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AT&T accuses Google of a vast conspiracy, including using its "monopoly" to control the media, control user's internet traffic, and silence its opponents.  (Source: The Independent)
A new letter from AT&T to the federal government makes it clear that the company has little love for Google

If there's one thing clear from the Google Voice iPhone debacle, it's that there's no love lost between AT&T and Google.  AT&T, to date, is accusing Google of everything from political and news manipulation, to violating net neutrality.

The drama surrounding the rejection began shortly after when the Federal Communications Commission opened an inquiry into who was responsible for the rejection of Google Voice and whether the rejection violated any federal laws or rules.  AT&T quickly responded that it did not mastermind the rejection, and that it was Apple's doing.  Apple followed up, taking the blame and say it was working to get the app approved.

Then came a second response from AT&T.  Apparently in a sharing mood, AT&T sounded off against Google and complained to the FCC that it believes Google Voice breaks the law.  Since AT&T has allowed VoIP apps onto the iPhone, but Google Voice is still no where to be found.  Now AT&T has delivered a third letter to the FCC further attacking the internet giant.

While Google has been attacked by many -- newspaper moguls, telecoms, and internet rivals -- the new letter is perhaps the harshest conglomerated criticism leveled against the company to date.  Written by Robert W. Quinn, Jr., an AT&T Senior Vice President, the letter entitled "Google Voice; Establishing Just and Reasonable Rates for Local Exchange Carriers" opens claiming Google is a hypocrite when it comes to net neutrality.

Mr. Quinn writes:

As the debate regarding “net neutrality” has evolved, it appeared on the surface that all parties shared the same desire to preserve the “free and open” nature of the Internet, a goal enunciated by [FCC] Chairman Genachowski with which we heartily agree."

As communications services increasingly migrate to broadband Internet-based platforms, we can now see the power of Internet-based applications providers to act as gatekeepers who can threaten the “free and open” Internet. Google’s double-standard for “openness” – where Google does what it wants while other providers are subject to Commission regulations – is plainly inconsistent with the goal of preserving a “free and open” Internet ecosystem.

The letter claims that Google's explanation that it is only blocking certain kinds of rural calls like adult sex-chat lines, to avoid high fees leveled against the free service, is a lie.  The letter accuses Google of conspiracy, saying it also blocked calls to an ambulance service, church, bank, law firm, automobile dealer, day spa, orchard, health clinic, tax preparation service, community center, eye doctor, tribal community college, school, residential consumers, a convent of Benedictine nuns, and the campaign office of a U.S. Representative.

According to AT&T, Google is "abus[ing] its market power".  AT&T insists Google is not exempt, either from being free or being internet-based, from federal regulations that prevent such call blocking.

The letter also calls Google a monopoly, citing, "In preparing a complaint to challenge the Google/Yahoo arrangement, the [U.S.] Department [of Justice] reportedly concluded that Google had a “monopoly” in these markets and the proposed arrangement “would have furthered [Google’s] monopoly."

Furthermore, AT&T accuses Google of practicing broad-scale manipulation of the media.  It says that Google blocked political advertisements from Senator Susan Collins, due to her criticism of Moveon.org, a Google net neutrality partner.  It also accuses Google of blocking the Inner City Press from Google News, as the publication criticized the United Nation Development Programme, a Google-sponsored program.

It then goes on to accuse Google of illegitimately "buying" ads in its own auction to push its agenda for keywords such as "net neutrality". The letter concludes, "Ironically, Google appears oblivious to the hypocrisy of its net neutrality advocacy relative to its own conduct. [A]t the same time, Google exploits the dominance of its search engine and its gatekeeping power over other applications to give its preferred content greater visibility than its political opponents’ content or to simply block its competitors’ applications altogether."

"Deliberately narrowing the principles to award Google a special privilege to play by its own rules – or no rules at all – would be grossly unfair, patently unlawful, and a renunciation of President Obama’s assurance that the Commission’s Internet Policy Statement would be used to “ensure there’s a level playing field” between competitors. Thus, the Commission’s first fundamental step in leveling that playing field must be to unequivocally re-affirm in its proposed rulemaking that it will not exempt Google from whatever rules it ultimately adopts."



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RE: Not a complete lie
By artemicion on 10/16/2009 10:42:55 AM , Rating: 5
Accepting your argument as true, that Google's "owners" (I assume you either mean majority shareholders or the CEOs) are extremely liberal and are getting a pass from liberal politicians, you (shockingly) make no mention of the fact that conservatives aren't paying attention to Google either. Presumably, because conservatives are generally in favor of less regulation of the market and will leave large businesses to their own devices.

Which raises the question, either you agree with your conservative brethren and believe that there is no problem here and that Google shouldn't be regulated, and in turn are blaming liberals for something you don't believe to be a problem in the first place.

Or, you're secretly liberal, and are angry at liberals for failing to regulate a business that should be regulated.

I guess the third option would be that you're a southern conservative, nobody knows what your economic views are, largely because the rest of the country assumes you don't understand the economy, your only real economic policy is any policy that prevents gays from getting married, and you sit on your front porch with a shotgun while wearing a tin foil hat so that the government and Google satellites can't see you.

This is all in good fun, I'm not trying to flame you. I can see your main point is about businesses in politics, which is valid. Though IF there is a problem, it's both parties' fault for not doing anything.


RE: Not a complete lie
By FITCamaro on 10/16/2009 10:57:21 AM , Rating: 2
No I really don't have much of a problem with their rise to fame. As far as their business practices, as long as they remain within the bounds of the law, I don't think much should be done. I do have a bit of an issue with how much data they collect but they seem to largely keep that to themselves. As long as they continue to do so, and not sell it or use it to spy on people (pushing targeted ads isn't spying), I don't really have much to complain about.

I have more of a problem with those in charge of the company than the company itself. I just don't like double standards liberal politicians get into. Insurance companies, oil companies, and Microsoft are evil for making large profits but Google isn't?


RE: Not a complete lie
By omnicronx on 10/16/2009 1:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
FIT please explain to me how conservative politicians do not have the same double standards? I have yet to hear a peep about Google and their net neutrality stance (i.e government regulation) which goes against conservative ideals. Thats the OP's point, you can express your ideals when you would like, but in situations like this where both parties are potentially to blame, it is nothing but a hypocritical statement to call out a single party/ political stance.


RE: Not a complete lie
By pequin06 on 10/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: Not a complete lie
By FITCamaro on 10/16/2009 11:57:29 AM , Rating: 2
I had no problem with his comment.


RE: Not a complete lie
By mikeyD95125 on 10/16/2009 9:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
Satire recognition Fail.


RE: Not a complete lie
By ctodd on 10/16/2009 11:46:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I guess the third option would be that you're a southern conservative, nobody knows what your economic views are, largely because the rest of the country assumes you don't understand the economy, your only real economic policy is any policy that prevents gays from getting married, and you sit on your front porch with a shotgun while wearing a tin foil hat so that the government and Google satellites can't see you.

I take great offense to your statement, Sir! I am proud to be both a Southerner and a Conservative! It pains me when people make derogatory statements like yours without truly knowing whom they are speaking of. It is very likely my education level and salary far exceeds yours. And yes, I do own a shotgun and many other weapons for that matter, but that has no bearing on ones acuity on political or economic matters.


RE: Not a complete lie
By Solandri on 10/16/2009 7:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Accepting your argument as true, that Google's "owners" (I assume you either mean majority shareholders or the CEOs) are extremely liberal and are getting a pass from liberal politicians, you (shockingly) make no mention of the fact that conservatives aren't paying attention to Google either. Presumably, because conservatives are generally in favor of less regulation of the market and will leave large businesses to their own devices.

Which raises the question, either you agree with your conservative brethren and believe that there is no problem here and that Google shouldn't be regulated, and in turn are blaming liberals for something you don't believe to be a problem in the first place.

Without getting into whether OP is actually right (I don't think he is, but that's another argument), the OP's point was one of consistency and hypocrisy. Not one of stance on an issue. A conservative who promotes family values, then gets caught having an affair can legitimately be called a hypocrite by liberals who sleep around with a different partner every night. Likewise, the OP's point was that if liberals want wish to scrutinize corporate activity and possible monopolistic behavior, then they need to do it evenly for all corporations. If they favor one company because their founders' political views match theirs, it would be hypocrisy.

quote:
I guess the third option would be that you're a southern conservative, nobody knows what your economic views are, largely because the rest of the country assumes you don't understand the economy, your only real economic policy is any policy that prevents gays from getting married, and you sit on your front porch with a shotgun while wearing a tin foil hat so that the government and Google satellites can't see you.

I tend to be right-leaning on economic issues, left-leaning on social issues. But things like what you just wrote are why I'll never be able to register as a Democrat. For a group which purports to rally against stereotypes, they sure promote a lot of them.


"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis














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