Michael Arrignton

What AT&T's bombshell means for Apple

October 7, 2009: 8:22 AM ET
Skype on the iPhone. Photo: iTunes

Skype on the iPhone. Photo: iTunes

AT&T's (T) surprise decision Tuesday to reverse course and permit low-cost Internet calls over its cellular network is good news for iPhone owners, but it leaves Apple (AAPL) with some explaining to do.

Apple was quick to welcome AT&T's change of heart. "We are very happy that AT&T is now supporting VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol] applications," said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris. She promised that the company would get updated versions of Internet-calling apps -- such as those made by Vonage (VG) and eBay's (EBAY) Skype -- up on the iPhone App Store soon as possible.

But Apple had nothing new to say about Google (GOOG) Voice, the high-profile telephone management application that Apple declined to approve last August -- triggering a government inquiry that revealed that it was Apple, not AT&T, that blocked it.

So why is Apple OK with Skype and Vonage, but not with Google Voice?

Many observers have commented on the inconsistency, but none more bluntly than TechCrunch's Michael Arrington.

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