Yesterday, AT&T announced that iPhone users could finally make VoIP calls over their 3G network, not just over WiFi. I can call my friends using my Skype app – and it will only cost me airtime! Or better yet, I can call my friends abroad and pay Skype’s long distance fees (MUCH cheaper!) vs. AT&T’s fees. Love it. Really, it’s all about me. But wait, this story turns out to be bigger than me.
At the heart of it – it’s really about Apple vs Google. In July, we all remember the big controversy surrounding Apple "rejecting" the Google voice app from the iTunes store. Apple said, "The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone’s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail." And then in August Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigns from the Apple Board. Hhmmmm… Let’s face it, this is war.
Yesterday Verizon announced that they are teaming up with Google to bring a bunch of Android based devices to the #1 carrier in the country. Plus Google is already working with T-Mobile and Sprint. Rut rho for AT&T and Apple. As of now, Apple has one device on one network in the US – and Google is working with the other 3 major carriers. Can Apple really compete against Google? So was AT&T’s announcement yesterday that they reversed their policy and will allow VoIP over the 3G network just a stab in the back to Google? Sure seems to be. Look, I love Apple. I have 3 Macs at home, 4 iPods, and even my kids have an iPod Touch so they can play games and be like Mommy & Daddy. But I can’t stand the reception I get on my AT&T iPhone. I’d love to switch to Verizon, but I can’t stand their hand-sets. I’m hoping the iPhone will go to other carriers. But I have a feeling that Google may not let that happen…..