July 28, 2009
TechCrunch is reporting that Apple has started pulling all apps from the App Store that take advantage of Google Voice's functionality. The reason given for the removal is that the apps "duplicate features that come with the iPhone." One of the affected apps was developer Sean Kovacs' GV Mobile. According to the report, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, had actually personally approved the app in April, and even went as far as apologizing for the delay in initially getting it approved. Now that Google is accepting new users to Google Voice, it seems that AT&T has finally decided to take action and block all of these apps since the service is able to provide free text messaging and cheap long-distance, which of course would hurt AT&T's bottom line. To add insult to injury, a Google spokesperson has confirmed that Apple has also rejected Google's official Google Voice app.
We work hard to bring Google applications to a number of mobile platforms, including the iPhone. Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store. We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users -- for example, by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers.So who is to blame and where should we start pointing fingers? Apple has AT&T breathing down their neck, but Apple chose to go with AT&T as their lone carrier here in the U.S. Maybe we should blame Verizon for not throwing enough money Apple's way? But who is to say Verizon would act any differently? No carrier wants to lose money to a service like Google Voice. No matter who you decide to blame, it is a disappointing blow to us, the users.