Friday, August 14, 2009

Apple Inc. are a bunch of anti-competitive hypocrits.

AT&T, Apple don't want the competition from Google

There has been a lot of controversy lately with Apple, Google and AT&T.  Here's what went down a few weeks ago:

Google had submitted an application to the iTunes store for their 'Google Voice' service, which essentially allows you to better manage the way people communicate with you.  Basically what it does for you is it acts as a centralized service that forwards calls depending on who the person is that's calling you.  Say for instance you have a land line, cell phone, and a work phone; you can assign groups within Google Voice to screen these people, and forward the calls to one or all of your lines.

Example #1: Say your co-worker calls your Google phone number, you can tell Google to forward that call ONLY to your work phone.

Example #2: If your friend calls you, you can have Google Voice ring both your home phone, and your cell phone at the same time.

The idea is really neat.  On top of being a call forwarding service, it allows you to send out SMS messages at no cost, as well as listen to your voicemail online.  The other cool feature of Google Voice is it can automatically transcribe out voicemails left for you and email/text you the message.  The speech to text conversion isn't perfect, but it works well enough for you to tell what the message is.

If you'd like more information about Google Voice check out their 'About' page.

In any event, Apple claimed the Google Voice application was denied because it duplicates what the iPhone can already do.  The application rejection has caused major backlash against Apple because of the application process.  Not only was the official Google Voice application revoked, but every other 3rd party application using Google voice was pulled as well.

AT&T made a statement claiming they had nothing to do with the rejection of the Google Voice application.  I personally find this hard to believe because AT&T in the past has forced Apple and developers of certain applications not to allow access through the AT&T network.  Skype is a perfect example.  Skype only works via wifi.  SlingPlayer is another application that AT&T demanded not to work over their network; like Skype, SlingPlayer is restricted to use via wifi only.

This isn't the first time legitimate applications have been rejected.  Nobody but Apple understands the application approval process.  Earlier this year, Google had another application, Google Latitude rejected as well.  This application essentially allowed you to share your current location with your friends using the phones GPS.  This also enabled your friends to do the same, even if they had a different phone.  Nobody quite understands Apple's reasoning for denying this application, but the approval process has reached a point where it's becoming blatantly anti-competitive.

Now here's why Apple is hypocritical:

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs pleaded with the major music labels and the RIAA to abolish DRM that's included with their music.  He argued that ultimately that the music industry needed to be more "open" (DRM free).  And now just a year and a half later, Apple is doing the opposite themselves.  They're controlling every aspect of iTunes. They restrict direct syncing with other devices other then Apple products, forcing other companies to have to develop plug-ins that allow their devices to sync with Apple's software.

Why have a restriction like this?  Why not open iTunes up so that any device can sync through it?  I would expect if anything, that it would increase revenues for Apple.  As the process of purchasing music is so simple, I would think  people would be inclined to purchase music through the iTunes store.  Apple currently has the largest selection of music to offer for sale.  I can't imagine it would impact the sales of iPods that much.