to launch a full investigation of the wireless industry practices on Thursday.