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Thoughts about the App Store/FCC/Google/ATT thing

Last week Apple rejected the GoogleVoice app.

This created a huge negative response from users.

And now the FCC is looking into it.

Folks are cheering on the FCC with this investigation.

I’m often guilty as charged for my liberal and progressive tendancies. But I’m not really into government intervention on these types of matters (the tech industry).

Even in the late 90’s, when Microsoft was feared and dominant, I wasn’t supportive of the DOJ efforts to break Microsoft apart or force them to decouple the browser from Windows. I (rightly or naively) believed that tech innovation moves faster than the government could predict. Today, Microsoft is a very different company and not because of regulatory oversight. Innovation won out. Apple is thriving and Microsoft has stronger competition than ever before at the OS, browser, server and app levels.

The wireless industry is a different matter though. Its not possible or practical to have the same level of innovation at the physical network level. We essentially have 4 carries in the USA with VZW and ATT as the dominant networks. They often cut exclusive deals with handset manufacturers. The business model is clear: attract subscribers with new subsidized appealing handsets and lock them under 2 year contract. Right now you can only get the iPhone on ATT and you can only get the Palm Pre on Sprint.

And on the iPhone there is only one way to install apps – the iPhone App Store.

So now FCC investigates. Was the Google app rejected because of Apple or ATT or both?

Look, here’s the thing. First, I know Julius Genachowski, the head of the FCC, personally. He’s brilliant and a very good guy.

But I’m not so sure about the government getting involved here.

Ulimately I believe in innovation vs regulation.

Already prominent iPhone developers are blogging about their frustrations with Apple. Steve Frank has had enough & now moving on to the Pre. Marco isnt happy either and makes some great points on his blog too.

And the market keeps moving faster and faster. The Palm Pre is an amazing phone. The new Verizon Tour is so good that I’m noticing a ton of people that carry both the Tour and the iPhone at the same time (i’m thinking about making that move as well.).

A year ago there wasn’t an app store for the iPhone. Hackers jailbreaked the iPhone and showed everyone the opportunity. Shortly after the App Store was born.

I’m guessing that Apple App store is going to open up for all apps soon. But it will happen because users and developers are demanding it not because the government requires it.