Already having raised the ire of some developers and customers, the decision to disallow the Google Voice application on Apple's App Store has also attracted the attention of the FCC.
According to a Dow Jones Newswire report, on Friday afternoon the FCC sent letters to Apple, AT&T, and Google. The federal inquiry asks Apple why the Google Voice application was rejected from its App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and why it removed third-party applications built on the Google app that had been previously approved. The federal commission also asks whether AT&T was allowed to weigh in on the application before it was rejected, and seeks a description of the application from its creator, Google, according to the report. There have been no complaints filed with the FCC about Apple's rejection of Google Voice, so it's not a formal investigation.
Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.
Google Voice is a free application that lets users assign a single number to ring their home, work, and cell phones, and also get voice mail as text transcriptions. Google Voice has been described by some as an "end run" around wireless carriers because it allows for free texts and cheap international calling, but users do still use minutes on their AT&T phone plan.
The letters are apparently part of a broader look at exclusivity contracts between phone manufacturers and wireless carriers. AT&T, for example, is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S.
Following the announcement by Google that its application was rejected by Apple earlier this week, some developers, customers, and even a prominent blogger said Apple's decision would cause them to stop using their iPhones, or stop developing for the platform.