Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, August 20, 2009 8:09 pm

Way too cool for AT&T

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 8:09 pm
Tags: , ,

I haven’t even had a cell phone that takes pictures for very long. I don’t have a Blackberry, let alone an iPhone, so to a certain extent all this is happening way over my head, practically speaking. But I get the ramifications:

Earlier this month, Apple rejected an application for the iPhone called Google Voice. The uproar set off a chain of events—Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt resigning from Apple’s board, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigating wireless open access and handset exclusivity—that may finally end the 135-year-old Alexander Graham Bell era. It’s about time.

With Google Voice, you have one Google phone number that callers use to reach you, and you pick up whichever phone—office, home or cellular—rings. You can screen calls, listen in before answering, record calls, read transcripts of your voicemails, and do free conference calls. Domestic calls and texting are free, and international calls to Europe are two cents a minute. In other words, a unified voice system, something a real phone company should have offered years ago.

Apple has an exclusive deal with AT&T in the U.S., stirring up rumors that AT&T was the one behind Apple rejecting Google Voice. How could AT&T not object? AT&T clings to the old business of charging for voice calls in minutes. It takes not much more than 10 kilobits per second of data to handle voice. In a world of megabit per-second connections, that’s nothing—hence Google’s proposal to offer voice calls for no cost and heap on features galore.

What this episode really uncovers is that AT&T is dying. AT&T is dragging down the rest of us by overcharging us for voice calls and stifling innovation in a mobile data market critical to the U.S. economy.

Bad enough that AT&T didn’t come up with this on its own, it had to keep anyone else from using it, too. Say what you will about the dinosaurotude of newspapers, at least newspapers didn’t t try to keep the Internet out of your house. (In fact, the N&R’s parent company was one of the first ISPs in this area, although it later got out of the retail ISP business in favor of more big-ticket enterprises.)

(h/t: Fec)


  1. I don’t have an iPhone or Blackberry, either. The Wife got a Storm from Verizon, but is having buyer’s remorse.

    Comment by Fec — Thursday, August 20, 2009 9:05 pm @ 9:05 pm

  2. Stonewalling new technologies helped the RIAA so much . . . hanging onto a moribund business model delights your customers, too, of course. Google Voice is pretty cool, btw. Not sure I want Google to have that much of my personal information, is all.

    Look for Apple to partner with Verizon eventually . . . I can’t wait, because I’ll dump this AT&T service so fast.

    Comment by divageek — Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:26 pm @ 10:26 pm

  3. Since the Alltel takeover became official a month ago, I am now a Verizon customer. If I ever get more money than I know what to do with, I’ll probably break down and buy an iPhone. But I don’t see that day coming this week.

    Comment by Lex — Friday, August 21, 2009 10:16 am @ 10:16 am

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