Following the rejection and removal of Google Voice apps from the App Store the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has now begun an investigation into the process involved in app approvals and what role AT&T plays in the process.
To offer some background, Google Voice is a service originally known as Grand Central, at the most basic function Google Voice offers a single phone number of your choice that will ring multiple phones, e.g. work, home, mobile, etc. Along with this unified number there is also a unified voice mail system, accessible via the web. Google Voice also allows listening in on voice mails as they’re being left, setting custom away messages for different callers, blocking of telemarketers and many more features.
Several third party Google Voice apps had been available on the App Store for some months and Google had submitted the official app for review not long ago. The apps main functions are to facilitate dialling out of the phone using the Google Voice number, sending SMS messages, showing a call history and access to the online voicemail system.
On July 27 Apple rejected Google’s official iPhone app and removed all the previously approved apps from the App Store causing uproar amongst the media and iPhone owners. At the time it was unclear whether the decision was Apple’s or AT&T’s, it was later revealed that AT&T was most likely behind the ban.
Today it has been revealed that the U.S Federal Communications Commission has taken interest in the matter. In letters sent to Google, AT&T and Apple the FCC makes mention to an ongoing case started by Skype which questions wireless open access and also another case regarding handset exclusivity.
All the letters as well as the document containing details about RM-11361 can be seen below.