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Google Goes Public: Apple Nixed Our App

Google on Friday released a previously confidential letter to the Federal Communications Commission that details how its partner and rival, Apple, rejected the search giant's Google Voice and mapping programs for the iPhone.

The revelation sets the stage for what many in the high-tech and telecom industries expect to be a battle in Washington over new rules for how wireless carriers and handset makers control what content and services consumers can access on their mobile devices.

The FCC had requested information from Apple, its exclusive carrier for the iPhone, AT&T, and Google upon reports that the iPhone had blocked Google's voice service application.

In its response letter to the FCC Aug. 21, letter search giant Google says high-ranking executives at Apple and Google spoke over the phone, e-mailed, and met in person last spring and summer to discussed Google's services on the iPhone.

On July 7, Apple's senior vice president for worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, told Google senior vice president Alan Eustace over the phone that Apple was rejecting the Google Voice application, according to the letter by Google.

"Apple believed the application duplicated the core dialer functionality of the iPhone. The Apple representatives indicated that the company did not want applications that could potentially replace such functionality," Google's telecommunications counsel, Rick Whitt, wrote in the letter. Whitt wrote that in the spring Apple informed Google it would reject the mapping service Google Latitude because the application "had the potential to replace the preloaded maps applications, create user confusion since the preloaded maps application on the iPhone is a version of Google Maps..."

The details, which had been redacted upon Google request last month, was made public Friday upon the search giant's request.

Sources in the industry expect an announcement soon about any action by the FCC on competition in the wireless industry. There is renewed interest also in Congress with Rep. Henry Waxman's announcement Thursday that he would co-author a bill on net neutrality.

By Cecilia Kang  |  September 18, 2009; 1:45 PM ET  | Category:  Cecilia Kang
Previous: Looking for Your Ideas, Questions for Upcoming Panel Discussion On Broadband and Mobile | Next: FCC To Introduce Net Neutrality Rule


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