Perhaps the biggest battle came with
of Google Voice. Apple flatly rejected the application citing
that it would cause
confusion with the existing phone features on the iPhone. Many
people, however, believed that the snub came down directly from
The block of cellular VoIP on the
iPhone infuriated many considering that Blackberry
devices running on AT&T networks have had access to such
applications (including Google Voice). AT&T today even
acknowledged the artificial iPhone blocks; "For some time, AT&T
has offered a variety of other wireless devices that enable VoIP
applications on 3G, 2G and Wi-Fi networks."
However, AT&T is looking to right
its wrongs and has announced that VoIP traffic over 3G will be opened
up for the iPhone. “IPhone is an innovative device that
dramatically changed the game in wireless when it was introduced just
two years ago,” said AT&T's Ralph de la Vega. “Today’s
decision was made after evaluating our customers’ expectations and
use of the device compared to dozens of others we offer.”
AT&T says that it has informed both
Apple and the FCC of the change, so hopefully VoIP apps will begin to
flow from the iTunes App Store. And hopefully, Google Voice may soon
find it way to iPhone users.
The president of Skype has just released a statement regarding AT&T's decision:
Since launching our iPhone application six months ago, people have downloaded and installed Skype on 10% of all iPhone and iPod touch devices sold - making it clear that people are extremely interested in taking Skype conversations with them on the go.
All of us at Skype applaud today's announcement by AT&T that it'll open up its 3G network to Internet calling applications such as Skype. It's the right step for AT&T, Apple, millions of mobile Skype users and the Internet itself.
Nonetheless, the positive actions of one company are no substitute for a government policy that protects openness and benefits consumers. We're all looking forward to further developments that will let people use Skype on any device, on any network.