Questions Surround Apple's Google Voice Stance

 |  Includes: AAPL, GOOG, T
by: Sam Diaz

If this were a schoolyard, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) would be that kid that everyone is pointing to and chanting “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”

Word is spreading fast that Apple did, in fact, reject the Google Voice app for its iPhone earlier this year, even though the company said in a statement filed with the FCC in July that, contrary to media reports, it had not yet officially rejected the app.

Now, we’re learning that that wasn’t necessarily true.

When the FCC launched its investigation, the agency requested statements from all of the parties involved - Apple, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and AT&T (NYSE:T). It was widely speculated that AT&T had a role in calling for the rejection of the Google Voice app but the company said in its statement that it was not involved. When the statements were released publicly, Google’s was largely redacted.

Today, a statement in Google’s letter was made public - at Google’s request. In it, Google said that Apple’s VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, informed Google that the app had been rejected. In the letter (.pdf), Google wrote:

Apple’s representatives informed Google that the Google Voice application was rejected because Apple believed the application duplicated the core dialer functionality of the iPhone. The Apple representative indicated that the company did not want applications that could potentially replace such functionality.

Google said it agreed to make the letter public after many news organizations filed Freedom of Information Act requests for it. In a blog post today, Google said:

While we could have asked the FCC to oppose those requests, in light of Apple’s decision to make its own letter fully public and in the interest of transparency, we decided to drop our request for confidentiality.

Apple hasn’t issued a response yet so, for all we know, there’s a reasonable explanation for the contradiction. Still, getting caught in a lie is never a good thing. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple digs itself out of this one.