Thursday, August 06, 2009

Pogue speaks out on the Apple/AT&T Google Voice ban

Phew. The longer David Pogue remained silent on the Battle of Google Voice, the more I wondered what the heck was going on. He’s criticized Apple in the past, so despite his long history of writing about Apple products longstanding relationship to the company I didn’t expect him to stay quiet.

Today he did speak. He didn’t add anything new, but he did make it clear that Apple/AT&T has few journalist or geek allies in its battle with Google (emphases mine) …

Is Google Voice a Threat to AT&T? – David Pogue - NYTimes.com

… AT&T/Apple's logic doesn't even make sense. If the object is to prevent you from making cheap international calls, then they would also have to block Skype and all the other apps (already available) that let you do so. If it's to prevent you from sending free text messages, then they should also block FreeMMS and other apps that already do that.

It's almost as though AT&T/Apple never really cared while the apps in question stayed where they belonged—under the radar. But once big-shot Google got involved… well, we can't have that, can we?...

... In short, what Apple and AT&T have accomplished with their heavy-handed, Soviet information-control style is not to bury these useful apps. Instead, Apple/AT&T have elevated them to martyr status—and, in effect, thrown down a worldwide challenge to programmers everywhere.

"Get around THIS," they're saying.

But guess what? It won't take long. They've put a rock in the river, but the water will just find a way around it.

Already, Google says it is readying a replacement for the Google Voice app that will offer exactly the same features as the rejected app—except that it will take the form of a specialized, iPhone-shaped Web page. For all intents and purposes, it will behave exactly the same as the app would have; you can even install it as an icon on your Home screen.

What's Apple going to do now? Start blocking access to individual Web sites?...

Google can’t really do everything with the web app that they can do with a native app. There’s no getting around the dang startup and authentication delays with a web app – I’ve been using their current web app and it’s a bit of a pain (though GV Mobile was slow too – but that was fixable).

Otherwise, a pretty good commentary. The geek community is working overtime finding ingenious ways around Apple’s block – and that pressure is only going to grow.

Update: As an owner of several Pogue books on Apple products I assume he has an informal relationship with the company, but as he points out in comments he certainly doesn't have a formal relationship with them. I amended my introductory sentence to clarify that. I do think his words carry some weight with Apple.

2 comments:

pogueNYT said...

Thanks for the comment on my post today! However, you write; "his longstanding relationship to the company"...

Just so you know, I do not have any special relationship with Apple, never have.

Or, rather, I have the same relationship I have with Apple as I have with Microsoft, Google, Tivo, Sony, Panasonic, Canon, etc.... they send me products to review; I test and review them; and then I send them back.

--Pogue

John Gordon said...

Thanks for the clarification. I changed the post to make that clear.

I mean "association with" rather than "relationship to" but my correction is more precise than either.