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Why AT&T Killed iPhone Google Voice 304

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the doesn't-take-a-genius dept.
ZuchinniOne writes "The Wall Street Journal has a very interesting article about the likely reasons that AT&T and Apple killed the Google Voice application. 'With Google Voice, you have one Google phone number that callers use to reach you, and you pick up whichever phone — office, home or cellular — rings. You can screen calls, listen in before answering, record calls, read transcripts of your voicemails, and do free conference calls. Domestic calls and texting are free, and international calls to Europe are two cents a minute. In other words, a unified voice system, something a real phone company should have offered years ago.'"
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Why AT&T Killed iPhone Google Voice

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  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blhack (921171) on Friday August 21, 2009 @05:57PM (#29151295)

    AT&T killed google voice because the "Killer App" that the iPhone has (visual voicemail) is completely, totally, and utterly DESTROYED by it.

    If you haven't used google voice, let me explain. Somebody leaves you a voicemail on your GV number. Google does voice recognition on it, and sends you an email of the text. In the email is a little widget that allows you to play the audio.

    Apparently, the visual voice mail was a HUGELY expensive undertaking for AT&T. Having somebody offer *the* reason to get an iPhone for *free* is really, really scary to them.

    Google offered a superior product for infinitely (as in divide by zero) cheaper. AT&T shat their pants, and blocked it.

    • Re:No. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Culture20 (968837) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:02PM (#29151343)

      Having somebody offer *the* reason to get an iPhone for *free* is really, really scary to them.

      Google can give me a sense of superiority and belonging to the "in" crowd for *free*?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fractoid (1076465)

        Google can give me a sense of superiority and belonging to the "in" crowd for *free*?

        Yes, yes they can. Take that, Apple, you can't whore out your 'in crowd' tickets any more. Ahahahahahah~!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mdwh2 (535323)

        Personally I prefer to Think Different by not having an iPhone...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:10PM (#29151427)

      Apple just admitted that it was them and not AT&T.

      http://www.apple.com/hotnews/apple-answers-fcc-questions/?sr=hotnews.rss [apple.com]

      So much for all that crap you just wrote.

      It will be funny to see all the Apple fanboys who were screaming "It was big bad AT&T and not my PRECIOUS Apple who was the bad guy!!!" and how their fanboy minds deal with this news.

      Man, Apple couldn't possibly be blowing it more than they are. Google Voice is amazing.

      • by MediaStreams (1461187) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:19PM (#29151495)

        Apple blocking Google Voice makes buying an iPhone not even a possiblity now that I have had Google Voice for a month or so.

        I know many of these features have existed in other products, but that doesn't change the fact that Google Voice has been as big a lifestyle change as getting TiVo for the first time 7 or 8 years ago.

        * The voice mail transcripts are my favorite thing. Perfectly accurate so far. Love being able to read voice mails right from my computer

        * Free SMS in a GMail like interface

        * Everyone now has my Google Number and all my phones are unified behind that single number and I am now completely free to pick up and switch to a new cellphone as the flood of Android phones come out over the next year

        • * The voice mail transcripts are my favorite thing. Perfectly accurate so far.

          It sounds like you have normal friends. The voice mail transcripts I receive look like total gibberish to me (not that listening to the voice version is that much better, I think the problem is that many of my friends have ADD).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:27PM (#29151571)

        Shows what you know, Mr. Anonymous Coward! I don't usually respond to ACs, but I will anyway, Mr Anonymous smarty man!

        I don't see anything that did wrong here. You see, Apple had some very good reaosns for what they did. It was an obvious move on their part to continually provide their superior service along with their superior products - it's worth paying what they charge because they're superior and they are cheaper in the long run. We all know that they offer the best overall value - that include TCO. Obviously, the deal with AT&T would have caused us Apple iPhone users some hardship and it would have cost us money. Considering this business decision I think it pretty obvious that Apple did it to protect their outstanding reputation, brand, their outstanding technology that no one else offers, and their customers.

        You can post all the press releases you want and spin it to show that Apple is out to screw us fanboys over by gouging us for (mistakenly) commodity hardware in a pretty case - lies I tell you! That's just not so!

        Whatever man! I have some great tunes that I need to transfer from my 17" MacBook Pro over to my iPod. I need to take a shower and put on a fresh black turtleneck and put on my Friday night arty glasses because I'm going out with my boys - there's a great show tonight with lots of show tunes. You're not going to wreck my mood!

      • It gets even better (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:38PM (#29151645)

        From Apple's response: "Apple does not know if there is a VoIP element in the way the Google Voice application routes calls and messages, and whether VoIP technology is used over the 3G network by the application."

        So Apple "does not know" what Google Voice does, they just need to "ponder" it some more.

        I wonder how FCC officials like being treated like idiots. Hopefully Apple is about to find out.

      • by ruiner13 (527499) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:06PM (#29151907) Homepage
        Ok, maybe I'm reading too much into it, but this part:

        Apple alone makes the final decisions to approve or not approve iPhone applications.

        There is a provision in Apple's agreement with AT&T that obligates Apple not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&T's cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&T's permission. Apple honors this obligation, in addition to respecting AT&T's customer Terms of Service, which, for example, prohibit an AT&T customer from using AT&T's cellular service to redirect a TV signal to an iPhone. From time to time, AT&T has expressed concerns regarding network efficiency and potential network congestion associated with certain applications, and Apple takes such concerns into consideration.

        Makes it seem like though they didn't actually talk to AT&T about Google Voice, they could have anticipated their reaction on the matter, leading to where we are today.

      • Very suspicious... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Azureflare (645778) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:17PM (#29151993)
        Ok, this letter looks like doubletalk to me.

        For example:

        Are there any contractual conditions or non-contractual understandings with AT&T that affected Apple's decision in this matter?

        Apple is acting alone and has not consulted with AT&T about whether or not to approve the Google Voice application. No contractual conditions or non-contractual understandings with AT&T have been a factor in Apple's decision-making process in this matter.

        Okay, so Apple is saying that no contract with AT&T affected their decision to remove the Google Voice application from the iTunes Store. But wait, what do they say in the _next section_!?

        There is a provision in Apple's agreement with AT&T that obligates Apple not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&T's cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&T's permission.

        WTF?

        Then they go into "asscovering mode" by saying they don't know what VOIP is:

        Apple does not know if there is a VoIP element in the way the Google Voice application routes calls and messages, and whether VoIP technology is used over the 3G network by the application. Apple has approved numerous standard VoIP applications (such as Skype, Nimbuzz and iCall) for use over WiFi, but not over AT&T's 3G network.

        Personally, I don't have a google voice account. From what I've read, google voice actually uses the normal phone system (so it still requires that you have a phone account). It's just a service.

        IMO, Apple doesn't have a leg to stand on. The only argument they have is that it replaces "core functionality" of the iPhone. That argument is completely bogus too, because that is just preventing competition (and may be considered monopolistic behavior). Sure, that's not unusual for Apple. But I think now their position is different. They aren't the underdog in the smartphone industry, they are one of the top dogs. They can't just do whatever they want while ignoring existing anti-trust legislation.

      • by Rand310 (264407) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:25PM (#29152035)

        Most of that was free PR, with a few wiggle-room sentences...

        Did you collude with AT&T:
        "From time to time, AT&T has expressed concerns regarding network efficiency and potential network congestion associated with certain applications, and Apple takes such concerns into consideration."

      • Google voice is also US centric. Why should I, as a Canadian give a damn? I have access to Truphone, which is not a free service but cheap. I have yet to use any VOIP software or service with my iPhone. I don't see the point for me right now.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Jay L (74152) *

        The big surprise in Apple's memo is that they claim that Google's voicemail "disables" visual voicemail. AFAICT, they're claiming that Google, by providing a non-AT&T phone number where people can call you and leave you messages that you can fetch from your iPhone, is constructively disabling visual voicemail.

        Man, I hope they don't hear about postcards.

      • It will be funny to see all the Apple fanboys who were screaming "It was big bad AT&T and not my PRECIOUS Apple who was the bad guy!!!" and how their fanboy minds deal with this news.

        You can find a fanboy response here. [daringfireball.net] Although I guess it isn't sensationalist enough for your tastes. Although I don't remember any screaming beforehand. Is it possible to scream in text? I guess there's caps-lock.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Z80xxc! (1111479)

        Thanks for the great link!

        There's a lot of BS in that article, but a couple of things which particularly struck me as ridiculous:

        Apple spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and innovative way to seamlessly deliver core functionality of the iPhone. For example, on an iPhone, the âoePhoneâ icon that is always shown at the bottom of the Home Screen launches Appleâ(TM)s mobile telephone application, providing access to Favorites, Recents, Contacts, a Keypad, and Visual Voicemai

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RCourtney (973307)
        "In addition, the iPhone userâ(TM)s entire Contacts database is transferred to Googleâ(TM)s servers, and we have yet to obtain any assurances from Google that this data will only be used in appropriate ways."

        About a year ago my step-father bought an iPhone and asked me to help him figure out how to use voice activated dialing - a feature that came standard on his previous cell phone. The iPhone did not come with that functionality, I found out, so I figured there's gotta be "an app for that" an
    • question 1 answer

      Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it. The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhoneâ(TM)s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhoneâ(TM)s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail. Apple spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and i

      • by stuboogie (900470) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:54PM (#29152603)
        Gee...I wonder what would have been said if MS had responded to the antitrust allegations of Netscape with the following:

        Contrary to published reports, Microsoft has not rejected the Netscape Navigator application, and continues to study it. The application has not been bundled with Windows because it appears to alter Windows' distinctive user experience by replacing Windows' core web browsing functionality and Microsoft user interface with its own user interface for web browsing and email. Microsoft spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and innovative way to seamlessly deliver internet functionality of Windows. For example, on Windows, the Internet Explorer icon that is always shown on the desktop launches Microsoft's web browser application, providing access to Favorites, History and email with Outlook Express. The Netscape Navigator application replaces Microsoft's email by routing emails through a separate Netscape Navigator application that stores any email, preventing email from being stored in Outlook Express, i.e., disabling Microsoft's email. In addition, the Windows user's entire Contacts database is imported in to Netscape Composer, and we have yet to obtain any assurances from Netscape that this data will only be used in appropriate ways. These factors present several new issues and questions to us that we are still pondering at this time...We are continuing to study the Netscape Navigator application and its potential impact on the Windows user experience. Netscape is of course free to provide Netscape Navigator and its Netscape-branded user experience on other operating systems, including Unix-based operating systems, and let consumers make their choices.
      • Translations (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sjames (1099) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:08PM (#29152669) Homepage

        Corporate speech can be difficult to understand sometimes, so I'll translate a few bits...

        The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhoneÃ(TM)s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhoneÃ(TM)s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail. Apple spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and innovative way

        We know best. We have always had the best taste in everything. We'll be damned if we'll let those grubby little customers insult us like that! Sometimes children have to be told no for their own good.

        Apple alone makes the final decisions to approve or not approve iPhone applications.

        There is a provision in AppleÃ(TM)s agreement with AT&T that obligates Apple not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&TÃ(TM)s cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&TÃ(TM)s permission. Apple honors this obligation...

        We say! It's all us, we have the power!.....unless Mommy says no.

        Apple does not know if there is a VoIP element in the way the Google Voice application routes calls and messages, and whether VoIP technology is used over the 3G network by the application. Apple has approved numerous standard VoIP applications (such as Skype, Nimbuzz and iCall) for use over WiFi, but not over AT&TÃ(TM)s 3G network.

        We haven't actually tried to run the app yet...

        * ÃoeApplications may be rejected if they contain content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, sounds, etc.) that in AppleÃ(TM)s reasonable judgment may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory; and...

        But making your phone fart is fine

        and the use of unauthorized protocols.

        We can't just let those grubby little users use protocols all willy nilly like that, they might soil the internet!

    • by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:15PM (#29151451) Homepage
      It helps to understand that AT&T is actually the old SBC. The AT&T name was sold [att.com] to SBC. My understanding from talking with former SBC customers is that the SBC trademark had little value because the company was so abusive. So, the SBC managers decided to use another name.

      Those interested in how that happened can watch Stephen Colbert explain in a 1 minute 14 second video: The New AT&T [google.com]. If that video is not available, try this one [myspace.com], but that requires watching a commercial.
    • I cry bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Linegod (9952) <pasnak&warpedsystems,sk,ca> on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:40PM (#29151669) Homepage Journal

      The ability to jump to a specific message has been there for a decade, no one took advantage of it (in fact, most disabled it). All they did was create specific calls that navigated the crazy tree for you. Crawl around in a Meridian for a while...

      And voice to text has been in almost all carrier grade switches for at least 3 years. Most charge for it, Google didn't.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Enderandrew (866215)

      Not to mention making text-messaging free directly takes away something AT&T currently bills me for.

      In all fairness, it should be noted that for years Qwest offered a unified phone service to an extent. You told people to call you on your home phone number, and if you didn't answer, it would auto-roll over to your Qwest cell phone. In theory, you should only end up with voice mails on your cell phone number. But Qwest doesn't even offer their own cell phone service anymore, so who knows if they still of

    • Re:No. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bastion_xx (233612) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:09PM (#29151933)
      Visual voicemail is nice, but not a game changer. International long distance rates are a game changer though.

      There are *no* mobile carriers that offer competative LD rates. Want to call Bermuda on AT&T? If you have World Connect ($3.99/mo) it's 0.19/min. Googe Voice: 0.09/min. If you don't have World Connect, you're looking at 1.49/min.

      I've cut my international costs by over 50%. The only bitch is having to top off Google Voice in $10 increments with a $30 cap.

      GV starts to change the way mobile devices are used. I don't care what Apple, AT&T or Google say, I'm convinced the reason is for AT&T to keep control and revenue, and for Apple to keep tabs on the interface.

      I like this FCC we have.
    • Re:No. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Enry (630) <.enry. .at. .wayga.net.> on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:15PM (#29151979) Journal

      AT&T killed google voice because the "Killer App" that the iPhone has (visual voicemail) is completely, totally, and utterly DESTROYED by it.

      If you haven't used google voice, let me explain. Somebody leaves you a voicemail on your GV number. Google does voice recognition on it, and sends you an email of the text. In the email is a little widget that allows you to play the audio.

      [...]

      The voice recognition of GV is about as good as the handwriting recognition of the original Newton.

      Here's what my brother actually said:

      Hello, Happy Birthday my brother.

      What GV said he said:

      Hello, The bird say my brought their.

      Fortunately, the audio was available, so I was able to easily hear what he said, but the other GV transcript I got from my wife wasn't much better (the drugstore CVS got turned into "we're going to see me yes").

      Google Voice is nice, and I like using it, but don't think it's a miracle app.

    • by dfghjk (711126)

      "Apparently, the visual voice mail was a HUGELY expensive undertaking for AT&T."

      What makes this apparent to you?

  • AT&T denies it (Score:5, Informative)

    by davebarnes (158106) on Friday August 21, 2009 @05:58PM (#29151311) Homepage

    AT&T told the FCC that they did not have it killed.
    http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/08/21/att-to-fcc-we-did-not-block-the-google-voice-app-on-the-iphone/ [techcrunch.com]

    • Not a denial (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:03PM (#29151355)

      That statement only says that ATT was not involved directly in the Google Voice decision.

      It does not say whether or not ATT had previously bound Apple contractually to reject all apps of this type..

    • by DannyO152 (544940) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:06PM (#29151373)

      And Apple said today it isn't killed, but still under review because it interferes with the iPhone interface. Here [apple.com] is their rationalization for their actions in what they claim is their response to the FCC.

      My thanks to daringfireball and John Gruber for bringing this letter to my attention.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lars T. (470328)
        And you needed daringfireball because Apple hid the link to it on the fucking main page.
        • by dangitman (862676)

          And you needed daringfireball because Apple hid the link to it on the fucking main page.

          Riiiiight. Because anyone who uses Apple products has apple.com as their homepage, and incessantly checks it for news? As somebody who would be considered what the kids call an Apple "fanboy" I only ever visit the Apple domain when I want to purchase something, or I need to consult the support forums, or perhaps watch a movie trailer occasionally.

      • by jpmorgan (517966) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:22PM (#29151525) Homepage
        So it sort of went like this:

        FCC: Why was Google Voice was rejected from the app store?
        Apple: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that Google Voice here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.
  • People still read the WSJ? Ever since Fox bought it, the slow decline of the quality and bizarre right wing biases introduced into the articles and editorials began driving me away. It hasn't been readable as a news source for at least a year now.

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:09PM (#29151415)

      This particular article was pretty good though. Thorough and generally well thought out, it also had that kind of shocked anger of someone who only just realized that they are being taken advantage of. I wouldn't be surprised if the author had started out writing a 'tell both sides of the story' kind of article, only to become more informed on the actual situation over the course of his research.

      All that being said, I do take issue with one thing...

      Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and others all joined AT&T in bidding huge amounts for wireless spectrum in FCC auctions, some $70-plus billion since the mid-1990s. That all gets passed along to you and me in the form of higher fees and friendly oligopolies that don't much compete on price.

      That is not how business works. If a certain behavior on their part can maximize revenues, they will implement it regardless of what the upfront costs were. If they had paid $10 for the spectrum, they would still charge high fees because that is what the market is willing to bear and that is what they feel with maximize their revenues and with that their profits. You can argue that the cost of spectrum raises the cost of entry into the market, but I don't see that as what the author is going for here.

      • by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:35PM (#29151623)
        End phone exclusivity. Any device should work on any network. Data flows freely.
        In general a good idea, but I'm not quite sure how you get Qualcom CDMA phones to work on a GSM network.

        Transition away from "owning" airwaves. As we've seen with license-free bandwidth via Wi-Fi networking, we can share the airwaves without interfering with each other. Let new carriers emerge based on quality of service rather than spectrum owned. Cellphone coverage from huge cell towers will naturally migrate seamlessly into offices and even homes via Wi-Fi networking. No more dropped calls in the bathroom.
        I've had WiFi-enabled phones connection over Verizon FIOS. They were unusable in WiFi mode, dropping calls and connections like crazy. Generally, phone would ring, you would answer, there would be nobody there. Of course, Verizon also cells cellular service and digital phone over FIOS, so they have a vested interest in VoIP not working, don't they?

        End municipal exclusivity deals for cable companies. TV channels are like voice pipes, part of an era that is about to pass. A little competition for cable will help the transition to paying for shows instead of overpaying for little-watched networks. Competition brings de facto network neutrality and open access (if you don't like one service blocking apps, use another), thus one less set of artificial rules to be gamed.
        While we're at it, why not end exclusivity deals for power companies as well! Oh wait... maintaining a cable plant is expensive. So expensive that broadband wireless is probably cheaper. Plus, people object to having their street dug up 10 times in a row by different companies, and even with just Verizon and Comcast they have a nasty habit of "accidentally" cutting each other's wires.

        Encourage faster and faster data connections to our homes and phones. It should more than double every two years. To homes, five megabits today should be 10 megabits in 2011, 25 megabits in 2013 and 100 megabits in 2017. These data-connection speeds are technically doable today, with obsolete voice and video policy holding it back.
        Once you've got a fiber network in place, then it is just a question of replacing the transmitters and receivers, so this is actually doable. Communication companies are reluctant to throw away working equipment, so unless they have competition driving it, they are not going to bother. Wireless bandwidth is not going to double every couple years, in fact, it is going to get worse! The more people using wireless, the less bandwidth available for each customer.

        Unasked question: Why is it considered normal and acceptable in the US to pay over $100/month for communication, when most people in the world get better service for a tenth the cost?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by s73v3r (963317)

          "While we're at it, why not end exclusivity deals for power companies as well! Oh wait... maintaining a cable plant is expensive. So expensive that broadband wireless is probably cheaper. Plus, people object to having their street dug up 10 times in a row by different companies, and even with just Verizon and Comcast they have a nasty habit of "accidentally" cutting each other's wires."

          The best answer would be to have the local municipality be the one installing and owning the lines, and then leasing out t

  • by Morgon (27979) <jmy&morgontech,com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @05:59PM (#29151321) Homepage

    While this is a small part of the overall features mentioned in the article, the one thing that doesn't make sense is the 'free texting' portion - the SMS still has to be sent to your phone by your carrier, so how would it be any less expensive than normal?

    • by timmarhy (659436) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:05PM (#29151371)
      but it's not expensive to send a text, so lets drop the term expensive from this conversaion completely. and lets not call it free either, because you are ALREADY paying your carrier for access to thier network, and part of that deal means people can contact you on your phone with them. exactly what right do they have to impede that because it's a competing application/carrier? i would have thought this would fall under anti competitive laws.
      • by s73v3r (963317)
        It is very expensive once you think about what you're actually paying for and how much it actually costs them to do it.
    • I use a ultra low cost mobile carrier, paying $6.66 per month for 66 minutes. Texts are $.10 each so I have that disabled. When I got google voice i can now send and receive texts for $.00 but only from my computer. (or from my cellphone in web mode which costs $5/month or $1.50/day)

      It's pretty useful. Lots of my friends use texting a lot and now I can participate in a limited way.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by SDF-7 (556604)

        paying $6.66 per month for 66 minutes

        Dare we ask if the contract had to be signed in blood and dealt with your immortal soul?

  • Full List (Score:5, Informative)

    by TejWC (758299) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:01PM (#29151337)

    Here is a full list for the lazy:

    • A single Google number for all user's phones.
    • Free calls and SMS in the contiguous US and Canada.
    • Calling International phone numbers for as low as 0.01 USD per minute.
    • Call screening. Announce callers based on their number or by an automated identification request for blocked numbers.
    • Listen in on someone recording a voicemail before taking a call.
    • Block calls.
    • Send, receive, and store SMS online.
    • Answer an incoming call on any of your phones.
    • Phone routing. Choose which phones should ring based on who calls.
    • Forwarding phones.
    • Voicemail transcripts. Read voicemails online.
    • Listen to voicemail online or from a phone.
    • Receive notifications of voicemails via email or SMS.
    • Personalized greeting that vary greetings by caller.
    • The ability to forward or download voicemails.
    • Conference calling.
    • Record calls and store them online.
    • Switch phones during a call.
    • View the web inbox from a mobile device/phone.
    • Set preferences for contacts by group.
    • Ability to change your number for a fee.
    • Re:Full List (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstep (1583577) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:06PM (#29151385)
      Basically everything you ever wanted that everyone else has failed to provide at a reasonable cost...FOR FREE!
      • by nametaken (610866)

        Nothing is free. Not even Google search. Where's the cost?

    • I just downloaded GV Mobile with Cydia. Looks good to me so far.
      http://lifehacker.com/5324596/gv-mobile-available-for-free-on-cydia [lifehacker.com]

    • Ability to change your number for a fee.

      I just checked, Google Voice has a $10 fee to change your phone number. That's very inexpensive, but certainly not free.

  • by Ignis Fatuusz (1084045) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:03PM (#29151347)
    http://www.apple.com/hotnews/apple-answers-fcc-questions/ [apple.com] An unusual move for Apple, but apparently pretty straighforward.
    • by copponex (13876) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:17PM (#29151475) Homepage

      Yes, Comrade!

      Whenever I receive a communique from their headquarters, I know I can trust it fully without hesitation or rational thought process. This is the beauty of being inside the One, True Market, where no company has ever lied about their activities before.

      Seriously though, if Microsoft released a similar statement, your bullshit detector would have exploded. I don't trust any PR from anyone. Do you think they don't have closed door conversations about destroying competition on an hourly basis? Do you think they're dumb enough to have them on the record?

      • Do you think they don't have closed door conversations about destroying competition on an hourly basis?

        Nope. I don't think they do. Those meetings take at LEAST an hour each to begin with. Since it'd only be the big guys having those meetings, you have to throw in the mandatory 2 and a half hour lunch, and 3 times a day scolding of the employee's directly beneath them. Oh! Don't forget the 5 random peons they have to have fired just to make it look like they do something.

        With all that, I bet they barely get in 2 of those meetings in their 10am - 3pm shift.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:03PM (#29151353)
    AT&T denies [nytimes.com] any role in rejecting the google voice application. Apple, also denies [nytimes.com] rejecting the application, but claims it is still studying it.

    This is sort of interesting to watch, whose business relationship is decaying faster, Apple and Google's or Apple and AT&T's? (Or Microsoft's and Dell or MS and HP, but that's a different thread.)
  • Hm. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) * <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:05PM (#29151369) Homepage Journal

    FTA: What this episode really uncovers is that AT&T is dying

    Awaiting confirmation from Netcraft.

    .
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:06PM (#29151377) Homepage

    Aside from visual voicemail, the article talks about pretty much everything everyone here already discussed at length in previous stories on this topic. The "good thing" about this article's appearance is that it sheds light on the topic in a forum that many non-geeks will likely see. I'm sure I'm in good company when I say that these issues need to be brought to the attention of the general populace.

    Does AT&T advertise with the WSJ? Will they continue to do so after this article? ;) Who knows.

  • All three reports (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:08PM (#29151401)
    Engadget has the filings from all three of the involved companies. [engadget.com]

    I love how the speculation gets posted here when the official statements from all three companies are readily available. The only major redaction is Google's side of the story on why GV and other apps were rejected.
  • I really, really hope that both Apple and AT&T get fucked for this behavior. Blatant trust behavior like this cannot be allowed.

  • From the article:

    Earlier this month, Apple rejected an application for the iPhone called Google Voice. The uproar set off a chain of eventsâ"Google's CEO Eric Schmidt resigning from Apple's board

    I'm confused. I thought this [guardian.co.uk] was over a "conflict of interest."

    It seems to me that you cannot make the implication that Apple rejecting an Google Voice set off the resignation of Eric Schmidt. More like, Google Voice exists and now that Google is directly competing with Apple, there is a conflict of interest forcing Eric Schmidt to resign from one or the other.

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:17PM (#29151481)

    The first part of it discusses the existence of the rumors, doesn't mention the outright denial, mentions a few features of Google Voice (all of which work with the iPhone without any special app), states someting untrue about Apple and iTunes (says it works "exclusively with iPhones and iPods", which is kind of odd because it also works with computers, both Windows and Mac OS) in a way that it doesn't tie to the Google Voice decision, and tosses out some things about AT&T that it likewise doesn't tie to the Google Voice decision at all.

    After that, it goes on to make a generalized attack on the FCC without pointing to any concrete examples, and move on to posting a vague wish list of things that a "national data policy" should focus on, with nothing about how to actually do most of it.

    Its also, one might note, an opinion piece (not a news article), on technology-related policy from "a former hedge-fund manager".

  • until they sold wireless, and then left partnership with Sprint, Qwest (fka US West) had a patent for One-Number Service. either your home or office number would ring through to the cell phone if that was on, and to the wireline service when it wasn't.

    I suspect the patent can be licensed at this point, since it's no longer in use.

  • >>With Google Voice, you have one Google phone number that callers use to reach you, and you pick up whichever phone--office, home or cellular--rings. You can screen calls, listen in before answering, record calls, read transcripts of your voicemails, and do free conference calls. Domestic calls and texting are free, and international calls to Europe are two cents a minute. In other words, a unified voice system, something a real phone company should have offered years ago.'>>

    Funny thing - Skype

  • by supun (613105) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:33PM (#29151613)

    I forward my AT&T land line number to my Google Voice number in order to block the constant AT&T telemarketers that call me.

  • I'm really glad to see that AT&T is embracing technology and digital freedom. It reminds me of when the RIAA was introduced to MP3s and P2P networking. I'm sure that the AT&T execs are busy soiling themselves over VOIP rather than finding ways to embrace the technology and provide new services.
  • by fermion (181285) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:46PM (#29151733) Homepage Journal
    As the WSJ well knows, a firm is not going to give away a product unless there is an additional revenue stream or some other advantage to compensate for it. Google, like MS, can effectively give away product because there is a profit benefit to being in a oligopoly with only minor competition. As long as google can be a primary service is a business that apparently has a significant capitol cost but relatively small marginal costs, then it makes sense for google to build brand loyalty by giving away freebies. The key thing to keep a large base to pay those fixed costs and generate a profit through advertising.

    OTOH ATT has to relies on direct payment from customers for real services. It has to provide a level of service to keep customers, a level of service that likely has high marginal costs. So the article states the bleeding obvious. Of course ATT does not like google voice anymore than it liked the competition for cheap long distance or the ability of cell phone users to make intrastate calls at a fraction of the cost of a land line.

    What makes no sense is suggesting that an incumbent would provide such a profit destroying service. It would be like saying the WSJ should set up a competing site that all the features of the premium site but at no charge.

  • As far as I understand, you can still use google voice with the iphone and AT&T the same way you would if you had a lesser featured Razr right? They havent gone as far as banning calls from the google voice service or prevented you from doing DTMF feature selection the way the youtube videos suggest right? I don't have a google voice account (apparently on a waiting list) so I cant check for myself. I've been fairly happy with my iphone aside from this and Its been jailbroken which brings up another poi
  • While some of this (particularly how vauge "core-experience" arguments can be) is a bit unsavory, it seems to be fully within the Terms and Conditions given when the phone is bought and when the AT&T account is opened. My major objection is that the data-plan is not truly unlimited, in that AT&T should more readily disclose the VOIP exclusion (or find a way to debit minutes for VOIP calls) and the limitations on video over 3G (either Apple or AT&T). Weather or not this is acceptable is up to the
  • So uhh, if I have a jailbroken iPhone, can I get this app somehow? Because I'd really, really love to stick it to Apple on this one :p

  • You're mistaken... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by okmijnuhb (575581) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:30PM (#29152085)
    The phone companies do not want to empower you.
    They want to enslave you.

    They want to:
    overcharge you for text messaging,
    use up your minutes (and waste your personal time) with unnecessarily long outgoing messages,
    charge you hidden exorbitant roaming charges,
    force you to choose a "plan" in hopes that you will err in their favor, rather than switch plans automatically on a monthly basis
    give you insufficient notification when your "special promo plan" expires, causing you to rack up $350 in a month, where you used to pay $80 for the same volume of calls, etc etc etc

    I find ATT to be one of the most vile corporations in terms of customer service, always looking for a way to cheat, swindle, and bamboozle their users.
  • by centauratlas (760571) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:11PM (#29152331)

    I haven't seen it discussed, but transcription is one of the most important features to Google and it is a large reason why they are willing to offer Google Voice for free. Why you ask? Training. Google voice's free transcription is a huge voice to text training database.

    I have been using it since before it was Google Voice (e.g. grandcentral) and this was an important reason for Google to acquire it.

    Google gets a LOT of value from every voice mail that comes in, is transcribed, and then is rated by users as to how useful it is.

    Yes, it is good already, but not nearly perfect and they are working on it for one reason - voice search. And voice search is an up-coming Google killer-app that Bing/MSFT and Yahoo have no answer to.

    (Neither does Apple, yet.)

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