Print 105 comment(s) - last by osalcido.. on Aug 7 at 8:43 AM

The FCC doesn't seem too happy about the decision to block Google Voice from the App Store

Apple and AT&T have stirred up quite a hornet's nest by blocking not only two Google Voice applications from the App Store, but also Google's own official app. The negative feedback regarding the decision came swiftly and furiously from the iPhone community with many people placing the blame on AT&T for demanding the apps be removed/rejected and at Apple for agreeing to the terms.

A Google spokesperson talked about the situation earlier this week, stating, “We work hard to bring Google applications to a number of mobile platforms, including the iPhone. Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store. We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users - for example, by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers.”

The interesting part of this whole debacle is that the official Google Voice application is available on Blackberry smartphones on the AT&T network which makes the decision to block the applications from the AT&T-bound iPhone even more peculiar.

The FCC is also wanting some answers according to the Washington Post and has sent three letters to Apple, AT&T, and Google (all three documents are PDFs) demanding more information on the blocking of applications from the App Store.

Apple is asked why the Google Voice app was rejected, if it acted alone or with the help of AT&T in rejecting the application, and if there is an appeals process once an app has been booted from the App Store among other things.

The FCC has an even lengthier set of questions (nine in total) with the most damning likely being, "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?"

In its letter to Google, the FCC asks for the reason Apple gave for rejecting its Google Voice application and also asks about the approval/rejection process for the Android app store.

All three companies have until the end of business on August 21 to respond in full to the FCC's inquiries.

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The game plays on.
By jleemc44 on 8/1/2009 9:06:57 AM , Rating: 5
It’s really about time these questions get answered anyways. No one else gets to make up the rules as they go and what fit them at the time (without paying people off that is). Apple needs to realize that as they become a bigger force in the phone, computer and entertainment markets people are not going to allow them to freely practices by their monopoly business style forever.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/09, Rating: 0
RE: The game plays on.
By logicnazi on 8/1/2009 12:12:49 PM , Rating: 5
Sure, apple acting *alone* shouldn't raise any monopolistic worries justifying government intervention. AT&T on the other hand is another matter entirely and whether they influenced apple's deciscion that is a valid matter for FCC investigation.

Sure, there are other cell phone providers but a small number of incumbents have a lock on the national cell phone industry as a result of government granted spectrum licenses. Licenses that, implicitly or explicitly, were granted with the understand that the licensees would be subject to FCC regulation.

I can't say I'm happy with the system. The government sells spectrum to incumbents for way below what it's worth (even the auctions allow implicit collusion) and uses this patronage system to make companies comply with unconstitutional provisions (TV speech restrictions). However, given that we have this system protecting incumbents it's reasonable for the FCC to use it's power to limit the anti-competitive measures taken by those incumbents.

At least according to the spectrum licenses it holds AT&T DOES have an obligation to provide a public service.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/2009 12:31:26 PM , Rating: 3
...holding a license to a portion of the spectrum doesn't preclude you from trying to create a differentiated, competitively attractive product.

Apple and AT&T believe they are putting out a differentiated, competitive offering...and based on the ridiculous popularity of the iPhone (and AT&T service to go with it), a massive chunk of the market thinks so too.

Seeking and gaining a competitive edge is *not* "anti-competitive" - it's capitalism.

The only way Apple/AT&T could become monopolists in this market is if they bought effectively ALL the other smartphone makers, and effectively ALL the other wireless carriers, such that you no longer really had a choice in purchasing as a consumer. Then, they would be a monopoly. And the government would have prevented any such thing from happening in the first place.

Anti-competitive would be like using bribes, kickbacks, or threats to coerce others into buying your products. Neither Apple nor AT&T are doing any such things.

RE: The game plays on.
By Totally on 8/1/2009 1:53:36 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah like forcing google to remove features from the

RE: The game plays on.
By Totally on 8/1/2009 2:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
Forgot to add.

It is monopolistic behavior when a company begins to decide what best for consumer. I bought the phone, I paid for the serivce and yet I cannot use a program designed for the phone because they don't approve of it. It's my phone, I should be able to run whatever software I damn well choose. I believe in this aspect they are overstepping their bounds. They don't need to place themselves in between the developers and consumers like the way they are.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/2009 11:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
You signed a contract that stipulated that Apple gets to control what goes into the App Store, and therefore onto your phone. What part of that don't you get?

RE: The game plays on.
By osalcido on 8/1/2009 2:12:47 PM , Rating: 5
It's anti-competitive to block potential competition from competing. That is what happened here. Enough said

RE: The game plays on.
By Targon on 8/1/09, Rating: -1
RE: The game plays on.
By Totally on 8/1/2009 4:19:08 PM , Rating: 5
It's VoIP, an internet call. That's what I'm paying AT&T for right? you know the rewuired unlimited data plan, why does Google need to pay for something I'm already paying for?

RE: The game plays on.
By Targon on 8/2/09, Rating: -1
RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/2/09, Rating: 0
RE: The game plays on.
By JediJeb on 8/3/2009 4:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I was thinking. If this was to be determined as anti competitive, then they should force MicroSoft to add an app to run Linux programs on Windows like WINE runs Windows programs on Linux. If you buy and iPhone and sign the contract with AT&T then you agree to abide by their decisions on what apps you can get. If enough people tell Apple we are going somewhere else for a phone, then Apple will change it's policy or it won't sell phones.

I don't like Apple but this arguement is a lot like saying that it's wrong that a Chevy wheel won't fit on a Ford Truck. If Chevy made a car that was narrower than a Ford and talked the government into making roads too narrow for the Ford to fit on, that would be monopolistic and antiompetitive.

RE: The game plays on.
By osalcido on 8/7/2009 8:43:15 AM , Rating: 2
You're an idiot.

I never said AppStore was an open market or made any reference to the legalities of Apple's actions.

It was a reply to the previous poster's comment that it was not anti-competitive. I am saying that by definition... stopping someone from providing an alternative is anti-competitive. They don't want to compete, hence they are anti(against)-competition. That's why they're blocking it.

Pull your head out of Apple's ass for once and maybe you'll see all that crap you're mad about is all in your own mind.

RE: The game plays on.
By ncheese on 8/3/2009 6:50:04 PM , Rating: 2
I do not believe this is a case of concern of anti-competitiveness/monopolies per se, as the FCC does not have any authority in that matter (FTC and the DOJ handle that - and the original AT&T knows that ALL too well back in '82).

FCC technically still owns all the airwaves, and ultimately is the master censor/regulator of what is allowed and what isn't (and dictating to others what they can allow/disallow since the airwaves is a public, not a private, property). They are probably trying to understand what Apple's logic is (as well as Google's) to ensure that the public good is being considered, an no abuse is taking place. Any concerns of monopolistic practices will have to be turned over to DOJ/FTC (though I guess FCC could always yank AT&T's license).

RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/1/2009 12:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
Not exactly the same though. I don't feel like going into a lengthy discussion on how it's different though. If the whole point is to increase the profits of AT&T at the expense of the consumer with no just cause then I don't see the problem with the FCC getting involved. Apple doesn't have anything to lose by allowing this app. If anything they have more to gain since it would generate a lot of buzz for the iPhone. AT&T will likely get penalized somehow, and perhaps Apple to a minor degree for following Apple. But it depends on what actually went down.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/2009 12:26:35 PM , Rating: 3
...the point is that you can choose another smartphone, and another carrier, without any problem if you don't like what Apple and/or AT&T are doing. Neither Apple nor AT&T alone can be a monopoly of any kind, nor can they be a monopoly when considered together.

Pure Economics 101 stuff here. Simple and straightforward.

RE: The game plays on.
By sxr7171 on 8/1/2009 12:36:17 PM , Rating: 2
No they're all the same. They basically all collude to lock down their networks.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/2009 1:37:23 PM , Rating: 1
..."collude to lock down their networks"

Do you have the slightest idea what you're talking about? Of course AT&T "locks down" it's own network. Just like Sprint "locks down" their network and CBS "locks down" their network and NPR "locks down" their network.

For some reason do you think it would make sense for any bandwidth owner to just let anyone broadast/use their bandwidth as they wish? What in the hell are you smoking?

RE: The game plays on.
By sxr7171 on 8/1/2009 2:13:51 PM , Rating: 4
Uh all cable operators allow the user to access any service they want. If you use an unbranded/unlocked device on AT&T you can do whatever you want on AT&TWS. So why the exclusions on certain equipment? Why can BB use GV but not iPhone users?

I pay $30 a month for 5GB data access, it doesn't say anywhere that I cannot use certain applications to access that data. if they want to restrict certain applications maybe they should tell us before we buy the device. AT&T has no business but to be a provider of bandwidth. If i use more than 5Gb according to their terms they can cancel my service. Every other little ad hoc restriction they impose is BS and you know it.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/2009 11:06:40 PM , Rating: 3
That's not the same thing you started off with - that isn't "locking down their network" - keeping other providers/braodcasters from using their network is "locking it down." What you are describing here is simply the provider stipulating up front, in the contract you signed, exactly what the limitations are to the service you are paying them for.

If you don't like the terms of a contract, don't sign it. As long as the provider adheres to the terms of the contract you signed, it's all fair game. Pretty simple.

RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/1/2009 12:36:36 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not even saying they are a monopoly. What about the millions upon millions of people who already own an iPhone? Should they just be thrown out to the wind because AT&T is forcing themselves on Apple?

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/2009 1:39:46 PM , Rating: 3
Those millions and millions of people chose to spend their money on a joint Apple/AT&T offering. They are getting exactly what they purchased. No consumer is entitled to demand that the vendor of a product they bought make changes to it after the fact (except in the obvious case of the product being defictive/dangerous/etc. Which is not the case here).

The point is quite simple - the smartphone market, and the wireless market, are wide-open, with many competing offerings available to everyone. You get to pick and choose which ones you want. Period, end of story.

RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/1/2009 5:21:23 PM , Rating: 1
The consumers aren't asking for a change. In fact, they are asking that it specifically not be changed. They bought the device assuming, and rightfully I'd say, that they are allowed to use any app written for the iPhone. But Apple and/or AT&T are saying no they aren't allowed to without giving a reason as to why.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/2009 11:08:18 PM , Rating: 3
"Assuming" is 0/10 of the law.

"...and rightfully, I'd say" is your opinion, and you're entitled to it - but that's not what the contract says. The contract says they get to dictate what goes into the App Store. Period. If you didn't like that stiplulation, you could have chosen not to sign that contract, and get your service elsewhwere.

RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/2/2009 12:28:50 AM , Rating: 1
Can you link to that? Cause I seriously doubt that the contract signed with AT&T tells us that THEY have the right to dictate what APPLE does with their own store.

And when I say "assuming" I'm saying that it's NOT specified in the contract. If it's not specified in the contract I think that's a very rightful assumption, and one that would hold up in court, don't you?

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/2/09, Rating: 0
RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/2/2009 3:58:41 AM , Rating: 1
I'm sure I could find an example, but I'm not going to waste my time. It really depends on what exactly it is in question. Obviously if the contract doesn't stipulate money then you're likely never going to see any no matter how much it was assumed, even though some episodes of Judy Judy/Brown/etc prove otherwise. If however the contract grants you rights to, let's say, use a house but does not stipulate what can not be done in the house then they contractor could not kick you out for being noisy, holding a party, etc. That's exactly why such things are included in contracts when renting houses, apartments, etc.

Well, unless you can point out in the contract that the consumers have signed with AT&T about their rights and expectations with the Apple App store you can't just expect people to know what contract AT&T and Apple have signed. It's not exactly public knowledge after all.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/2/2009 11:50:00 AM , Rating: 1
...which has nothing to do with the point of this article. Apple can decide what to do with it's App Store, whether or not that includes weighing the opinion of AT&T, or anybody else.

They *may* have taken this action because of AT&T's protests, or they may not have. Either way, it gives you as the consumer not the slightest basis for any complaint, since you knew from the beginning that the App Store was not an open market and was subject to the approval of Apple.

RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/2/2009 2:00:03 PM , Rating: 3
Very true. Though people are complaining so loudly this time because it seems that Apple has nothing to lose by allowing Google's apps. It's not really a complaint towards Apple. It's another complaint towards the very crappy cell phone providers.

RE: The game plays on.
By mackswift on 8/1/2009 7:54:23 PM , Rating: 3
While I see and partially agree with your point, you missed one tiny detail. The 2 year contract that people are stuck with, and the $150 a month that you're stuck paying to use an iPhone on the AT&T network. By signing into that contract you are agreeing to purchase the a subsidized phone for use on AT&T's network, and any requisite fees and services for 2 years. In the iPhone's case, you're required to purchase an unlimited data plan for $30 a month on top of a calling plan and also even more money if you want to send and receive text (which is technically data, even though you are required to have an unlimited data plan).

The point is that if you're an iPhone user who's stuck with an expensive 2 year plan, you want to use and should be entitled to the full capabilities of the phone and the phone network you are paying rather handsomely to use. How come the Blackberry user who has a 2 year contract with a calling plan, unlimited data and text, who pays less a month then an iPhone user, gets to use Google Voice?

How come I can't use my iPhone to watch my Slingbox-ed Tivo over AT&T's network with the App Store's Slingbox App, but my friend can watch MLB games with an MLB app from the App Store on his iPhone over AT&T's network? There's a contract between the MLB, AT&T, and Apple to approve and allow that? But I, as a customer, was required to sign an expensive 2 year contract with required unlimited data to use my iPhone over AT&T's network.

See my point?

RE: The game plays on.
By roostitup on 8/2/2009 2:21:30 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but that analogy is not accurate at all. At least you can get Craftsman tools when you want to. If you have an IPhone you cannot even get Google's application, period. This business practice is wrong and should not be tolerated. If I could go to another app store and get Google's application than that would be different, but when Apple and AT&T block the application than it isn't available ANYWHERE. Completely making a good application not available anywhere is monopolistic behavior and shows that there is fear or disapproval towards Google. You are wrong, sir.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/2/09, Rating: -1
RE: The game plays on.
By roostitup on 8/3/2009 11:40:38 AM , Rating: 2
Judging from ratings, the point is going over YOUR head. Your analogy is WAYYY off, accept it.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/3/2009 11:48:16 AM , Rating: 3
In fact, the point isn't lost on me - the point is that people who want to believe they can force a vendor to sell products against their will don't want to accept any rational arguement as to why you can't do that.

Speaking of ratings, my overall rating on DT right now is at about 2.41 - yours is about 2.16. Can change moment-by moment, obviously. However, allow me to point out that the DT rating, either on an individual post or overall on your account, has NOTHING to do with whether or not you are generally correct or generally has to do with people either agreeing or disagreeing with you, or rating you down or up based on their own capriciousness because they either like or dislike your message, whether it is correct or not.

Ratings are a sort of popularity contest...they have nothing to do with truth or non-truth.

RE: The game plays on.
By SiN on 8/2/2009 12:02:54 PM , Rating: 2
i think the point your missing is that they're abusing their powers as the product developer to create more money.

There is nothing stopping these people from buying another phone that allows you to use IP calls. As far as i'm aware, android powered phones are pretty sic, and fairly accessible where it comes to doing what you would like with it.

It's just there are some people who like to complain about something because they "feel" cheated, and didn't really look for the other offerings on the market. Some people just want an iPhone, they're attracted to it, and sometimes people do stupid things for the sake of attraction.

Apple shouldn't be allowed to block this app though. They have no grounds to reject it. Apart from the fact that AT&T will make just as much money

RE: The game plays on.
By sigmatau on 8/2/2009 2:28:00 PM , Rating: 1
So Apple creates an App Store and allows people to create apps for the iPhone. Google makes some great apps but are rejected because they are similar to Apple's offerings according to Apple. That being said, the Google app may be better or worse and may become more popular or not. Why are they preventing competition? This is not a "Baby Shaker" app.

One could argue that the App Store itself is a monopoly. What other company has something like this where you allow people to create apps for you and you pay them a percentage of the sales? Blackberry? No. Microsoft? No. Nokia and Motorola? No.

Companies can do whatever they want just like everyone else. That doesn't mean they should.

The real question here is what is Apple afraid of? Are they really that afraid of Google? Aw, even Microsoft allows big players to use all of their services. What if exchange couldn't sink with Gmail? What if google search was incompatible with IE. Companies can do whatever they want right? There are other products out there can sync with Gmail and support google search. Why should MS do so?

The iPhone is a monopoly in itself. It is unique. There are no other phones out there like it. Blackberry makes garbage compared to it (and I own a BB.) Other makers are just starting to come out with half way decent hardware. This may be true, but the software is where the phone really shines. Name one other phone that offers as much as the iPhone.

Has anyone else noticed all the adds for every small company and their mother asking for people to create apps for the iPhone? Do you even see 1% of those adds being directed to any other phone? I don't think so.

iPhone = Monopoly as there is nothing out there comparable.

RE: The game plays on.
By Roffles on 8/2/2009 2:51:28 PM , Rating: 2
You ignore the fact that said companies Dairy Queen and Sears do not contractually tether the consumer to their product.

Did Dairy Queen tell me I can only have soft-serve from their $3,000 cup? Does Dairy Queen know that cup is perfectly capable of serving strawberry? Does Dairy Queen know strawberry is prepared and ready for consumption? Will Dairy Queen kick me out of the store, take my money and brand me a terrorist if I "break" my cup? Is it really even my cup?

The only thing truly interesting about these ongoing App Store articles is the fact that the consumer pours such a ridiculous amount of money into this company and can barely muster a whimper against the anti-consumer practices they are subjected to.

Here you go Motoman, here's a link to Apple's "Private Business" membership website. You too can be a private member of a special private business club otherwise known as public ownership.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/2/2009 3:04:55 PM , Rating: 2
You are an unimagininably confused idiot.

Apple doesn't "contractually tether the consumer to their product." Apple offers a service, and with that service comes a legally-binding definition of what that service entails. The CONSUMER makes a conscious decision to agree to those terms and conditions if they feel the product/service is worth the terms and conditions they will be bound by to use it. Apple is not walking the streets of America randomly chaining unsuspecting consumers to a contract. The consumer actively chooses to accept the contract/Ts & Cs at the time of purchase/usage.

To that end, DQ very well could post a legally-binding notice on their stores, saying that you have to purchase a DQ cup for $3,000 in order to eat there. You, then, as the consumer, would have the opportunity to ponder whether or not it's a worthwhile expenditure to purchase said $3,000 cup in order to be able to consume DQ soft-serve. One would hope that not even you would be stupid enough to agree to such terms, but maybe you're not.

As for owning stock in any company, as you may or may not know that gives you voting rights during shareholder meetings. That's what that gets you, so go right on and do that. What it doesn't mean, in invoking the term "public ownership" is that the company has to bend to the will of the public, like a governmental agency has to. "Public company" != public service.

RE: The game plays on.
By rudy on 8/3/2009 12:24:38 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree everyone seems to think it is about being a monopoly which is BS the government needs to set standards and make all companies go by them. If EU does not allow M$ to offer a browser or forces them to offer competing browser then linux and OSX must be forced to do the same.

I think by the same token that the FCC or other bodies should be interested in forcing apple to keep their system fair and not adopt monopoly like practices. Sure they are not a monopoly but what they get away with could trickly to other phones and negatively effect us all.

RE: The game plays on.
By BriteLite on 8/1/09, Rating: 0
RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/1/2009 12:30:11 PM , Rating: 2
Problem is allowing or disallowing the app isn't up to AT&T and never should be. It's up to Apple. AT&T forcing what they want onto Apple is certainly a matter to look into.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/09, Rating: 0
RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/1/2009 12:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but Tiger Woods won't necessarily benefit more by not complying with Nike like Apple would. Apple stands to benefit more by not complying with AT&T. They'd sell far more phones if they allowed the app and weren't tied to AT&T.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/09, Rating: 0
RE: The game plays on.
By sweatshopking on 8/1/2009 2:26:11 PM , Rating: 1
maybe if you werent sooo gay, you could see that companies that do douchbaggy things should get into trouble. if microsoft is being stupid, fine the bastards. same with apple. i dont give a rats ass how much money the companies line their pockets with, there are people starving in the world and some of that "profit" should go to solving major issues. i know it depends on who's economic rhetoric you follow, but dealing with some of the major externalities should be a larger priority. companies should be open. Government SHOULD be involved. that is what kept real wages rising up until Reagan when those crazy fools deregulated everything and started us on this slope to HUGE disparities between the rich and poor. in the 70's the government was "The Man", now it is sleezy companies. Let the Truckers Pay.

RE: The game plays on.
By troysavary on 8/2/2009 6:26:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, and when wages were rising unchecked due to union demands, prices were rising even faster. Or are you one of those people who think the inflation riddled Carter years were better than the economic boom under Reagan? You must love the fact that Carter II is in office now.

If companies don't "line their pockets", then they don't hire people. Period. Only profitable companies can continue operating, unless they happen to be Amtrack or some other socialist experiment.

If you are so worried about the state of the poor in the world, put up YOUR money to fix it. Don't try to make government force it on "evil big business". That is not their job. Besides, Bill Gates, and many other "sleazy rich men", already give billions away to charity.

RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/1/2009 5:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
And perhaps if you understood my analogy you'd see that Apple is not getting offers to go to another provider. They'd be independent meaning that the phone would essentially work on ALL cell networks, though I'm not so sure about Metro PCS. I'm pretty sure that expanding your marketshare once you've established yourself in the market it is exactly what companies like to do.

It's be like Tiger leaving Nike and not getting sponsored by anyone. Of course, it doesn't work the same for Tiger because you chose a bad analogy. Being in a deal with Nike doesn't exclude people from buying his stuff, or Nike's for that matter, and only serves to benefit him and Nike. Apple being in a deal with AT&T means that only AT&T consumers can use the iPhone without basically hacking into the phone. How does having a smaller market help Apple exactly? It was helpful when they first emerged because they had no marketshare, but that is no longer true.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/1/2009 11:11:22 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point, which is that Apple and AT&T are in a partnership that they believe to be mutually beneficial. To that end, it is expected of each party to consider the wishes and needs of the other. That's the only point that I'm trying to make.

And the fact of the matter is, all of this was spelled out, up front, in the contract that you had every opportunity to read before signing. None of this is news, and none of it is wrong, and none of it is abusive to the consumer.

If you think it is, here's what you do: file a small claims court case against Apple and/or AT&T and claim that they have breached their contract with you. The judge will read the contract you agreed to and signed, and dismiss you. Instantly. But go right ahead and give that a shot - we'll wait.

RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/2/2009 12:31:44 AM , Rating: 1
I wouldn't have anything to claim since I don't use the, in my opinion, shitty iPhone. I'll ask you exactly what I asked the other dude that says the EXACT same thing you are, show me where it stipulates that AT&T controls what goes into APPLE'S store.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/2/2009 1:33:42 AM , Rating: 1
You don't get any portion of what's going on here. Read the other post I just made on this topic. You are so far lost...holy crap. You're like the Black Night in the Holy Grail.

RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/2/2009 2:09:18 PM , Rating: 2
I've read all the posts in here. Your posts just say the same thing to everyone. Yet you still can't provide any proof that what you say is actually in the contract that consumers sign.

I know that partnerships are meant to be beneficial, but they aren't necessarily always so. If they, being either Apple or AT&T, signed a contract then they are bound to that contract even if it is no longer beneficial to them. That could very well be the predicament we are in now. I don't have access to that kind of information, I'm pretty sure about that anyway, so I couldn't say. And if that is true then we the consumers get screwed while having no say in the matter and for the most part being completely unaware that we are getting screwed because of something someone else did. Is it fair to us? No, and I think everyone here agrees with that. Is it legal? Perhaps. The FCC ruling will certainly clear things up.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/2/2009 2:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
You can't be that stupid. You agree that Apple is in control of what is available to get from their App Store when you buy the damn thing, and you know it.

Here's a little snippet from the site itself, in the Terms & Conditions. Since I also am not stupid enough to buy any Apple product, I don't have a copy of whatever you get when you buy the iPhone, but like any contract you get to read it before signing.

Also, even just the simple fact that this snippet is on their site takes care of it anyway - it's the Ts & Cs of usage of the site, and availability of stuff on it, and by making use of their service you agree to these terms. Obvoiusly, said terms are available before purchasing any Apple product.

Apple may make changes to any products or services offered on the Site, or to the applicable prices for any such products or services, at any time, without notice.

Stop pretending that any consumer has any basis for complaint.

The complaints here, and whoever the brain-dead idiots are that are downrating my posts, are driven by your own irrational emotions which have nothing to do with legality, what is or isn't anti-competitive, what is or isn't a monopoly, etc. You're all expressing that you WANT Apple/AT&T to do whatever you want them to, and trying to make up reasons why they should have to do whatever you want them to. Reality doesn't bend to the will of what you want it to be - nor do laws or contracts after you've signed them (or agreed to them by beginning to use the service).

You can *want* Apple to just open up the App Store and let any developer put stuff in there willy-nilly all they want without any can want that as hard as you like. The fact that Apple does not do so does not indicate any wrongdoing on their part - it indicates ignorant fanciful dreaming on your part that you can just get whatever you want for having wanted it.

It's so very, very simple people...if you don't like the terms & conditions that come hand-in-hand with owning an iPhone, then DON'T BUY ONE. Period! How hard is that to understand?

If you do buy an iPhone, you have ALREADY MADE THE DECISION that whatever the terms and conditions and contracts that come with it's use are worth your tolerance in order to own an iPhone. YOU ALREADY MADE THAT DECISION. And if in fact you DID NOT investigate/read the terms & conditions/contracts before buying an iPhone and/or using the App Store, that is YOUR FAULT and you don't get to complain about it later.

If you don't like the baggage that comes with an iPhone, then buy a Palm, HTC, BlackBerry, *whatever else* phone instead. There is a large market chock full of competing devices, contracts, and services. No one is forcing you to buy an iPhone - you CHOOSE to do so of your own free will, rather than choosing to buy any of the other devices/contracts that are available to you, and in so doing you are confirming that you are satisfied with the product/service you are going to recieve.

That. Is. All. Anyone who still doesn't get this, please shoot yourself, since you are clearly polluting the gene pool.

RE: The game plays on.
By Alexstarfire on 8/3/2009 1:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
We'll see who's stupid once the FCC gives its findings.

RE: The game plays on.
By Motoman on 8/3/2009 1:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
...because clearly, government agencies never screw anything up. In the meantime, check with any lawyer freinds you might have and see what they have to say. You can also check in with any economists/professors you might know about issues relating to open markets and such. You'd probably benefit quite a bit from their wisdom.

RE: The game plays on.
By Targon on 8/1/2009 2:58:02 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T as the service provider has the right to reject certain uses for the service.

If you own a home, that does not entitle you to run whatever business you wanted out of that home. Some businesses will be allowed, but most zoning laws place restrictions on the use of the property.

AT&T owns the cell infrastructure that is being used, so can restrict what customers can do on that infrastructure. Google wants to make an app to undercut voice calls, but this undermines the ability for AT&T to make money on their voice services, and that is the issue.

If the US government were to pay money to maintain and service all those cell phone towers, equipment, and do extra deployments, then the government would have more of an acceptable reason to force the issue. Until then, don't go around claiming that AT&T should let GOOGLE cut their throats. Maybe if Google wants to pay AT&T money on a per-minute basis, it would be allowed.

RE: The game plays on.
By HrilL on 8/2/2009 1:33:54 AM , Rating: 2
Not when they are not rejected on other devices. This is the same story with the sling blade application.

The 10MB over the air limit on application downloads needs to end too. I pay for unlimited data limited to 5GB None the less I should be able to download up to my limit and not have restrictions brought upon me because some company says so.

Apple and at&t are both anti-competitive companies. Apple won't let any application the does something their OS already has. Seems like Microsoft is getting in trouble for including an application that has competition. IE for example.

We should be allowed to use our devices as we chose. No company should be able to tell me what I can and can't do with their product. Sure they don't need to cover support for usages unapproved by them but they shouldn't be able to stop me either. at&t and apple are gate keepers when the gate should always be open.

RE: The game plays on.
By Targon on 8/1/2009 2:58:25 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T as the service provider has the right to reject certain uses for the service.

If you own a home, that does not entitle you to run whatever business you wanted out of that home. Some businesses will be allowed, but most zoning laws place restrictions on the use of the property.

AT&T owns the cell infrastructure that is being used, so can restrict what customers can do on that infrastructure. Google wants to make an app to undercut voice calls, but this undermines the ability for AT&T to make money on their voice services, and that is the issue.

If the US government were to pay money to maintain and service all those cell phone towers, equipment, and do extra deployments, then the government would have more of an acceptable reason to force the issue. Until then, don't go around claiming that AT&T should let GOOGLE cut their throats. Maybe if Google wants to pay AT&T money on a per-minute basis, it would be allowed.

RE: The game plays on.
By Diesel Donkey on 8/1/2009 1:20:12 PM , Rating: 2
Now you have a partner of the Iphone, namely AT&T, that could lose 100's if not perhaps billions of dollars because instead of consuming voice minutes, people will consume Data.

That's not how Google Voice works. It's not VoIP as far as your cell phone is concerned. You still use voice minutes.

RE: The game plays on.
By Keeir on 8/1/2009 3:13:44 PM , Rating: 2

I can see a long list of things ATT would not like about Google Voice

Free Text Messages
Essentially Free Internation Calls (Ie Domestic Long Distance + Small Surchage = International Calling)
Switch Phones during a call
Answer a phone call on any of your phones
"Free" Voicemail

RE: The game plays on.
By BoboGO on 8/2/2009 2:16:10 AM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah... if you read my post way down... I rent whores on not backpages... sorry about that...

Motoman, you sir are an idiot...
By BoboGO on 8/2/2009 2:03:02 AM , Rating: 1
Period. End of story.
Tattoo that to your eyelids.

I was kind with the idiot comment though... you are an a-hole... An Apple-Hole to the nth degree.

I have a Google Voice phone number and it isn't, as far as I know, a VOIP service... might be wrong on this though as I only use it to crank people, and rent whores on

I can't wait to see people wake up to the stench that is Steve Jobs... Looking forward to it...

RE: Motoman, you sir are an idiot...
By monitorjbl on 8/2/2009 4:57:19 AM , Rating: 2
I think that's a little harsh, Motoman made some valid points. He may have done so in a rather impolite tone, but this is the internet. You kinda have to get used to that. I will say that he did not really back up his assertions with facts. So, here are some facts.

First off, Google Voice IS a VoIP service:

The terms of AT&T's Unlimited Plan (which is what most people will get with their iPhone) are available here:

The additional Data Service terms are available here:

There's nothing overly surprising in the Unlimited Plan contract, perhaps because people are so used to the idea of cell phone companies getting you by the balls in those (interesting but unrelated, there is a clause in the Data terms that allows a user to request that voice service be shut off). There is this particular clause that essentially forbids things like Skype from functioning on their network: "Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following: ... (ii) as a substitute or backup for private lines, landlines...", but so far as I can tell, there is nothing that expressly forbids something like Google Voice to function on its network. This of course was obvious since Google Voice is available on other phones on AT&T, but I wanted to be thorough.

I snagged a copy of the Apple Developer Connection's EULA for the iPhone SDK and hosted for those that care to read it in its entirety here:

Apple does make you agree to their terms before you submit an app from their App Store. Among those terms is the agreement that apps cannot participate in "burdening network capacity". The clause is worded in such a way that it gives Apple the ability to decide what will burden the carrier's network. Apple also reserves the right to develop products that function similarly to a developer's, and to terminate apps that function similarly to their own products. They may also terminate developer's account or remove his app at Apple's sole discretion. From what I can tell, this essentially gives Apple the right to steal your product.

It is an awful contract, but it's what App Store developers agree to when they download the SDK or submit their app. Engineers and scientists have similar contracts when they work for big companies, so this sort of thing is not unprecedented. I would very much like to see this kind of thing changed, but there really isn't anything illegal about it.

I don't know what the App Store EULA is for customers, but I would imagine that its rather trivial and mentions the killswitch Apple can use if an app violates the terms of use. That's sort of a non issue in this case, however as it doesn't affect Google Voice getting into the App Store.

TL;DR; There is nothing (that I can tell, I'm no lawyer) in AT&T's contract that is preventing Google Voice from being on the iPhone, it seems to be all Apple. They have a legal right to forbid apps like Google Voice from their products and services and are exercising it. IMO, Apple is working on their own version of Google Voice with the Apple logo on it, but I of course can't back that up with anything substantial. All iPhone users (and I freely admit to being one, though I DID WinPwn it almost as soon as I got home) agreed to Apple's terms when they bought the phone, and all developers did the same when they submitted their apps for approval. Google is no different, and I don't see why the FCC is taking any interest in this.

RE: Motoman, you sir are an idiot...
By BoboGO on 8/2/2009 6:09:41 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I had to be harsh like that to get the results which YOU provided. Thank you very much monitorjbl for being the one.

It still stands though that motoman is a A-hole....

Shall now peruse the various links you provided...

RE: Motoman, you sir are an idiot...
By Motoman on 8/2/2009 6:45:51 PM , Rating: 2
...if you care to read my posts in chronological order, you'll see that I always start out quite polite...only when we get people blindly ignoring reality to I get agitated.

Also, I never made any comment whatsoever about the Google app itself, VOIP, or anything else. Not. A. Word.

And, like you, I think Steve Jobs is an ass and anyone who buys an Apple product is a sheep.

On top of that...everything I said is 100% correct. Find lawyers and/or economists and have them verify it. just exactly what is it that you're disagreeing with me on?

RE: Motoman, you sir are an idiot...
By monitorjbl on 8/3/2009 3:30:01 AM , Rating: 2
Well, you did say a couple of times that Apple and AT&T were preventing this app together. This doesn't appear to be the case; as the article mentions (and my post confirms), AT&T allows BlackBerries to use Google Voice on their network. Apple retains the discretionary power to deny Google Voice for ANY reason however, and is obviously using said power. All of it is totally legal, and there's really no reason for the FCC to come asking about it. So, you were half-right.

I wonder who downrated me :(

RE: Motoman, you sir are an idiot...
By Motoman on 8/3/2009 10:29:20 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't say they were blocking the app together...I was point out that if in fact, and we don't know for a fact, that Apple did truly remove the Google app due to influence from AT&T, then neither party has done any wrong. Apple decides what is or isn't in the App Store, and if they make a decision to include/exclude an App because of input from their wireless partner AT&T, well, that's sort of the expected behavior of both parties involved in a partnership.

The fact of the matter is, even if AT&T was well and truly pitching a fit about this app, and Apple capitulated to their protests, Apple made that decision (in the worst possible case) just to not piss off it's partner. Apple could have still, in that worst possible case, chosen to leave the Google app available, and just let AT&T stew about it. Going out on a limb here, I would reckon that various suits at Apple would decide that was a bad idea.

So, anyway...I never made the assertion you started out with there, other than trying to educate people on what a "partnership" is. And I would have to guess that you are getting downrated for the same reasons people downrate my posts when they are 100% factual - despite being 100% factual, it's just simply not the answer they want, so they rate it down. Cue picture of ostrich with it's head in the sand.

RE: Motoman, you sir are an idiot...
By monitorjbl on 8/3/2009 7:35:02 PM , Rating: 2
Ah. Must have missed the hypothetical there. Anyway, you were just playing the devil's advocate (quite literally, according to some) which I think any good discussion needs. A lot of people tend to desire an entire thread in which every opinion is the same, but then nothing gets done. BoboGO just wanted a measure of proof that Apple has the legal right to do what it is doing. It seems pretty obvious that this would be the case, but he and I wanted hard facts instead of supposition.

By Motoman on 8/3/2009 10:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
...I just don't see why it's my job, or your job, to run The Google for everyone else. On top of the fact that, realistically speaking, no one is uniformed about the control Apple has over the App Store at this point.

By DigitalFreak on 8/1/2009 8:45:57 AM , Rating: 2
The end of business on August... ?

RE: Huh?
By MADAOO7 on 8/1/2009 9:07:26 AM , Rating: 2
end of business = end of the normal business day = 5PM

RE: Huh?
By alexwalter88 on 8/1/2009 9:08:16 AM , Rating: 4
All business as we know it ends...AUGUST 21. DA DA DU.

Ask a stupid question, get an intelligent answer
By Targon on 8/1/2009 2:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
Cell phone providers make their money from people making voice calls. Data is a supplement to this, which is why you see unlimited data plans for $20/month and you don't see unlimited voice plans on ANY carrier for less than what, $100/month?

So, why should a cell phone service provider undermine their revenue stream by allowing VOIP applications which would cut their revenues by 75 percent in some cases?

Yes, the data plan is better for consumers....and it would hurt the providers.

One thing that many people don't think about is that the telephone infrastructure was heavily invested in by the US government, and as a result, the telephone was pushed into EVERY home because the government paid for a lot of it in the first place. So, everyone feels that telephone SHOULD be available.

Now, cell phone companies have not been paid money to put out towers in every part of the country. The very idea of cell phone use is still considered a luxury, so, government has not put money into the deployment. As a result, why should you or anyone else get to make free calls on equipment a private company has had to pay for?

By Alexstarfire on 8/1/2009 5:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
True, but I'm fairly certain that the program itself violates no current rules/regulations. As such they have no right to outright deny it just because it hurts their profit. I think companies just don't like to adapt to a new model, RIAA anyone.

By Totally on 8/1/2009 6:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
your reasoning is is flawed. you even said it yourself "Data is a supplement". The consumer will always be paying for a voice plan whether they use it or not. Which makes it completely implausible to "cut their revenues by 75 percent in some cases".

By Atheist Icon on 8/2/2009 3:00:50 AM , Rating: 2
Cell phone providers make their money from people making voice calls. Data is a supplement to this, which is why you see unlimited data plans for $20/month and you don't see unlimited voice plans on ANY carrier for less than what, $100/month?

Pocket and Cricket both have unlimited everything for $45 a month. Pocket is kinda sketchy(I know, because I have Pocket) with their coverage. I live in San Antonio, but my phone doesn't work in Austin...considering I go to Austin once a month to go to Fry's, I like not being bothered for a couple hours.

Cricket on the other hand has quite a few locations in some big cities and you can get nationwide coverage with is an extra 5 or 10 a month, I believe. There are other carriers out there if you are looking for cheaper service.

Government's role
By 0x1B on 8/2/2009 12:17:26 PM , Rating: 2
As long as companies are using OUR airwaves to conduct their (very profitable) businesses, then I expect and even demand that the government do their job, which is to represent the best interests of ALL Americans, not just the carrier's stockholders.

RE: Government's role
By Motoman on 8/2/2009 12:44:31 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you, comrade. You appear to be in the wrong country...try Venezuela or China...

RE: Government's role
By intelpatriot on 8/3/2009 8:11:51 AM , Rating: 2

If you are unhappy with the level of competition between communications companies in this country... then feel free to start your own.

Failing that you have to accept that companies are free to dictate whatever rules they like in areas of the country who's infrastructure they own.

Don't like the rules your water company (for example) sets? Then in a free country you have plenty choices:
1) Start your own company
2) Stop drinking
3) Leave the area
4) Or you could just accept that your freedom stops where the company's freedom starts. That is liberty. You might not like it but A is A.

All you own is your own body (assuming you haven't agreed otherwise) and your property. That is your freedom. All government is theft. By calling on government (the STATE) to curtail a corporations freedom you are aiding and abeting THEFT you are a THIEF.

RE: Government's role
By Mr772 on 8/3/2009 1:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
Amen. The failed bush years are over and businesses should be regulated from taking advantage of their lobbyist powers. I think all of us with a brain have had enough of the corporate BS.

By dark matter on 8/3/2009 2:26:43 AM , Rating: 2
Summarising all the arguments put forward for Apples behaviour it ends up something along these lines

"They can do whatever they like, it is their phone, their service, their product, theirs, theirs, theirs"

Sure, Apple do not have a monopoly. But they sure as hell would like to be. Hopefully people will see sense and not allow this to happen by refusing to purchase a product that offers a restricted product range where they, and they alone get to say what application runs on their phone.

Can you imagine if you bought a PC, or even a Mac, and either MS or Apple told you what programs you can run on your computer. Heck, even rovoking programs that you thought you had purchased. It just wouldn't happen.

If your only defense is "its in the small print of the contract" then you just blow. Seriously, what kind of a loser actually comes out with that line other than snotty arsed customer service reps who use it to beat down any kind of complaint.

I don't have the time to read the small print of everything I buy. Half the time it has been written to deliberately confuse the fuck out of people and the other half is just ot cover their arses in case of a court case.

I cannot abide idiots who defend multi-nationals business practices when they are blatantly anti-consumer just because they "love" that company as though it were a football team. Pissoff with your "its in the contract so they can do what they like" shit answer. It isn't an answer. it isn't an excuse. it's just the only thing that the sad bastard on the Internet who is in love with a fucking organisation can come out with. Lame.

My advice, stop reading the small print of contracts and you might just get laid. Oh wait, unless there is an Apple app for that then I guess those Apple juicers are just bang out of luck.

By dark matter on 8/3/2009 5:00:04 AM , Rating: 2
ha ha ha. struck a chord with you then, mr small print?

By khardam on 8/3/2009 8:15:05 AM , Rating: 2
No. I don't think so. You really are an idiot.

Small prints are what defines whatever it is you are legally binding yourself to. I'm 100% sure that there ain't any legal system in the world where the jury wouldn't have a field day with the defense : "yeah, well, I didn't have the time to read what I was signing".

By intelpatriot on 8/3/2009 8:23:12 AM , Rating: 2
In communist/socialist europe, maybe.

Over there contracts with consumers are required to be "reasonable" (sic).

It disgusts me that they pervert the use of the word reason.

A true human being (like John Galt) is ruled by their soverign reason and never makes mistakes.

Each day...
By banvetor on 8/1/2009 4:22:30 PM , Rating: 4
... I feel happier and happier about not buying an iPhone when I had the chance.

RE: Each day...
By icanhascpu on 8/3/2009 2:47:26 AM , Rating: 2
Thats because you worry too much about what other people think. Ive been happily using mine since I got it.

I hear leaving it out in the sun makes it hot though. Crazy right?

Power to the People!
By Pippy on 8/1/2009 3:19:16 PM , Rating: 2
We can demand whatever we want from these companies if it's backed by the populace!

RE: Power to the People!
By akosixiv on 8/2/2009 1:57:01 AM , Rating: 3
and the companies can easily deny your demand if its backed by the government.

FCC finally doung their job
By rmlarsen on 8/1/2009 3:22:41 PM , Rating: 1
I think many of us would agree that Apple and AT&T have been pushing their monopolistic practices for a while (not much worse than other wireless carriers in the US). It's about time the FCC stepped up to the plate to protect the consumer and other businesses wanting to innovate in the space.

(Cue the usual DT libertarian nutjob rants about BIG government intervention...)

RE: FCC finally doung their job
By DarkElfa on 8/2/2009 8:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
In economics, a monopoly exists when a specific individual or an enterprise (Apple) has sufficient control over a particular product or service (Iphone) to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it(App Store). Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods (Products that compete with Apple).

RE: FCC finally doung their job
By Motoman on 8/2/2009 9:02:28 PM , Rating: 2
Try running that past any economist or economics professor and see if they agree with you. Apple doesn't have a monopoly either with the iPhone or with the App Store. And, by definition, they can't - anymore than Coca-Cola can have a monopoly with Coke.

What about Slingbox?
By Devo2007 on 8/1/2009 9:20:07 AM , Rating: 2
What about the Slingbox app? I think the makers of this application should have their voice heard as well during this investigation, as it falls under the same rules (other AT&T phones have access to the app, but AT&T/Apple limits its use to WiFi on the iPhone).

Not fair indeed.

RE: What about Slingbox?
By sprockkets on 8/1/2009 10:06:49 AM , Rating: 2
The iphone is probably a victim of its own success. It's more plausible though in this case that Apple blocked it simply because Apple is a douche about apps that make themselves look bad (ie the podcast app).

How was this posted?
By SublimeSimplicity on 8/1/2009 10:12:21 AM , Rating: 1
In its letter go Google, the FCC asks for the reason Apple gave for rejecting its Google Voice application and also asks about the approval/rejection process for the Android app store.

Was this article by any chance typed on an iPhone?

RE: How was this posted?
By atomikyyz on 8/2/2009 2:03:37 PM , Rating: 2
Hehehehe I am so glad that I use a network that supports their community in working together to develop new and innovative apps and services and don't belong to the same restrictive problems that the iphone users are subjected to. Yeah contracts are binding and business is business and that just sucks for some and benefits others. Alot of comments were made here that didn't seem to include that the same "issues" so many think are involved, seem to work well on other networks, and in fact enhance the end users experience.
Bottom line read your contracts people. Shop these things out. Do some research and do yourself the favor. Or suffer the consequences. Right or wrong, the choice was yours. Apple will always be a "proprietary" problem to the rest of the community so when you embrace it you embrace what it will do and how it will limit you. As for the FCC getting involved, well that's a whole other ball of wax, that we all unfortunately have to deal with. It should be a reminder of how careful we need to be in voicing ourselves and choosing leadership that actually leads us in a good way.

Now we're cooking with gas.
By sxr7171 on 8/1/2009 9:06:47 AM , Rating: 2
Now we're cooking with gas.

By foolsgambit11 on 8/2/2009 2:53:05 AM , Rating: 2
Is it possible that the issue is that they don't want this app on the iPod Touch, and the App Store doesn't discriminate between the two devices? Apple (and AT&T) certainly wouldn't want people to be able to use the iPod Touch as a phone, right? That would hurt iPhone sales some.

By reredrum on 8/2/2009 4:17:17 AM , Rating: 2
personally, i think apple and at&t have been acting very shady since the iPhone was released. at first i just wrote it off thinking that they were just protecting something they had that no one else did, but now i see just how shady they are. i think it's probably more apple than at&t too!

i feel sorry for those at&t customers with iPhones. i might have verizon, but at least verizon doesn't have the business practice of, "if we can't do it better, we'll just block it!"

By intelpatriot on 8/3/2009 7:10:09 AM , Rating: 2
This is about freedom .

You may not like it but AT&T's 200 billion dollars of freedom (propety is freedom, reread your Ayn Rand if you've forgotten that simple lesson) matters just as much as your $300 dollar phone purchase.

It is their product (AT&T and Apple's) they can decide how it's used.

Maybe when you own more than your own labor and the use of someone else's intellectual property (like the iPhone) you will value propety a little more.

Where is PIRKS?
By chick0n on 8/1/09, Rating: -1
RE: Where is PIRKS?
By Pirks on 8/2/09, Rating: 0
RE: Where is PIRKS?
By chick0n on 8/2/2009 8:11:27 AM , Rating: 1
Is that the one and only come 3rd grader come back u have moron ?

Come on, you can do better than that! Go ask your Daddy Jobs !

RE: Where is PIRKS?
By Pirks on 8/2/09, Rating: -1
"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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