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Apple Bans Google Voice iPhone App

o Daniel Ionescu
28.07.2009 kl 14:11 |

Apple hung up on Google rejecting its Google Voice mobile app that would of allowed iPhone users to swap text messages for free, among other things. The news comes via TechCrunch which in an article published Monday quoted a Google spokesperson that says Google submitted its Google Voice mobile application to Apple six weeks ago. The Google spokesperson told TechCrunch, "Apple did not approve the Google Voice application." Apple went one step further in its disapproval of Google's voice technology and pulled another Google Voice related app from the store, third-party GV Mobile, on the basis of duplicate functionality.

 

Apple hung up on Google rejecting its Google Voice mobile app that would of allowed iPhone users to swap text messages for free, among other things. The news comes via TechCrunch which in an article published Monday quoted a Google spokesperson that says Google submitted its Google Voice mobile application to Apple six weeks ago. The Google spokesperson told TechCrunch, "Apple did not approve the Google Voice application." Apple went one step further in its disapproval of Google's voice technology and pulled another Google Voice related app from the store, third-party GV Mobile, on the basis of duplicate functionality.

The move stirs the ongoing debate about the openness of the App Store. It also brings into question AT&T's influence on Apple given that AT&T appears to have the most to lose if the Google Voice mobile application was available to AT&T customers with iPhones. Google Voice mobile would allow you to send and receive text messages via your Google Voice phone number via your iPhone, circumventing AT&T text messaging charges.

Google introduced the Google Voice mobile app in July. It is now available for Blackberry and Android-powered phones. Here is a review of the Google Voice app on an Android-based phone.

I've contacted both Apple and Google seeking official comment on this topic. When and if either get back to me I'll let you know what they say.

The Google Voice Initiative

Google Voice, formerly known as GrandCentral, is an innovative phone management system that provides a single phone number for all your mobile, work and fixed numbers. Google re-launched the service last month and is now available for U.S. users on an invitation basis.

The Google Voice service acts as a hub for managing voice mail, all your contacts, and making free and low-cost phone calls via land line phones. Here is hands on look at how Google Voice works. The Google Voice mobile app extends those features to smartphones.

Pointing Fingers

What's shocking though in the case of the official Google Voice app getting rejected by Apple, is the presence of Google CEO Eric Schmidt on the Apple board of directors. One would have thought that this sort of presence would grant Google some sort of privileges when it comes to apps for iPhone. However, not even a personal approval by Phil Schiller, Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, didn't save third party GV Mobile creator Sean Kovacs from getting his app pulled either.

So the problem must come from somewhere else, most likely - as several technology blogs point out - from AT&T. The wireless carrier, Apple's exclusive wireless partner in the U.S., gets the blame for this one. As it was the case with the crippling of SlingPlayer and Skype for iPhone, AT&T seems to be flexing its muscles over which apps Apple should allow in its App Store, of course depending on its business interest. In this case, Google Voice's free SMS service and cheap long-distance calls could have made a dent in the carrier's revenue streams.

Of course, none of this is officially confirmed and both Apple and AT&T are keeping mum on the situation, but from a users' point of view, we are the ones in the loss. Or, in other words, Apple in conjunction with AT&T is curbing innovation of their products/services from third party companies. You might just add this to the other four reasons why iPhone users hate AT&T.

Keywords: Consumer Electronics  
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