Google spills the beans on Apple

September 18, 2009, 4:52 PM UTC
Image: FCC

“Contrary to published reports,” Apple (AAPL) told the FCC back in August in response to a government inquiry about why it rejected Google’s (GOOG) famous voice management app. “Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it.” (link)

What Google had to say about that was unknown because unlike Apple, which made public its response, Google asked that key portions of its letter to the FCC be kept confidential to protect “sensitive commercial conversations” between the two companies.

Now Google has spilled the beans. In a blog post Friday, Google attorney Richard Whitt announced that rather than fight several Freedom of Information Act requests, the company asked the FCC on Thursday to release the unredacted version of its letter.

You can read the full letter on the FCC’s website, but the thrust of the previously undisclosed passages is that Apple’s top marketing executive personally told Google that its app had been rejected. The key section is this one:

“The primary points of contact between the two companies were Alan Eustace, Google Senior Vice President of Engineer & Research, and Phil Schiller, Apple Senior Voice President of Worldwide Product Marketing. On July 7, Mr. Eustace and Mr. Schiller spoke over the phone. It was during this call that Mr. Schiller informed Mr. Eustace that Apple was rejecting the Google Voice application for the reasons described in 2(a).”

[The reason offered in 2(a): “because Apple believed the application duplicated the core dialing functionality of the iPhone.”]

Not only does Google’s version of events flatly contradict Apple’s, but its letter provides names and dates that could presumably be supported by phone records.

For what it’s worth, Google’s letter also supports the version promulgated by TechCrunch‘s Michael Arrington, who, citing sources at Google, had pronounced Apple’s public response “untrue,” “misleading,” and “a total lie.”

In response to a request for comment about the specific passage quoted above, Apple spokesperson Steve Dowling replied instead: “We do not agree with all of the statements made by Google in its letter. Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application.  We continue to discuss it with Google.”

Dowling declined to specify which statements the company does or or doesn’t agree with.

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