AT&T Claims Sling Made Changes To Get On The iPhone; Sling Has No Clue What AT&T Is Talking About

from the say-what-now? dept

We noted in the past how odd it was that AT&T blocked something like the place-shifting Sling Player from the iPhone, but allowed place-shifting streaming TV apps from partners like MLB.com. So it was worth highlighting that, recently, AT&T changed its mind and began allowing Sling, though in the announcement, it claimed that Sling worked with AT&T to make changes to the app to make it okay. Apparently, no one ran that bit of PR by Sling, who quickly spoke up to say it simply wasn't true:
"We didn't change anything... AT&T never discussed any specific requirements with us."
Perhaps what actually "changed" was the fact that the FCC has become interested in AT&T blocking apps in anti-competitive ways... Funny that AT&T didn't mention that part.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2010 @ 6:57pm

    So?

    We noted in the past how odd it was that AT&T blocked something like the place-shifting Sling Player from the iPhone, but allowed place-shifting streaming TV apps from partners like MLB.com.

    So, what's wrong with that? Remember, we don't need no stinkin' neutrality rules.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 9:16pm

    Re: So?

    Nothing wrong with it. Just want to hear them admit it when they're doing it instead of playing all these PR games and doublespeak. It's fine if they want to do it, but don't insult our intelligence and lie about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    taoareyou (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 9:45pm

    My Opinion

    If Apple and ATT want to limit who can make apps for their product, so be it. It is only anti-competitive if they take measures to prevent those app makers from releasing their competitive products on other competing phones.

    Nobody has a "right" to have their app published by Apple for use on Apple's hardware. If they choose not to accept an app, the developers can take their program to the Google phone, or develop their own platform and market against the iPhone.

    If Apple and ATT want to give their partners preferential treatment, that should be their choice. They are not the only game in town.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2010 @ 9:58pm

    Re: My Opinion

    If Apple and ATT want to give their partners preferential treatment, that should be their choice.

    Hmm, so if AT&T were to partner with (or buy a stake in), say, Pizza Hut, it should then be OK for them to deny phone service to competing shops, huh?

     

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  5.  
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    pwb, Feb 8th, 2010 @ 10:23pm

    The release does not suggest that Sling changed anything at AT&T's request. It specifically says that the "original" app was efficient. Lame PR but yours and Sling's interpretation of it is off.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 12:20am

    Re: My Opinion

    If Apple and ATT want to give their partners preferential treatment, that should be their choice. They are not the only game in town.

    Ah, but don't forget that AT&T got some money or some exclusive rights from the government somewhere in the past. This should obligate them forever and for always to allow anyone else to do anything they want on the AT&T network, as well as for any employee of a competitor to come into an AT&T facility at any time to use the bathroom or check their email. Write your Congressperson!

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 2:04am

    Seems that Ralph De La Vega was aware of accommodations that senior engineers at Sling proposed, and engaged people like Pietropola to build-out the network necessary. Yet senior management at Sling wasn't in the know yet.

    As a result, I recommend you look at Mr. Wonderful. He really is cool.

     

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  8.  
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    taoareyou (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 4:13am

    Re: Re: My Opinion

    If they want to offer the Pizza Hut app, but not allow apps from other Pizza companies, that should be their choice. It's their hardware. They should not be obligated to allow companies that compete with their services use their platform to advertise their business.

    If you owned a pizza store, would you allow the competing pizza stores to come put up signs in your pizza store's window? Would it be appropriate for the government to tell you that you MUST let them put signs in your windows?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    :), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 5:08am

    Re: Re: Re: My Opinion

    I disagree.

    AT&T have all the right in the world to not let apps onto their own store, but they have no right to ban an app from their network and yes I know they build it and all that BS.

    The truth though is that network is sitting on public property and should not be closed because it creates exactly this kind of problem were their own interests is not in synchrony with the market health.

    Wait and see what happens without regulation, after the likes of AT&T start buying/merging/joining all entertainment companies and see the mess it will be after they start fighting, and sky-rocketing prices start to trick down to costumers who are really the ones who pay for it.

    The thing that comes to mind is the guy not permitting other people to put anything on the streets because it harms them.

    Like apple should not be allowed and it is not allowed to stop other from making hardware compatible to apple's hardware.

    Or we want to go back to the time AT&T owned the phones insides our homes?

    Those were not good times.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Luci, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 7:09am

    Re: My Opinion

    No one said otherwise. What is being suggested is that they are lying about their reasons for allowing Sling in, since Sling has made no changes to their app. Thus, your little rant is outside the confines of the discussion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Luci, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 7:15am

    Re:

    This is because the release on that link has since been modified, but you can still find the original quote on several other sites if you know how to look.

    Quote:
    “Key for us is Sling Media was willing to work with us to revise the app to make it more bandwidth-sensitive . They made important changes to more efficiently use 3G network bandwidth and conserve wireless spectrum so that we were able to support the app on our 3G mobile broadband network,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets.

    Truth:
    Sling Media made no changes to their app, and are confused as to why he would even say such a thing.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Michael, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: My Opinion

    This is not a problem if there is true competition. AT&T has a monopoly in the areas they offer phone service. If they did not, allowing them to do this kind of thing is fine because their customers would move to a carrier that saw the value in offering an open phone system that could call anyone.

    The problem is not that we need to create laws for neutrality. We need to make sure the market supports competition on a level that would allow the market to sort this stuff out.

    Real competition will result in "enough" neutrality to make consumers happy - which is the correct amount of neutrality.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    someone who actually knows what he's talking about, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 9:16am

    pwb is right, mike is wrong.

    ars got the update directly from sling themselves which debunks this whole childish he-said-we-did-but-we-didn't.

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/02/sling-we-didnt-work-with- att-for-3g-streaming-to-iphone.ars

    over the course of at&t and slings work, sling was making general improvements to their platform which applied to all implementations... including at&t's 3g.

    unless at&t was able to look at closed source code rather than just testing libraries, there's no way at&t would know whether the changes were for at&t alone or everyone using sling's platform.

    in tomorrow's news, "Sling Media General Manager Skullfucks Blogosphere!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    taoareyou (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: My Opinion

    Imagine if I own a bowling alley. I tell people they can only wear shoes rented from me. I tell people they can only use bowling balls from my alley. I tell people that they have roll the balls down the lane while wearing the shoes they rented from me.

    My restrictions are my business decisions. Maybe people want to bring their own shoes or their own bowling ball. What should they do? Go to another alley.

    What should they not do? Demand that the government require that I allow them to bring whatever equipment they want into my alley. Demand that they use that equipment however they want to in my alley, despite agreeing to abide by my rules when they came in.

    While the government is at it, the neighboring alley demands that I put up advertisements in my alley and let them leave stacks of coupons on all the counters. It's not fair competitions otherwise. So now people use your alley however they want, wearing whatever shoes the want, rolling the balls all over the place.

    Then people complain that my alley is too chaotic, they complain about the crappy shoes some guy over in the corner is renting out (not my shoes of course), and the quality of the lanes that are being abused. Luckily there are ads all over my alley for the guy across the street.

    The government should not be making business decisions involving how I manage my alley. If I manage it poorly, or don't provide the services or freedoms they want, they do have the right to not use my alley.

    Verizon and ATT are Nationwide. Most cities also have U.S. Cellular, Sprint, T-Mobile. Beyond that, there are more regional companies which provide even further choices.

    When it comes to government involvement, be careful what you wish for. You may own a business one day, and the competition across the street may walk up with a court order for you to give him advertising space in your establishment.

     

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  15.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 10:18am

    Re: pwb is right, mike is wrong.

    Ah, it's stunning the lengths you will go to to misread things in a weak effort to make me look wrong.

    ars got the update directly from sling themselves which debunks this whole childish he-said-we-did-but-we-didn't.


    Um, Ars was the one who made the original report that this was based on.

    over the course of at&t and slings work, sling was making general improvements to their platform which applied to all implementations... including at&t's 3g.

    Of course they were making general improvements. Who suggested otherwise? Not us. But what the quote was questioning was AT&T's claim that Sling made changes directly to get on the iPhone:

    Here's what AT&T said: "Sling Media was willing to work with us to revise the app to make it more bandwidth sensitive,"

    And Sling's response: "We didn't change anything... AT&T never discussed any specific requirements with us."

    And you're blaming ME for misinterpreting that?

    It looks like Sling said exactly what we claimed, and then later backtracked just slightly, by admitting that they're always talking to AT&T as part of the general improvements.

     

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  16.  
    icon
    taoareyou (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: My Opinion

    I was really responding to the part at the end that says:

    "Perhaps what actually "changed" was the fact that the FCC has become interested in AT&T blocking apps in anti-competitive ways.."

    I don't believe controlling what apps you allow on your network is anti-competitive when the app developers are more than welcome to use one or more alternative networks.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    someone who actually knows what he's talking about, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: pwb is right, mike is wrong.

    ars made the original report, and then after getting a comment from sling, updated it to reflect their own misinterpretation.

    you're simply repeating something which is known to be wrong, without even looking at the original report that was updated before you even posted this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: My Opinion

    If they want to offer the Pizza Hut app, but not allow apps from other Pizza companies, that should be their choice. It's their hardware. They should not be obligated to allow companies that compete with their services use their platform to advertise their business.

    That doesn't answer the question, but I would like to point out that when it comes to their phone network, "It's their hardware", as you call it. And if they provide phone service to other pizza shops, then they do "allow companies that compete with their services use their platform to advertise their business" as you also put it.

    But back to the question, "if AT&T were to partner with (or buy a stake in), say, Pizza Hut, it should then be OK for them to deny phone service to competing shops, huh?", why won't you answer it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: pwb is right, mike is wrong.

    AT&T honcho:
    Don't embarrass us like that or you *will* be banned (again). Now get out there and tell them that you didn't know what you were talking about.

    Sling honchette:
    Yes sir. Consider it done.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: pwb is right, mike is wrong.

    you're simply repeating something which is known to be wrong, without even looking at the original report that was updated before you even posted this.

    Wow. You really do suck at reading comprehension.

    (1) Ars quoted Sling saying exactly what we said.
    (2) We wrote about it.
    (3) Sling provided a quote that "clarified" but did not change the original, which is still correct.
    (4) You claim *we* got it wrong?

    Uh, yeah. Every time you post I understand more and more why you don't reveal publicly who you are.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    someone who actually knows what he's talking about, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: pwb is right, mike is wrong.

    what are you talking about?

    1) ars made their post last week.
    2) sling made an official response to the ars post, pointing out that it's misleading... almost a week ago.
    3) today, you parroted the first misleading post with total disregard to the update... that happened almost a week ago.

    you're still a sensationalist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: pwb is right, mike is wrong.

    you're still a sensationalist.


    Ha! Just because you disagree with my opinion, and have repeatedly mistakenly claimed I made errors when the actual errors were in your level of comprehension, it does not make me a sensationalist.

    But it does make you funny.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: pwb is right, mike is wrong.

    The update on Ars says:

    - Sling didn't change anything at AT&T's request
    - AT&T testing Slings app and found that they were wrong in their assumptions
    - Sling was constantly making updates...but not at AT&T's request

    So, what is misleading? AT&T's statement was false, plain and simple.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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