FCC’s Questions To AT&T On Banning Of Google Voice From App Store
Last week it was found that the FCC had initiated an investigation in to the unofficial banning of applications from the App Store for Google Voice. Now the questions asked of AT&T have been made public, and underscore the concerns of the FCC and much of the iPhone-using public.
- What role, if any, did AT&T play in Apple’s consideration of the Google Voice and related applications? What role, if any, does AT&T play in consideration of iPhone applications generally? What roles are specified in the contractual provisions between Apple and AT&T (or in any non-contractual understanding between the companies) regarding the consideration of particular iPhone applications?
- Did Apple consult with AT&T in the process of deciding to reject the Google Voice application? If so, please describe any communications between AT&T and Apple or Google on this topic, including the parties involved and a summary of any meetings or discussions.
- Please explain AT&T’s understanding of any differences between the Google Voice iPhone application and any Voice over Internet Protocol applications that are currently used on the AT&T network, either via the iPhone or via handsets other than the iPhone.
- To AT&T’s knowledge, what other applications have been rejected for use on the iPhone? Which of these applications were designed to operate on AT&T’s 3G network? What was AT&T’s role in considering whether such applications would be approved or rejected?
- Please detail any conditions included in AT&T’s agreements or contracts with Apple for the iPhone related to the certification of applications or any particular application’s ability to use AT&T’s 3G network.
- Are there any terms in AT&T’s customer agreements that limit customer usage of certain third-party applications? If so, please indicate how consumers are informed of such limitations and whether such limitations are posted on the iTunes website as well. In general, what is AT&T’s role in certifying applications on devices that run over AT&T’s 3G network? What, if any, applications require AT&T’s approval to be added to a device? Are there any differences between AT&T’s treatment of the iPhone and other devices used on its 3G network?
- Please list the services/applications that AT&T provides for the iPhone, and whether there any similar, competing iPhone applications offered by other providers in Apple’s App Store.
- Do any devices that operate on AT&T’s network allow use of the Google Voice application? Do any devices that operate on AT&T’s network allow use of other applications that have been rejected for the iPhone?
- Please explain whether, on AT&T’s network, consumers’ access to and usage of Google Voice is disabled on the iPhone but permitted on other handsets, including Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices.
AT&T issued the following public statement: “AT&T does not manage or approve applications for the App Store. We have received the letter and will, of course, respond to it.”