Aug 21st, 2009

google-voice-logoYou’ve probably heard about the iPhone & Google Voice fiasco, but if you haven’t let us fill you in. Google has an AMAZING service called Google Voice (formerly Grand Central) which had been available via the web. Recently Google took the “beta” label off Google Voice and published mobile applications for both Android Market and the iPhone App Store that would allow users of each platform to enjoy the best possible mobile experience/integration.

Only iPhone users couldn’t enjoy anything because the Google Voice Application was rejected from the iPhone App Store. The FCC responded almost instantaneously, launching a full investigation into the actions of both AT&T and Apple in their move to block the application. The FCC asked each company to file a report outlining their involvement in the rejection, and those reports were completed and submitted today.

[Read the response from each company: Google, Apple, AT&T]

Right now it seems Apple will bare the brunt of criticism after AT&T flat out denied any involvement in the decision, effectively leaving Apple to get crushed by the FCC bus.

“Let me state unequivocally, AT&T had no role in any decision by Apple to not accept the Google Voice application for inclusion in the Apple App Store,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs.

“AT&T was not asked about the matter by Apple at any time, nor did it offer any view one way or the other,”

We have yet to hear from Apple. Meanwhile, USA Today cried foul, pointing a finger at Google and essentially calling the company a bunch of hypocrites. Afterall, Google only allowed a half-baked version of Skype (Skype Lite) on the Android Market and rejected a full version of the VoIP app to protect their own interests, and that is exactly what Apple is doing here. Right?


Wrong. Plain and simple wrong and Andry Rubin took to the Google Public Policy Blog to make sure the entire world would know about it:

Here are the facts, clear and simple: While the first generation of our Android software did not support full-featured VoIP applications due to technology limitations, we have worked through those limitations in subsequent versions of Android, and developers are now able to build and upload VoIP services.


As we told USA Today earlier in the week Google did not reject an application from Skype or from any other company that provides VoIP services. To suggest otherwise is false. At this point no software developer — including Skype — has implemented a complete VoIP application for Android. But we’re excited to see — and use — these applications when they’re submitted, because they often provide more choice and options for users. We also look forward to the day when consumers can access any application, including VoIP apps, from any device, on any network.

BURN! What I find ridiculous is that Google already told USA Today earlier in the week that this is NOT how the Skype situation with Android went down. Clearly USA today is sailing a ship of iFanboys into the side of FCC mountain.

Unfortunately I don’t think FCC involvement is necessary. Furthermore I wish the FCC wouldn’t get involved. Apple owns the iPhone platform and they should have the right to accept/deny applications based on their own principles. The rejection of the Google Voice Application has only proved the company is incapable of fairly monitoring their App Store in favor of their own customers interests. And their customers – including prominent Apple fans with HUGE persuasion power – are angrily peacing out and suggesting everyone they know do the same.

Its clear (at least in my mind) that Google’s open nature and attitude will win out in the long-run, and if Apple doesn’t change up their attitude, they’re going to get pummeled. Apple as a “cool” brand is starting to decline as they piss people off with the same proprietary bull crap from which Android’s purpose was born. And Jason Kincaid from TechCrunch makes a great point – even if Google DID reject the Skype application for Android, the company could distribute it places besides the Android Market since users can freely download and install APKs from 3rd parties.

Google isn’t perfect by any means. Google makes mistakes. Google is a publicly traded company and they have to look out for stock holder interests, too. But I think the management at Google has their heart in the right place – with the customers. And they realize that in the new age of business, maximum long-term profitability is achieved by first and foremost satisfying the needs and wants of the customers and figuring out how to best monetize the awesome solutions you’ve provided them.

Apple hasn’t dug a grave with this latest fiasco, but they’re helping Google illustrate the benefits of Android and watching prominent Apple fans switch sides because of their irresponsibility in serving their faithful customers. And that’s why I love Android… good lookin’ out as always, Big G.