FCC investigating Apple and AT&T over removal of Google Voice apps

Sat, Aug 1, 2009


In the wake of Apple removing all Google Voice related apps from iTunes, the FCC sent letters to both Apple and AT&T in an effort to figure out if their actions might be categorized as anti-competitive behavior.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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.


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