When Apple rejected a certain Google Voice iPhone app from doing business on the iPhone AppStore, the masses threw up their arms and did what any self-respecting iPhone user would do – they posted their angry comments throughout the blogosphere and then mostly proceeded to take what Apple gives them. That’s just how iPhoners do. The FCC, on the other hand, was a bit more intrigued. The US Federal Communications Commission flexed their federal-muscle and launched an inquiry into how Google, Apple and AT&T were involved in Apple’s move to dismiss Google Voice apps from the AppStore. Now, Google’s decision to keep true VoIP services off the Android platform (Google’s mobile operating system) has caught the FCC’s attention.
The FCC previously asked the trio involved in the iPhone Google Voice app fiasco to disclose any and all communications between the companies. If there’s some sort of backroom deal that compels Apple to remove iPhone apps, then the FCC wants to know about it. At the time, Google was more of a secondary player. But there’s more to the story.
USA Today notes that Google isn’t exactly an innocent bystander in the blocking-apps-from-smartphones dealings between Apple and AT&T. Google, in fact, has been keeping VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services from hitting the Android OS. Google says that it has the power to block VoIP, but does so only when asked by a wireless carrier. Seeing as how T-Mobile is the only US carrier offering Android smartphones, that would suggest that T-Mobile requested that Google keep VoIP off the T-Mobile G1 and myTouch3G. T-Mobile denies having made any such request.
Now, Google’s involvement in the Google Voice shakedown could very well put the company straight in the FCC’s crosshairs. The FCC wants Google to explain how it considers and approves Android apps for the Android Market, as well as the percentage of rejected Android apps.
With a little luck, the FCC’s inquiry could lead to sweeping changes in the way the wireless game works. Basically, we could all end up with more open mobile platforms with less influence from wireless carriers.
[Via: USA Today]