Article in the WSJ... WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission has launched an inquiry into why Apple Inc. rejected Google Inc.'s Internet-telephony software for the popular iPhone, another sign of the Obama administration's stepped-up scrutiny of competitive practices in the technology industry. In letters sent late Friday to the two companies and AT&T Inc., the FCC asked why Apple rejected the Google Voice application for the iPhone and removed related applications from its App Store. The letter also seeks information on how AT&T, the exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier, was consulted in the decision, if at all. Document FCC Letter to Apple The FCC's letter to Google asks for a description of the Google Voice application and whether Apple has approved any other Google applications for its store. Google Voice assigns a single phone number to a user's cellphone, land line or Internet phone accounts. It also allows free text messaging and inexpensive international calls. On Tuesday, Google said Apple wouldn't let it distribute the software through its App Store, where iPhone users can download software. Apple has previously turned away Internet-telephony programs because they repeated key iPhone functions. In a statement Friday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the FCC "has a mission to foster a competitive wireless marketplace, protect and empower consumers, and promote innovation and investment." The inquiry letters "reflect the Commission's proactive approach to getting the facts and data necessary to make the best policy decisions." The inquiry isn't a formal investigation, but it is notable because the FCC hadn't received a complaint about Apple's rejection of Google Voice. Apple declined to comment on the matter. AT&T declined to comment on the inquiry, saying it doesn't manage or approve applications for Apple's App Store. Google wasn't immediately available to comment. Earlier this month, Google said it heeded to Apple's request not to release an application version of its friend-finding service, Google Latitude, for the iPhone. In a blog post, Google said, "Apple requested we release Latitude as a Web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone, which uses Google to serve maps tiles." Earlier this year, the non-profit Internet group Free Press asked the FCC to look into why Apple put restrictions on eBay Inc.'s Skype's iPhone application so that it would work on Wi-Fi hotspots, but not over AT&T's 3G wireless network. The agency hasn't launched an inquiry into that case. The FCC's request for information is part of a broader inquiry on exclusive deals between cellphone carriers and handset manufacturers for popular phones.