S. Derek Turner for Wired:
Amid a wave of backlash about its plans to block FaceTime over mobile, AT&T Senior Vice President for Regulatory Affairs Bob Quinn took to the company’s policy blog on Wednesday to defend its plans to block the popular app on its network unless users pony up extra cash for its new, expensive “Mobile Share” plans.
AT&T’s defense? The carrier asserts that it can block FaceTime all it wants, because the app comes preloaded on the iPhone and is not downloaded by the user.
This is a dick move by any measure. AT&T is clearly pushing the limits of what regulators will allow, and unfortunately for consumers, it’s likely that regulators will let AT&T do whatever they want.
I wonder whether AT&T has the same policy towards Google Hangouts or Skype? Google Hangouts is definitely preloaded on Android devices and I believe Skype will be preloaded on Windows 8 phones. If they don’t have the same policy towards these apps, AT&T appears to be anti-consumer and anti-Apple.
If I were Apple, I’d remove FaceTime from iOS 6 and prompt people to download it from the App Store upon startup. Of course, even if Apple did that, it wouldn’t take AT&T very long to come up with some other nonsense reason for ripping people off.