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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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”
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.
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."
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.
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."
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."