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Apple Publicly Responds to FCC Inquiry, Comments on Google Voice App Status

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As noted earlier today, Apple was expected to file comments with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission regarding their purported rejection of the Google Voice iPhone application. Apple has complied and published their response to the FCC in the Hot News section of Apple.com.

Starting off with background information on the iPhone and the App Store, Apple notes that the App Store now "offers over 65,000 iPhone applications, and customers have downloaded over 1.5 billion applications" and that it has "fostered competition as other companies (e.g., Nokia, Microsoft, RIM, Palm and Verizon) seek to develop their own mobile platforms and launch their own application stores." In describing the App Store approval process, criteria that serves to "protect consumer privacy, safeguard children from inappropriate content, and avoid applications that degrade the core experience of the iPhone" are listed and most rejections are based on bugs, with attempts made to provide feedback to the developer to help them improve it and increase the chances of an app's approval afterward.

In response to the question about the rejection of the Google Voice app, Apple states:

"Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study 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. Apple spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and innovative way to seamlessly deliver core functionality of the iPhone."

Additionally, the response describes how the Google Voice application fails to make use of the Visual Voicemail feature and the native Messaging app, as well as the fact that it uploads a user's Contacts list to Google's servers with no "assurances from Google that this data will only be used in appropriate ways." Apple commits that it is still "continuing to study the Google Voice application and its potential impact on the iPhone user experience."

Regarding the role of AT&T in relation to the Google Voice app, Apple clearly explains that AT&T has no role in the app approval process, nor does anything in Apple's contract with AT&T have any bearing in this situation. It is noted, however, that the agreement with AT&T does require Apple to not "include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&T’s cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&T’s permission," which clearly provides the reasoning behind the Wi-Fi-only functionality of the Skype VOIP app and other similar apps.

Apple's response to Question 6 provides further details on the app approval process, describing that there are "40 full-time trained reviewers" and that "at least two different reviewers study each application so that the review process is applied uniformly." Apple also reveals there is also an executive review board that oversees policies and procedures and reviews apps escalated because they "raise new or complex issues."

Article Link: Apple Publicly Responds to FCC Inquiry, Comments on Google Voice App Status
 

jayhawk11

macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2007
774
283
Holy hell....only 40 full time reviewers? No wonder things take eons to get approved or denied.

I see Apple coming out of this with a major black eye from the FCC. I've been pretty impressed with the "new" FCC so far...hopefully they keep the pressure on companies to not bend the rules as they see fit.
 
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rockstarjoe

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2006
858
62
washington dc
Seems like a lot of BS to me. IF this is true, why did they approve GV Mobile and countless other applications for Google Voice, only to pull them later? :confused:
 
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fluffy

macrumors member
Aug 7, 2003
48
2
As crappy as BREW and its app store are, it's a bit disingenuous for Apple to claim that Verizon and Qualcomm have been copying from them, seeing as how those elements of BREW existed long before Apple had even added video and third-party games to the iPod.
 
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HyperX

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2004
106
0
Nieuwegein, Netherlands
They didn't respond to the question of why they pulled the other 3 apps.

Though this google app does sounds like it changes... ALOT more then it really needed too...

Though the most eye opening things... 40 people looking at 8500 apps a week. Thats 10 and 1/2 mins per each app *if 2 people look at each app once* It seems like they have about 1/3 the amount of staffing they need ;\
 
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LagunaSol

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2003
4,798
0
"Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it."

"Continues to study it???" What the heck is Google Voice, an alien lifeform??? :rolleyes:

This PR spin oozes lameness.
 
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nxfxcom

macrumors regular
Jul 10, 2008
145
0
Only my 5cent, but i used to be a PocketPC user, and i installed a bunch of apps, most of them crashed my device, some of them soo buggy, i am actually happy that there is some quality control!
 
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Fleetwood Mac

macrumors 65816
Apr 27, 2006
1,265
0
Canada
Its an interesting read, but IMO somewhat flawed. Isn't it true that GV and the third party apps only dial through the regular phone and not VOIP? And even if it did use VOIP, why doesn't it work over wifi? I'm sure its not as complicated as Apple makes it out to be.

I could accept that it was because it duplicates core functionality, but they need to come out and say that instead of muddying the waters.
 
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haunebu

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2004
147
486
California
AT&T is all "It wasn't us. We don't have any say in the matter."

Apple is all "We don't want to *confuse* people by offering an alternative dialer, text messaging, or voicemail app."

Yeah, right. Confuse people by offering them a choice.
 
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joelmcintosh

macrumors newbie
Jul 29, 2008
9
0
Austin, TX
The Michael Jackson Story for Apple News Sites

I'm seriously tired of seeing this issue appear in almost every one of my Google Reader tech feeds. Ho-hum. Apple's response seemed straightforward and reasonable. I'm sure if Google modifies the application, it will eventually be accepted. I really can't see why the FCC is involved. What a big fat waste of time for all involved.
 
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SandynJosh

macrumors 68000
Oct 26, 2006
1,652
2
Apple's response made a lot of sense, but it left me wondering, Why, if they have the procedure they described, doesn't it work that way?
 
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JonB3Z

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2009
259
0
...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.

Huh? GV only adds its interface as an alternative, it doesn't "alter" the Apple software. Apparently, what Apple really dislikes is allowing users to choose to do anything in a non-Apple way. Wonder if they are planning to block me from using Firefox instead of Safari on my MBP?

Apple also reveals there is also an executive review board that oversees policies and procedures and reviews apps escalated because they "raise new or complex issues."

I believe that executive review board is commonly known as "Steve."
 
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ImNoSuperMan

macrumors 65816
Dec 1, 2005
1,219
64
Just 40 reviewers for 65000 apps:eek:. And they have to review the updates to these apps too. Those 40 must be robots controlled by supercomputers :rolleyes:

I m sure they`ll be cursing every time Pocket God sends them a new update for approval :p
 
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Fluffy Bunny

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2007
109
0
Hey guess what, it's Apple's app store. They can approve or disapprove anything they want for any reason. If someone doesn't like that, no one is forcing them to buy an iphone. There are plenty of other phones out there.

I know the government does a bang up job with things like the Mail, DMVs, Public Education, and soon Health Care, but we don't need them telling Apple how to run their business or what apps we are allowed or not allowed to have. The buying public can vote with their wallet.
 
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iphones4evry1

macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2008
1,197
0
California, USA
As a married couple, AT&T and Apple are having their first argument.
How long do you think it will be until they start throwing things at each other?
TwitterFon App:
 

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sinani201

macrumors newbie
Aug 21, 2009
2
0
Haha!

I love how they say "Google is of course free to provide Google Voice on the iPhone as a web application through Apple’s Safari browser."

If they're so happy about it, why not provide a better user experience and make it a real app? Apple just makes me laugh with their excuses for making bad decisions with their phone. My favorites are their reasons on why jailbreaking is bad. I sort of want them to screw up just for the lolz.

but we don't need them telling Apple how to run their business or what apps we are allowed or not allowed to have.

The FCC isn't telling Apple to do anything except answer the questions. Now that we know the answers, we can laugh at Apple!
 
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Xian Zhu Xuande

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2008
896
74
As crappy as BREW and its app store are, it's a bit disingenuous for Apple to claim that Verizon and Qualcomm have been copying from them, seeing as how those elements of BREW existed long before Apple had even added video and third-party games to the iPod.
Verizon and others are only exploring their own app stores because Apple has been so successful.
 
Comment

iphones4evry1

macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2008
1,197
0
California, USA
Haha!
I love how they say "Google is of course free to provide Google Voice on the iPhone as a web application through Apple’s Safari browser."

If they're so happy about it, why not provide a better user experience and make it a real app? Apple just makes me laugh with their excuses for making bad decisions with their phone. My favorites are their reasons on why jailbreaking is bad. I sort of want them to screw up just for the lolz.

I still don't understand why anyone would want Google Voice. Doesn't it just forward your home calls to your cell phone? Most people I know don't even have a home phone anymore. Am I missing something? Is Google Voice more than just forwarding calls?
 
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LagunaSol

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2003
4,798
0
Only my 5cent, but i used to be a PocketPC user, and i installed a bunch of apps, most of them crashed my device, some of them soo buggy, i am actually happy that there is some quality control!

Wait until Microsoft unveils its revolutionary "App Store on a Phone" - where Microsoft sets the prices (because we in the free market aren't smart enough to) and lets developers do whatever they want, unlike evil Apple. Until, of course, they don't, which is inevitable.
 
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*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
It sounds like the Google Voice app was replacing the Apple Interface all together and sending the user's personal information to a Google Server. The User was not given a choice in what Google Voice was doing.

??


Wait until Microsoft unveils its revolutionary "App Store on a Phone" - where Microsoft sets the prices (because we in the free market aren't smart enough to) and lets developers do whatever they want, unlike evil Apple. Until, of course, they don't, which is inevitable.

Don't hold your breath. WinMo is in a complete shambles and MS is completely confused when it comes to mobile strategies.
 
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brockm

macrumors member
Oct 25, 2007
90
0
I don't know about you. But I'm glad that Apple rejected this application. Otherwise, I may have installed it on my phone. Had this occurred, I would likely have become very confused and not known what to do.

If I had more than one way to place phone calls on my phone, I would enjoy my phone significantly less, and likely fall into a deep depressive episode.

I'm glad to see that Apple is protecting me from this confusion-inducing, alternative calling system. I understand that I could save hundreds of dollars on long distance and be able to do amazing things like centralize all my phone numbers into a single phone number. But the confusion that would arise from having this application on my phone would degrade my experience.

If you'll excuse me, I need to place a phone call using Skype from my iPhone.
 
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yonis

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2009
42
0
40 Reviewers?!:eek: They REEEEEAAALLY need to hire more reviewers.

They have 40 full-time App Store reviewers which look at about 8,500 new/updated apps each week. That's ≈42 per reviewer per day, or 1 app reviewed per reviewer every ≈12 minutes. Seems about right to me.
 
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