Posted by Anthony Zumpano on October 12, 2009 06:40 PM
Though it’s arguably taking over the world, even Google isn’t big enough to ignore the Federal Communications Commission, which is demanding more info about the intricacies of Google Voice.
Google claims the service is merely in the call-management business – e-mailing and transcribing voicemails, for instance – but AT&T charges that Google Voice, by blocking some calls to rural areas, violates phone service-provider laws, thereby making it subject to FCC regulation.
Google counsel Richard Whitt blogged that AT&T is “using regulation to block or slow down innovation” – guess which company Whitt thinks is the innovative one – and says the real issue is about “outdated carrier compensation rules that are fundamentally broken and in need of repair by the FCC.”
BusinessWeek’s Stephen Wildstrom (sort of) agrees:
In a sense, AT&T and Google are both victims of a ridiculous anachronism, as is the FCC, which must enforce it. They should all be working together to bring telecom regulation into the 21st century.
When a brand expands its reach from one sector to another, whether it’s a search-engine provider entering the telecommunications field or Apple’s iTunes digital media player becoming the top music retailer in the US, it has to be aware that regulatory agencies will be interested in determining whether the new service is fish or fowl, and also that the new brand will likely make some enemies in its new territory.
Which makes one look forward to the regulatory and competitive brand battles sure to take place once those flying cars get off the ground.