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FCC Probing Apple, AT&T Rejection of Google Voice

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the now-you've-done-it dept.

Government 204

suraj.sun writes with an update to the news from a few days ago about Apple pulling Google Voice apps for the iPhone. Their actions have raised the interest of the FCC, which is now beginning an investigation into the matter. "In a letter sent to Apple, the FCC asked the company why it turned down Google Voice for the iPhone and pulled several other Google Voice-related programs from the iPhone's only sanctioned online mart. The FCC also sent similar letters to both AT&T — Apple's exclusive carrier partner in the US — and Google, asking both firms to provide more information on the issue. The FCC's letter asked Apple whether it rejected Google Voice and dumped other applications on its own, or 'in consultation with AT&T,' and if the latter, to describe the conversations the partners had. In other questions, the FCC asked Apple whether AT&T has any role in the approval of iPhone applications, wants the company to explain how Google Voice differs from any other VoIP software that has been approved, and requested a list of all applications that have been rejected and why."

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Has Apple ever taken a position on net neutrality? (5, Interesting)

lseltzer (311306) | about 5 years ago | (#28907895)

Just askin'

We would like to thank our sponsors (2, Funny)

lalena (1221394) | about 5 years ago | (#28907897)

This investigation has been brought to you by Google.

Re:We would like to thank our sponsors (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28907911)

FCC probing Steve Jobs' anus [goatse.fr] . With a long strapon dildo.

Re:We would like to thank our sponsors (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28907989)

Update: Steve Jobs' anus now described as "dis-satisfyingly loose" by 83% of 37 Mac users.

His career is now thought by many industry pundits to be "over very soon".

Google uses contextual advertising (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28907921)

Lost your voice?

Get it back fast

VoiceBack.com

Want cheap cellphone access?

T&AT can hook you up

TandAT.cn

Cheap games!

Get Monopoly and other boardgames cheap

BiltonMadley.com

Re:We would like to thank our sponsors (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28907933)

As new internet-based markets are established, say for cell phone software, should they really be exempt from regulations on existing markets?

Regulations are stupid (4, Funny)

copponex (13876) | about 5 years ago | (#28908149)

Of course, if you regulate an industry, you make it slow and impede business and you're a socialist. Everyone knows that self regulation [wikipedia.org] leads to utopia [wikipedia.org] , much as disbanding our police departments would lead to a lower crime rate.

Re:Regulations are stupid (2, Interesting)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | about 5 years ago | (#28908337)

However, socialism for old people isn't socialism. As shown by the right's embrace of Medicare (and recently their defense of it from an attack that's not really coming).

Re:Regulations are stupid (5, Insightful)

EQ (28372) | about 5 years ago | (#28908557)

You're in error: don't confuse "the right" with the Republican Party. The latter is just as big a bunch of big-government fat cats as are many of the Democrats -- they proved it by setting up the deficits with massive overspending during the Bush presidency. The Republican party as it exists now is "right" only when it suits them and can get them money. Pretty much about the same as anyone else in side DC - they are after money and power for its own sake, and could give a crap less about rights, responsibilities, etc.

How is this even a fucking question? (1, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | about 5 years ago | (#28907945)

Apple has an *exclusive* agreement with AT&T. Google Voice competes with AT&T, since lemme check..... YEP ... Google Voice is VOIP right? It reduces billable minutes for AT&T right?

So if AT&T is pissed at VOIP (wow, no Telecom has *evaaaaah* been pissed at VOIP), would they... could they.... just possibly..... dial up their *exclusive* partner and subtly indicate, "Hey... would you mind suppressing our competition?".

This does not require any sort of investigation whatsoever. At no time is any wireless carrier going to simply accept competition, and exclusive agreements allow for the elimination of competition. Abuses are guaranteed by the very nature of the Apple/AT&T relationship.

The question is not whether or not the abuse exists, but are we going to disallow exclusive agreements between handset manufacturers or not?

Are there really any iPhone owners out there that honestly expect Apple to not act in their, and their business partners best interests?

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28907991)

they have an exclusive contract for cellular services. Data is Data is Data, whether it's voip from google, or someone else, or an app, or whatever it's none of AT&T's business. The data is going over their network and they are getting money. If they are charging too much for calls and not enough for data then they need to re-think their pricing.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (5, Insightful)

linhares (1241614) | about 5 years ago | (#28908027)

memo to AT&T:

AT&T, you are a dumb pipe. Nothing but a dumb pipe. You are not a unique snowflake. Never think you can give anyone an "enhanced experience". Stop believing in closed systems and that locking up the very customers that feed you can be a strategic move. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.

You have been pathetically going on this self-improvement road, yet self-improvement isn't the answer.... self-destruction is the answer. "It's only after you've lost everything," you will find out soon, "that you're free to do anything."

Here is what you should do: A) fire all the "enhanced experience", the "exclusivity" bozos and hire Wall-Mart executives across the board; B) become the biggest, cheapest, everywhere-est, dumbest pipe around. Be cheap, be everywhere, be dumb, be a price whore. Wall Mart is a monster because they know they are not unique snowflakes.

Wall Mart isn't going anywhere. They should set the example to your company. You're not some high-flying boutique; that only exists in your deluded thinking.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (4, Interesting)

that this is not und (1026860) | about 5 years ago | (#28908047)

Another word for 'dumb pipe' is Common Carrier. A role they need to start taking more seriously.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (5, Interesting)

teknopurge (199509) | about 5 years ago | (#28908127)

Wal-Mart is who they are not because they are cheap, but because they were able to refine their logistics. All of their distribution is in-house, which is how they were able to move volume, and subsequently able to squeeze vendors on pricing. It's important to note that the vendor squeezing came later, and it was the innovation in the supply chain that made Wal-Mart what it is today. It's cause->effect, not the other way around.

Want ATT to be like Wal-Mart? They need to innovate their internals first before they become a dumb pipe.

dumb pipe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908353)

Want ATT to be like Wal-Mart? They need to innovate their internals first before they become a dumb pipe.

Well, they have the dumb part down.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

catmistake (814204) | about 5 years ago | (#28909685)

Wal-Mart is who they are not because they are cheap, but because they were able to refine their logistics.

well, they're cheap too: union-free with dirt wages to boot

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

koolfy (1213316) | about 5 years ago | (#28908183)

And I want you to hit AT&T as hard as you can !

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

linhares (1241614) | about 5 years ago | (#28908241)

how much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908283)

OUCH; AT&T hit me in the ear!

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | about 5 years ago | (#28908475)

AT&T should be more like Wal-Mart? Does that mean I should get calls at 3 a.m. from housewives yelling at the top of their lungs with 18 screaming kids? Because that's pretty much my late-night Wal-Mart experience.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

mctk (840035) | about 5 years ago | (#28908591)

Quoting Fight Club as an argument for the existence of more Wal-Mart like companies is like using Office Space as an argument for TPS reports. It's like using Lebowski as an argument for holding a 9-5 job. It's like using Alien as an argument for the frailty of women. It's like using Predator as an argument for the wussiness of United States governors. It's like using American Beauty as an argument for filming plastic bags in the wind. It's like using Ninja Turtles as an argument *against* nuclear experimentation. It's like using Ravenous as an argument for the impact of good soundtracks. It's like using web standards as an argument for using IE6.

I don't think the penguin is AT&T's power animal.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (5, Informative)

mstra (38238) | about 5 years ago | (#28908019)

Except...that Google Voice is NOT VOIP - if I use the Google Voice app on my BlackBerry to make an outgoing call...it still dials up via the radio to a "Google Voice Access Number". It's still going over the AT&T network. The way people are using GV for "free calls" is by putting their GV access number in their "five" or "circle" or whatever your carrier calls that list of numbers you can call for free. Also, they lose on international calls (since you call domestic to go outbound, but then it is international).

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (4, Informative)

mstra (38238) | about 5 years ago | (#28908037)

Actually, my statement was not 100% correct - GV does use VOIP...but on the back-end. The connection between the customer's handset and GV is over POTS or cellular radio, not IP or data. So while technically there is some VOIP going on, it's not the kind of VOIP that bypasses using AT&T customers' minutes, which is all AT&T cares about.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 years ago | (#28909099)

Does anyone know if Google's app on the iPhone supported SMS messages? I know the web interface has the ability to send SMS messages (I think for free).

I think there are other iPhone apps that provide some kind of free SMS messaging, but I think the other free SMS programs require that the messages be sent to/from a different number or email address or something, and not to your normal voice number. It seems like Google Voice, which ties free SMS together with a separate phone number, could present a real problem for AT&T.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

catmistake (814204) | about 5 years ago | (#28909927)

AT&T has no favorites plan. It's free cell to cell between 2 at&t subscribers, that's about it.

Even if at&t did have a favorites plan, GV calls back from a local voip switch, spoofing their callerID as a number of your choosing. If spoofing a callerID fools at&t, then they have deeper issues (spoofing callerID leads to massive revenue loss).

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908025)

And it's none of the FCC's business yet anyway. If Apple bought RIM, then yes. Until then the Government needs to piss off.

There is NOT an app for that! (1)

linhares (1241614) | about 5 years ago | (#28908101)

Well (i)phones are FCC approved. And I imagine that software should be a part of that. If SW isn't, it certainly should. Imagine if one were to build a phone for the sole purpose of keeping track of your movements, through the use of wifi, bluetooth, 3g and all those antennas. If the FCC can't stand seeing some chick's tits for a split second, it should be in their business to make sure that these devices not only comply in terms of hardware, but also in the *spirit* of the regulatory agency: to improve telecom for joe & jane doe.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about 5 years ago | (#28908155)

Its the Governments business because they monitor and regulate the marketplace. Sure, they don't monitor and regulate it as thoroughly as they should, otherwise the whole default credit swap/global financial crisis wouldn't have developed in the first place.

Anti-competitive behavior is one of those things that attracts government attention. You don't have to be a Microsoft to come under their microscope as Google themselves can attest. AT&T and Apple both have a proclivity for shutting out competition, and when it involves the phone system, the FCC is going to be interested.

This is because the FCC deals with everything involving the phone system. It deals with cellphone makers (Apple) and it deals with common carriers (AT&T).

I for one welcome the occasional ass kicking from the FCC as it helps to keep the various companies on their toes.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908157)

If apple bought RIM, the FTC would investigate. If there are apparent abuses by companies awarded spectrum licenses (such as AT&T), then the FCC investigates.

They are different regulatory bodies with different investigatory obligations to the citizenry.

have you read your "fucking" constitution? (1, Redundant)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 5 years ago | (#28908073)

So if AT&T is pissed at VOIP (wow, no Telecom has *evaaaaah* been pissed at VOIP), would they... could they.... just possibly..... dial up their *exclusive* partner and subtly indicate, "Hey... would you mind suppressing our competition?". This does not require any sort of investigation whatsoever.

Ah, right, the 28th Amendment, which says "innocent until proven guilty, unless EdIII From Slashdot thinks it's likely".

Also, you don't seem to understand the difference between a VOIP client like Skype or Gizmo, and Google Voice- which is basically very fancy voicemail. The only thing the iPhone client does is make calling OUTBOUND with your Google Voice number easier. The call still goes through AT&T, they still get to bill you for your minutes, etc. Not really a competitor.

If it's so likely they were anticompetitive, and the justice and regulatory systems work, they'll be found guilty and punished. Given that they already have a better handle on the situation than you do, I'm glad we only have 27 amendments. Look at the questions being asked- TRUE competitors have NOT been yanked.

Re:have you read your "fucking" constitution? (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 years ago | (#28908297)

Ah, right, the 28th Amendment, which says "innocent until proven guilty, unless EdIII From Slashdot thinks it's likely".

      Yes, so remember if you actually witness someone shooting someone else, that person is still "innocent" until proven guilty.

      You know that sometimes courts and trials are mere formalities. You don't need a judge and jury to tell you that Micheal Jackson was a very strange person with very serious mental health problems, for example. You don't need a judge and jury to tell you that the car that just passed you is speeding when you were doing 70mph. You don't need a judge and jury to tell you that the guy who jumped off the bridge, all by himself, right in front of you committed suicide.

      Sure, there has to be an investigation, blah blah blah, a trial, etc, for everything to be done "properly". However if you're the sort of person who refrains from having an opinion on anything unless a court allows you to, well I feel sorry for you. And if you've been unaware of the cell phone "racket" that exists in the US with the lame and pathetic excuse "but that's the only way we can recover the costs of our subsidized phones because they cost $10 million bucks (this part is called sarcasm) each to make", then I suggest you become a bit better informed. I can buy a decent cell phone in the third world for anywhere from $50 to $500, without "lock in".

Re:have you read your "fucking" constitution? (1)

dr.newton (648217) | about 5 years ago | (#28908329)

It is true that AT&T get to bill for local minutes with a Google Voice call, but it does bear noting that subscribers using Google Voice do avoid a carrier's long distance charges by using the service.

AT&T will still make some money from Google Voice users on the iPhone, but perhaps not as much, so it is in their best interest to have the app removed from the App Store. Of course, the FCC exists in part to prevent behaviour like this, where progress is prevented because the new model is less profitable to some incumbent corporation, but AT&T may feel that FCC fines are the cost of doing business.

If they did ask Apple to pull the plug on GV, and the action were not reversed by FCC mandate, the potential financial gain may greatly outweigh any fine the FCC could slap on them.

Re:have you read your "fucking" constitution? (2, Insightful)

mstra (38238) | about 5 years ago | (#28908371)

The only long distance fees that are avoided are international. Who the hell pays "long distance" on their iPhone?

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (2, Informative)

ubernostrum (219442) | about 5 years ago | (#28908105)

So if AT&T is pissed at VOIP (wow, no Telecom has *evaaaaah* been pissed at VOIP), would they... could they.... just possibly..... dial up their *exclusive* partner and subtly indicate, "Hey... would you mind suppressing our competition?".

You do know that there's an approved and free Skype application available, right?

And if you'd take five minutes to actually read the article you'd see that the FCC is pretty clearly aware of that, and that several of their questions are implicitly but still quite clearly saying "we know you've already approved VoIP stuff, so we're wondering why those apps were OK and Google's app isn't".

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (3, Informative)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | about 5 years ago | (#28908141)

Because the VoIP apps have been neutered to only work on WiFi

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 years ago | (#28908233)

there's an approved and free Skype application

      Not for long [slashdot.org] ...

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908813)

You do know that there's an approved and free Skype application available, right?

You do know that it only works over wi-fi and not over any cellular data connection (which was a concession made to AT&T so the app could exist at all), right?

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#28908131)

They are mounting a GIANT push for this [the exclusivity agreements being nixed and other things] and are collecting large and obvious examples of their anticompetitive and possibly even antitrust behavior to justify their actions not only in the federal courts, but in the court of public opinion. They are making this bigger and higher profile. Everyone who ever wanted a particular handset that wasn't artificially limited by [order of] the carrier and didn't want to change carriers will be rooting for such legislative changes and that has got to be a majority of the consumer base of mobile phone users and that, in turn, is an enormous constituency.

From the very beginning of the announcements of government seeking to limit wireless carriers, they should have started their egg-shell tap dance. But they are too big and arrogant and believe they will be able to block any legislation through their usual influence-peddling means and methods.

It won't be long before the questions are raised in the courts systems.

What iPhone users out there should expect is fair and lawful behavior. Abusing the consumer, and using their platform to control other markets are the basics of how we define "antitrust." The Apple and AT&T exclusivity agreement seems to be leveraging the relationship to their mutual advantage

But another way to look at is is "Th' gubmint is just another Apple-hater!"

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (4, Insightful)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about 5 years ago | (#28908265)

The point is, these "exclusive" agreements are anti-competitive, detrimental to consumers and should be illegal. (And they are in other countries that have consumer protection laws.)

In Australia all 5 telco companies offer the iPhone. Oh and you can even buy legit unlocked ones direct from the apple - brick and mortar or online.

Competition due to consumer protection laws is a great thing.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 5 years ago | (#28908303)

Competition due to consumer protection laws is a great thing.

Never said it wasn't. I am just shocked there is even an investigation. It's common knowledge, IMO.

What we need to decide in the U.S, is not whether Apple did some in the interests of AT&T's bottom line due to exclusivity agreements and strategic interests, but if "we" the "people" are okay with it. I never actually weighed in with what I think about regulation, free markets, etc.

It's like an investigation into whether or not the Sun is coming up tomorrow. Of course it is.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#28909135)

It is all "heresay" until a proper investigation documents the facts officially. The government can't even assert that the sky is blue without an investigation into the fact.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#28908397)

Exclusivity agreements are evil. Simple as that. They were wrong when Microsoft was insisting on them, they are wrong for telecoms, they are wrong period, anytime, anywhere. The moment that any corporation can insist on an exclusive agreement, they are ALREADY a monopoly, and the government should deal with them as such.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 5 years ago | (#28908403)

Apple has an *exclusive* agreement with AT&T. Google Voice competes with AT&T, since lemme check..... YEP ... Google Voice is VOIP right? It reduces billable minutes for AT&T right?

Google Voice is not a VoIP solution nor does it reduce billable minutes. It does allow people to reduce their phone rates for International calls; down to a couple of cents per minute. On T-Mobile, you can reduce your billable minutes with Google Voice. Reduced phone tariffs is what this is really about. It allows people to redirect their calls away from the carrier's network. While they may still pay for airtime (not counting T-Mobile here), they can avoid paying those insanely high mobile international rates of $0.25-$5 a minute. Their actions are most definitely anti-competitive.

This does not require any sort of investigation whatsoever.

Actually it does. The services provided by Google Voice are top notch. By removing these applications the are denying the market choice and preventing competition.

Re:How is this even a fucking question? (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 5 years ago | (#28908957)

It reduces billable minutes for AT&T right? Wrong. That's Skype or Truphone. Google Voice still uses ATT minutes, dialing Google who takes it from there. So no, there's no threatened revenue loss. Loss of dignity? Maybe :)

Woot (2, Interesting)

mrwolf007 (1116997) | about 5 years ago | (#28907967)

Free market vs Jobs dictatorship.
This was bound to happen, the iTunes situation is growing too similiar to the Windows monopoly.
Now please excuse me while i get some popcorn.

Re:Woot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908115)

Wouldn't it be a free market if Apple could just do that? If monopolies would act uncontrollably?
Usually I hear US-Americans screaming that the free market is so awesome, but it doesn't work if it completely without rules (beside the obvious offer/demand).

Re:Woot (3, Insightful)

mrwolf007 (1116997) | about 5 years ago | (#28908185)

Wouldn't it be a free market if Apple could just do that? If monopolies would act uncontrollably?

No, it wouldnt be a free market, since you are forbidden from selling something. Monopolies try to destroy the free market economy.
And especially the "do not duplicate iPhone functionality" is a really obscene practise. Imagine MS having such a clause for Windows software.
No Opera, Firefox, OOorg.
Personally i consider Apples business practices worse than Microsofts (and that really means something).
And BTW, i'm not an American.

Re:Woot (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | about 5 years ago | (#28908363)

Monopolies are one of the various failure point of free markets. Free (as in no regulation at all) does nothing to stop monopolies, even though they break the system. Personally, I'm very pro-regulation, I don't think the free markets are the solution to everything (lots of things, not everything). I like the products Apple makes, but I can't wait to see them get their asses punked for anti-competitive practices (hopefully more to come).

The responses to this inquiry should be fun. (1)

one2wonder (1328797) | about 5 years ago | (#28907977)

I would LOVE to read Google's response to the request. But seriously - Apple has been playing a bit too much GOD with app rejection and I think investigations should go on about anti competitive practices.

Re:The responses to this inquiry should be fun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908325)

This may be the reason they're investigating. They basically nix any app that would compete with a version of their software calling it a "dupe" when said "dupe" may be something better or takes the ideas they've had a step further and actually adds some use to an app. This is one reason that I hate large companies. They seem to think they need to keep their position in the world by stopping the little guy from even starting up. They only need to worry about other big businesses. Small business will normally stay small or medium, it is rare that a small company becomes some large corporation over night or even stays around long enough to get any where near the ballpark of the Microsoft's and Apple's of the world.

I'm sure this will be interesting for those who've had decent apps rejected for no reason but on Apple's whim. Granted it is in their app store, but I don't see where someone can just send an app over to ATT and have it show up in the ATT only store. Basically creating an ATT/Apple monopoly on apps on the iPhone. Especially apps created by *ahem* a worthy competitor like Google. The way I see it is that ATT does get a say what goes on the Iphone to some degree because they have their own app store for all customers. Whether this store is available on the Iphone I don't know (I don't have one). But that could be seen as a way for ATT to decide what is allowed on an Iphone in sort of indirect way from the Iphone store. Then you have Apple's store which they alone decide what gets put on it. Now, whether collusion goes on between the two of them is what the FCC may be trying to find out.

I know one thing though, ATT could rub two dimes together to care about VOIP on their network. Winmo has had VOIP apps far longer than the Iphone has been out. So cool it with the VOIP complaining. The only time VOIP helps a customer is if they're using WIFI in the area they are in and not the ATT network otherwise its a stupid waste of space on a CELL phone. Perhaps maybe it helps with international calls I don't and don't see how since someone somewhere pays for those calls because VOIP goes to POTS at some point, unless the other user is on VOIP sitting at a computer. Perhaps its possible to use VOIP internationally if both parties are on WIFI that way its only using data and since you're on WIFI it's "Free" depending on where that WIFI signal is coming from. Just food for thought. Still this doesn't affect ATT since its not over their network, you're just using the the phone you "purchased" from them.

See this is one reason I stick to my winmo phone for now...until something else better comes along. No, I don't see android as that since android's store is becoming much like Apple's. At least with winmo I have the choice of all free softwares :)

Apple is going join ...? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 years ago | (#28907997)

So Apple is going to join Microsoft in the Ye Olde Convicted Monopolists' club?

Re:Apple is going join ...? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 years ago | (#28908195)

So Apple is going to join Microsoft in the Ye Olde Convicted Monopolists' club?

      Probably. And like Microsoft, it will just ignore the rulings. After all, in today's economy, companies like Microsoft and Apple are "too big to fail". Perhaps the government will print another few hundred billion and give them a bailout instead.

Re:Apple is going join ...? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 5 years ago | (#28908423)

"...print another few hundred billion and give them a bailout"

How about a cash for clunkers program that gives PC owners a trade in allowance when they upgrade to Macs.
A few hundred billion should cover a few Mac Pros.

Re:Apple is going join ...? (1)

dingen (958134) | about 5 years ago | (#28908205)

You can't be a monopolist with only 10% market share [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Apple is going join ...? (1)

beuges (613130) | about 5 years ago | (#28908299)

Apple is a monopoly when it comes to application availability for the iPhone.

Re:Apple is going join ...? (3, Interesting)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | about 5 years ago | (#28908757)

But you can still be anti-competitive.

Re:Apple is going join ...? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 5 years ago | (#28908977)

But in the online music sales arena they have a 70% market share http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITunes_Store#Market_share_and_milestones [wikipedia.org]

That could possibly be considered a monopoly, and if they use that monopoly to push into other markets (the iTunes store and integration is a huge part of the popularity of the iPhone), and then act anticompetitively, then they can indeed be held responsible.

i hope Apple & AT&T get busted (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 5 years ago | (#28908011)

forces apple to sell factory-unlocked iphones leaving at&t to compete like/with the rest of the carriers, i cant guarantee i would buy the shiny little expensive piece of crap but i do believe exclusive deals that tie cellphones to certain carriers to be a hindrance to fair and honest business practices...

Re:i hope Apple & AT&T get busted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908057)

Good point, Mr. Lenin. Let's send them to re-education camps too.

Re:i hope Apple & AT&T get busted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908071)

Obviously, any restriction of the free market leads to communism, and is therefore evil.

Re:i hope Apple & AT&T get busted (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 years ago | (#28908189)

You are BOTH wrong. Oligopolies are NOT free markets, and the only difference between an oligopoly/monopoly and communism or fascism is the lack of official support and enforcement by the government. Oh wait, in the case of telcos, there is support and enforcement by the government. Try hanging a wire on a telephone pole across the street - it's the MUNICIPALITY not the telco that will get in touch with you. Or for that matter, try setting up a free inter-city WiFi service...

Enjoy your "free" country and "free" markets, heheheh.

Re:i hope Apple & AT&T get busted (2, Insightful)

Ed Bugg (2024) | about 5 years ago | (#28908417)

But in this case you are off track. There is one other important aspect of free markets, choice. If you don't like not having access to Google Voice on an iPhone while being locked into AT&T, well then send them a nicely worded letter why you won't use them or continue to use them and go to the mall and toss a rock, you'll hit at least 3 cell phone providers. If Apple/AT&T senses they are loosing enough customers because they aren't allowing Google Voice then they will allow it.

Free markets depends on customers and/or potential customers making choices. The choice in question isn't what applications you can run on a particular phone, it's what phone service provides you with the features you want.

Re:i hope Apple & AT&T get busted (2, Insightful)

webheaded (997188) | about 5 years ago | (#28909363)

Yeah, so the $500 iPhone someone just bought they should have to eat to send a message to some corporation that doesn't give a shit? This is exactly the kind of thing consumer protection laws are for. We don't have the money to dance around with corporations that simply don't care. I don't have the money to pay for a different phone, switch providers, and deal with the new provider's crap. That's crap. None of them care. They have the same base of customers slowly rotating among them...why would they care?

The free market does not regulate itself when you've got the big boys playing. In theory, it apparently should work, but in practice it doesn't nor could it. Companies will leverage every advantage they can to make money for their shareholders and they aren't going to stop doing things until the government MAKES them stop doing it. I mean really, why would they?

Re:i hope Apple & AT&T get busted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908151)

Good point they do need education as their OS suX

Re:i hope Apple & AT&T get busted (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908145)

forces apple to sell factory-unlocked iphones leaving at&t to compete like/with the rest of the carriers, i cant guarantee i would buy the shiny little expensive piece of crap but i do believe exclusive deals that tie cellphones to certain carriers to be a hindrance to fair and honest business practices...

so buy an openmoko. why are you even on an iphone discussion board if you care about freedom?

Mmm (2, Funny)

cardsinhand (1601329) | about 5 years ago | (#28908031)

Hope this takes a bite out of Apple's market share.

Re:Mmm (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | about 5 years ago | (#28908059)

I hope it INCREASES Apple's market share. After they're forced to de-bundle, people can buy their fine Apple hardware at WalMart or wherever, and take it to their carrier to have a service connected to it.

The whole 'Macintosh model of customer lock-in over and over again' bit got old years and years ago. Apple needs to not be such a one-trick pony.

Re:Mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908081)

One trick pony? Multi-platform software vendor, hardware manufacturer, OS vendor, cell phone manufacturer, audio player manufacturer... That's one impressive trick!

The most interesting section (4, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | about 5 years ago | (#28908043)

"and requested a list of all applications that have been rejected and why"

To me, that is the most interesting section of this summary. The FCC wants a list of ALL apps that have been denied and the reasons why. This could be the beginning of a boot up Apple/AT&T's collective asses. If the FCC does what they should do, they probably won't be able to deny the majority of apps anymore. If the FCC gets some cash, it will be SOP as usual. The latter seems more likely, unfortunately.

Re:The most interesting section (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908193)

#69: Dangerously sexy.
#124: Got tailgated on my way to work today.
#459: Users can't handle that much power.
#644: Toothache.
#692: That background with those buttons? Honey, no!
#771: Wife threatening to leave me.
#841: Better than our stuff.
#1230: Made fun of Apple user stereotypes. Very funny. Not.
#1599: I know this guy, he's a jerk.
#1998: Not hip.
#2000: 2000 GET! Haha, suckers!
#3922: My God, is that a nipple?!
#5210: Took His name in vain.
#6184: Anti-monopolistic.

Re:The most interesting section (2, Interesting)

yabos (719499) | about 5 years ago | (#28908733)

I wonder if they even keep very good track of it. The approval process seems to be very random and the reviewers seem to have too much power. They reject apps for blatantly stupid reasons without much recourse for the developer.

How is the FCC even involved? (2, Funny)

kc5deb (770159) | about 5 years ago | (#28908133)

Since when has the FCC become the government's "private company czar"?

Re:How is the FCC even involved? (1)

tclgeek (587784) | about 5 years ago | (#28908177)

since its inception, for private companies that create devices used for interstate and international communication?

Re:How is the FCC even involved? (1)

kc5deb (770159) | about 5 years ago | (#28908247)

Understood. But how does the meat of this story involve the FCC?

Re:How is the FCC even involved? (1)

MassacrE (763) | about 5 years ago | (#28909313)

Because both AT&T and Google are carriers, and it is suspected that AT&T is the one requiring Google Voice access be blocked.

Re:How is the FCC even involved? (5, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#28908235)

The problem is that the FCC is investigating how AT&T is using its influence over Apple to control how the airwaves that the FCC leases to AT&T are being used. This is not the FCC getting into Apple's business for the hell of it. This is the FCC getting into it with AT&T... again. Google Voice provides a means to circumvent a lot of needless charges from AT&T. AT&T seeks to block those circumventions by leveraging their relationship with Apple.

Re:How is the FCC even involved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28909543)

This is EXACTLY why the FCC was ever commissioned. Please go back to high school and retake American Government 101. The problem is this is the first I've heard of the FCC doing its job in a long time. Which is probably why you don't realize that this is what they are "supposed" to do. The FCC itself is a Government/Corporate hybrid, of which congress have commissioned several. The proper terminology eludes me momentarily, but should be available on Wikipedia.

About Damn Time (2, Insightful)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about 5 years ago | (#28908175)

About damn time if you ask me. If this was the Australian Government, Apple and AT&T would have been ripped apart into shreds over this.

and requested a list of all applications that have been rejected and why.

I personally would LOVE to see this list. In full. This should be on wikileaks.

I've personally had enough of the Steve Jobs dictatorship.

Re:About Damn Time (2, Interesting)

mkiwi (585287) | about 5 years ago | (#28908255)

AT&T was most likely the cause of the removal of google voice. Apple probably has their hands tied by servicing agreements, so the only way they can get google voice (which would be great for the iphone platform) is through government intervention. I imagine there were some discussions between Apple and Google about how to make this work. Somebody fIling a complaint with the FCC is a good way for Apple to cover its contractual ass and for google to get their software on the iPhone.

Re:About Damn Time (1)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about 5 years ago | (#28908313)

I really hope this is the case but I'm
not holding my breath.

Re:About Damn Time (2, Insightful)

DavidRawling (864446) | about 5 years ago | (#28908693)

Oh bulldust (yes, I'm an Aussie (too?)). You need only look at the namby-pamby approach our government and the ACCC have had towards Telstra for the past decade or so, first under the Liberals, and then under Labor. The ACCC seem to be too weak to do jack and the Government keeps saying it's up to the ACCC, that their hands are tied. Great flick passing there, and certainly no "ripping to shreds".

This is funny (-1, Troll)

christoofar (451967) | about 5 years ago | (#28908227)

Watching all the Linux and MSFT fanboys taking out their snuff boxes then proceeding straight to 19th century backhanded bitchslaps with gloves.

Spank Apple's silly fanny!

Re:This is funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908381)

Watching all the Linux and MSFT fanboys taking out their snuff boxes then proceeding straight to 19th century backhanded bitchslaps with gloves.

Spank Apple's silly fanny!

Even funnier (in a scary kind of way): People making the assumption that only 'Linux and MSFT fanboys' could have any reason to criticize anything Apple does.

Great to be a corporate shill (-1, Troll)

isa-kuruption (317695) | about 5 years ago | (#28908239)

I'm glad we have a President who doesn't side with corporations that donate heavily to his campaign. If that were the case, some company like Google would use those campaign dollars to nudge the President to do it's bidding and get the FCC or something to go after other companies that may be hurting it's exploitative business model.

I'm just saying... it's great to not have to worry about that for a CHANGE.

Let's not forget (4, Insightful)

Khan (19367) | about 5 years ago | (#28908295)

AT&T. Delivering Your World. To The NSA.

This is a perfect example of why these exclusive contracts with one carrier (regardless of who it is) is a Bad Thing (tm). Innovation and competition are easily squashed. And we, the consumers, continue to get screwed like sheep.

Re:Let's not forget (1)

aztektum (170569) | about 5 years ago | (#28909141)

"And we, the consumers, continue to get screwed like sheep."

This is /., we should be happy any of us get some however we can.

$699 iPhones! Yippy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28909351)

If they are required to stop exclusive carrier deals, then subsidies will go away and we'll all get to pay for our phones, not be locked to a carrier and probably end 1+ year contracts.

Oh, and monthly plan costs should go down since they won't be financing all the devices.

So while an iPhone will carry the real cost + Apple's profit, you'll be able to use it on any GSM carrier. Apple will get out of their exclusive AT&T deal and AT&T will see millions of previously-captive-subscribers leave for the cell companies they like.

All of this seems like a good thing to me.

Re:Let's not forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28909907)

AT&T is in scotland also?

It's time for telcos to sell bits, not services (5, Insightful)

sdo1 (213835) | about 5 years ago | (#28908359)

It's time for telcos to stop being telcos and start being wireless data providers. Selling bits instead of services is fundamental to net neutrality. I know that breaks their business models, but too bad. On the iPhone, they already sell apps that use some amount of bandwidth. They shouldn't get to pick and choose the ones that affect their outdated business model. If they just sold bits and bandwidth independent of what kind of data is being carried on them, then this wouldn't be an issue and that's how it SHOULD be.

I know this isn't going to change overnight, but I fully support the FCC looking into this. It's nice to know that under the new administration they're taking a pro-consumer stance instead of pro-business stance.

-S

OOOoooooo, FTC sent Apple a letter oooOOOOOO !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28908471)

Steven Jobs is trembling in his boots. No really, Steven Jobs is trembling in his boots.

AT&T does not care about Google Voice. (1)

Mister Xiado (1606605) | about 5 years ago | (#28908659)

This is 100% Apple. AT&T's official line with Google Voice since at least last year has been "we don't care what you do with data as long as you aren't using more than 5GB in a month". If Google Voice isn't working, customer support is not obligated to help you beyond ensuring your voice, data, and SMS services are functional.

There is NO policy at AT&T that opposes the use of VOIP services.

Re:AT&T does not care about Google Voice. (1)

porkThreeWays (895269) | about 5 years ago | (#28909175)

But there is one that opposes other people letting you text for free

As an Apple fan (4, Interesting)

earthbound kid (859282) | about 5 years ago | (#28908865)

...and as an iPhone owner, I say:

Good. I hope that the Feds can scare Apple into opening up the iPhone a little more. I think anyone who owns an iPhone should be on the side of the Feds on this one.

Here's a suggestion for Apple though, why not a two track system for iPhone apps: You can install whatever you like *as long as it doesn't use the cell-network* or you can install specially reviewed apps through the iTunes store, as is done now. That way if someone just wants to sell a game or a screensaver or whatever, they can just sell it themselves without having to get permission from Apple. On the other hand, things that use the cell-network and could potentially overload it or be used for phreaker attacks or whatever can be reviewed by Apple as is done now. Reducing the volume of things reviewed by Apple should make the process a lot less painful for developers and give users a lot more freedom.

Re:As an Apple fan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28909151)

Of course, you could go with Android, support open source, and have this now.

Re:As an Apple fan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28909669)

You are not a true apple fan. I hate you.

Apple officially adopts Evil(tm) (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | about 5 years ago | (#28908995)

After bricking unlocked iPhones, kicking applications off the iPhone store that might even slightly compete with iTunes in the far future and charging developers for the privilege and filing a wave of patents on basic well-known computer science, Apple Inc. today filed a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission declaring that it was openly adopting Evil(tm) as a corporate policy [today.com] .

"Fuck it," said Steve Jobs to an audience of soul-mortgaged thralls, "we're evil. But our stuff is sooo good. You'll keep taking our abuse. You love it, you worm. Because our stuff is great. It's shiny and it's pretty and it's cool and it works. It's not like you'll go back to a Windows Mobile phone. Ha! Ha!"

Steve Ballmer of Microsoft was incensed at the news. "Our evil is better than anyone's evil! No-one sweats the details of evil like Microsoft! Where's your antitrust trial, you polo-necked bozo? We've worked hard on our evil! Our Zune's as evil as an iPod any day! I won't let my kids use a lesser evil! We're going to do an ad about that! I'll be in it! With Jerry Seinfeld! Beat that! Asshole."

"Of course, we're still not evil, we said so," said Sergey Brin of Google. "You can trust us on this. Every bit of data about you, your life and the house you live in is strictly a secret between you and our marketing department. But, hypothetically, if we were evil, it's not like you're going to use Windows Live Search. I mean, 'Bing.' Ha! Ha! I'm sorry, that's my 'spreading good cheer' laugh. Really."

It's All About Text Messaging Fees (1)

CritterNYC (190163) | about 5 years ago | (#28909093)

The simple answer is that it's an anti-competitive move (semi-monopolistic) in regards to text messaging fees. AT&T makes a killing on text-messaging fees, charging 20 cents for 1120 bytes or less of data. Google Voice lets you make an end-run around that and send text messages from your Google Voice number using your phone's data plan (which, if you have unlimited data = free text messaging). AT&T wants to preserve that huge revenue stream, so they had Apple lock Google Voice out of it.

Good (1)

Azureflare (645778) | about 5 years ago | (#28909421)

As many posters have already stated, this is a good thing for iPhone owners if the FCC follows through.

I'm more interested in seeing the reasons for all the Application rejections though. In all honesty, Apple made a huge mistake by making the reasoning for app rejection secret. App rejection should be made public. The whole process should be available, perhaps in a format similar to mozilla's bug tracker.

What reason is there to keep Application acceptance/rejection secret? Honestly I really can't think of a good reason.

a solution!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28909553)

there's this company, called Nokia. They make unbranded products like the n95, e71, n97 and many many more. you can put whatever you want on them. Nokia doesn't care what you with there products, and ATT can't tell you not to because they don't control it. granted I still support the FCC in this but there are better products out there.

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