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AT&T has no qualms about blaming partner Apple for app rejections

Under investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T has passed the blame for the Google Voice application rejection on to partner Apple.  According to AT&T's spokesperson, "AT&T does not manage or approve applications for the App Store. We have received the letter and will, of course, respond to it."

The FCC has demanded that Apple and AT&T explain the process by which applications are rejected.  In particular its asking what contractual conditions or non-contractual understandings with AT&T influence app store rejections. 

The government also asked, "Does AT&T have any role in the approval of iPhone applications generally (or in certain cases)? If so, under what circumstances, and what role does it play? What roles are specified in the contractual provisions between Apple and AT&T (or any non-contractual understandings) regarding the consideration of particular iPhone applications?"

The insinuation by AT&T, though, that it plays no part in app store policing and that regulation is solely the work of Apple is flat out false, though.  AT&T previously ordered Apple to force Slingbox to operate over WiFi only.  AT&T had stated:
Slingbox, which would use large amounts of wireless network capacity, could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network. The application does not run on our 3G wireless network. Applications like this, which redirect a TV signal to a personal computer, are specifically prohibited under our terms of service. We consider smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs.
Steve Jobs also noted during a Q&A session that AT&T is actively policing voice-over-IP apps.  He stated that AT&T is the reason why apps like Skype are WiFi only.  In the end it appears that despite its claims of innocence, AT&T may play more of a role in iPhone app policing than it admits.

The finger pointing by AT&T does illustrate increasing tension between the two companies.  Apple took a number of apparent snipes at AT&T during its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote address, where it introduced the new iPhone 3G S.

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Why is the FCC involved?
By SublimeSimplicity on 8/4/2009 12:39:54 PM , Rating: 0
Apple is a private company that should be able to do whatever they want with THEIR app store. If an app isn't up to their standards, if they think it will cause instability, or if it's Wednesday the only people they owe answers to is their consumers.

What is the precedence for the FCC getting involved? Because the HW could be used on an FCC controlled radio frequency? Can all apps on a PC come under FCC fire because you can tether a cellphone to a PC?

Excuse me, I now have to take a very long shower as I feel dirty having to defend Apple. I hope you are all happy.

RE: Why is the FCC involved?
By AntiM on 8/4/2009 1:28:20 PM , Rating: 2
I kind of agree. Anti-competitive business practices are the jurisdiction of the FTC and the Justice Dept.
I don't see that the FCC has any authority in this matter. Their mandate is to manage the spectrum and how it's used, not the business practices of the entity that's using the spectrum. Their only job should be to make sure one persons signals don't interfere with another persons.

The FCC is not a law making or law enforcement body.

RE: Why is the FCC involved?
By mars777 on 8/6/2009 3:26:37 AM , Rating: 2
Apple here is just a second target, since they are doing the "less wrong".

What is under investigation here is:

- AT&T has a by contract monopoly over the iPhone
- AT&T should not interfere in Apple decisions over the Store (by Apple EULA)
- AT&T should offer the same functionality (if possible) to all users (be from Apple or from Blackberry (where it offers the same thing))

Now if AT&T has influenced apple decisions about this app then AT&T is violating its contracts with customers and Apple it's eula.

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