back to article AT&T savages Google Voice

AT&T has escalated its attacks against Google and Google Voice, accusing the chocolate factory of double standards and demanding it be regulated like any other telco. In a fifteen-page letter (PDF hosted at the Washington Post) Robert Quinn (AT&T VP) lays into the chocolate factory for holding an unregulated monopoly on web …


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  1. Andy 22
    Big Brother

    I sympathise with much of this

    Google can be -- and often are -- just as evil as everyone else. Despite their motto. Just because they've found a slightly different way of doing things, doesn't mean the rules don't apply to them.

    Also, "Not only is that obviously bollocks..." is the best line I've read today.

  2. Gaz Davidson

    Do no harm

    @Andy 22

    I agree, try using their search API in a new and interesting way and you'll find out how their "do no harm" policy doesn't extend to search bots. They aren't as evil as everyone else, but that doesn't mean they're not evil.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "the former is still cool while the latter is..."

    Doesn't matter what their "rep" is. The FCC needs to start treating everyone equally. Net neutrality for all. Google has been hypocritical, and its time they got called on this.

    The issue is not Google vs AT&T vs FCC. The issue is consumers rights vs entities that want to remove them. A free market vs an unfair one. Everyone should have to play by the same rules.

  4. Jeff Flanadoo

    Let 'em sue

    As much as I hate ATT and the big Telco's, they are really shooting themselves in the foot here from a legal perspective. The reason that GV doesn't connect to some numbers is because there is a small subset of local carriers that have ridiculous connect charges, and GV doesn't want to pay them. IANAL but if ATT wants to argue *for* net neutrality, which it has argued against in the past, then go for it. The same arguments that they use to win this case *will* be used against them and other Telco's such as comcast when they decide that they want to filter/throttle their IP traffic based on protocol(ala bittorrent), or even doing less nefarious things, such as DNS redirects to their search page (which a lot of them currently do). So go ahead ATT and sue... it'll be the first time in the history of your company you would actually be doing something that is helping your customer base instead of hurting it.

  5. R 11

    Why the inflammatory language

    It's not Bollocks on the simple grounds that you need to have a telephone service to access Google Voice - they don't provide a phone service. Indeed it's nothing at all like any service provided by any of my phone (fixed, cell or voip) companies.

    This is nothing like net neutrality - ftp data doesn't cost more to transport than http. Calling these rural areas does cost more. Google offers a free service, with free calls. Bizarre rules in the US mean some calls are grossly more expensive than others.

    AT&T are terrified by Google Voice and will do anything to destroy it.

  6. Raz
    Thumb Down


    Is obviously wrong on this one. You want to play, you pay. And they can afford it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    'Obviously bollocks'?

    And how's AT&T the same as Google?

  8. raving angry loony

    Not just Google

    Actually, Ars Technica has an insightful article on the subject, about how it's really an insane and routinely abused regulatory issue that AT&T is getting bit by, and Google is trying to avoid, so AT&T dragged Google into it in order to get the FCC to get off their lazy incompetent arses and FIX the problem.

  9. Keith Doyle

    A workaround for Google

    All Google has to do to fix this is to implement two versions-- a "free" version that won't connect to numbers that cost, and a "non-free" version that passes the costs to the consumer and charges his credit card. Then, when the consumer opts to have the "free" version, it is the consumer deciding not to connect with these numbers, not Google imposing it on them. Certainly, if you develop your own personal phone service via VoIP or something, YOU are not required to implement access for YOURSELF to every "valid" number if you don't want to, so you can decide to restrict yourself to a subset of the available numbers if you want without penalty. So if the consumer opts for the restriction, it's not Google's fault if noone wants to pay to connect to these numbers anyway. I suspect AT&T would find that solution to be worse for them than the problem they have now though, so if they were smart they'd keep their trap shut...

  10. Mike007


    but, google voice is free right? surely all they need to do is offer "free calls to washington DC numbers" only, that's allowed right? ok so now we'll add "free calls to new york city numbers", that's allowed isn't it? just list all the places you can call for free and then offer them all as a combined package - instead of offering a telephone service that blocks certain numbers, they've instead offered a service to call specific places :)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    A title is required

    Never thought I'd agree with anything AT&T came out with, but Google can't have things both ways to suit themselves.

  12. EddieD

    2nd vote for bollocks

    Wonderfully pithy and emotive without being a turdspurt. Well, for British readers, anyway.

    Love it.

    And as for google, they, along with a couple of other technology companies, are pretending to be not evil and cool, and getting away with practices that would have IBM or Microsoft in court/in front of the EC in a flash.

    Ah well, plus ça change and all that.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "Corporations act in their best interests, claim protection of 'little guy'"

    Buncha swinging dongs crying to mommy.

  14. Eduard Coli
    Big Brother

    Pot, kettle, Wha?

    Google is evil, but AT&T, fresh off selling everyone's email and possibly conversations to whichever government pays up is not one to talk.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    i believe google doesnt have a sanctioned monopoly like the origins of AT&T.... yet... google books

  16. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Google is cool?

    What planet does the author live on, Google is seen my most as a monolithic nasty monster... like AT&T.

  18. Mark Weston


    "Absolute bollocks" claim is in fact absolute bollocks.

    The whole point of net neutrality, the reason that people care about it, is the fact that the company that controls my physical access to the net has many potential ways to abuse that control. AT&T controls the infrastructure of the network, Google provides applications on top of it. AT&T can use that control to block any competition that it doesn't like, Google has to beat its competition on a level playing field. AT&T customers can only switch after effort, expense and inconvenience (and in some locations probably have no alternative provider to switch to). Google customers can switch in a second, and they can choose between Google and competitors whenever it suits them.

    Comparisons between the two are specious from start to finish. This whole line of argument is, in fact, bollocks.

  19. Paul Simmonds

    Net neutrality....hmmm......

    Pots, kettles, black, and all full of sour grapes.

    ATnT's nose is out of joint because the big GV isn't letting their users dial via ATnT and GV are not being completely fair to their users and giving them a choice.

    As usual these days no-one is the innocent party.

  20. Edward Lilley


    "stark contrast to Google's position on net neutrality, which says operators should be required to connect to any valid address with equal facility."

    Telephone numbers are not IP addresses; connecting to phone networks is just a random service that Google feels like providing to people. It's not particularly related to how traffic is routed (or not routed) around the rest of the internet.

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