It wasn’t that long ago that TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington implied that Leo Laporte’s positive impressions of the Palm Pre were influenced by the fact that he received a free review unit from Palm to use for a week. How were we to take Laporte seriously, Arrington insinuated, when he was receiving a free demo unit?
Though Arrington subsequently issued a public apology for his behavior, it doesn’t take a psych major to figure out that Arrington’s assertion is indicative of the fact that it’s Arrington who is actually prone to forming opinions based upon relationships with whatever company gives him the hook up. Arrington only believed that Laporte’s review was subject to outside influence because that’s the way Arrington himself operates. It’s called projection, ya’ll.
But why does any of this matter?
Well, as you’re probably all aware now, Apple yesterday published its response to the FCC’s inquiry of the removal of Google Voice apps from the iTunes App Store. It took Arrington less than a day to post a scathing rebuttal to Apple’s answers, which he blindly labels as misleading. Arrington’s sophmoric diatribe isn’t worth breaking down and refuting, but it’s interesting that at the root of Arrington’s curiously blind allegiance to Google are his own admissions of having close Google contacts and being afforded opportunities not yet available to the general public, which include private demos of the service.
The second part of Apple’s argument, that the Google Voice application hurts the iPhone’s distinctive user experience, is seriously misleading. I know this because I’ve become intimately familiar with the Google Voice service and applications over the last few months… I haven’t used the Google Voice app for the iPhone specifically, because it never launched. But I have been briefed by the Google team on two separate occasions on how the app would work over the last couple of months.
In a comment thread on the original article, Arrington notes that he was able to port his original phone number over to Google Voice, a feature not yet supported by Google for the masses.
Given that I ported my phone number to google voice, use it every day on two phones and have used or been briefed on every version of the app out there, I may be the only blogger or journalist who can give their own educated opinion on this. Plus, I trust my sources.
For someone who was so quick to jump on someone as widely respected as Leo Laporte with accusations of undue influence, it’s quite interesting to keep the special treatment afforded to Arrington and his close ties with Google in mind when he’s so quick to pounce on Apple and label Google “the good guy”.