August 21, 2009
You have all probably been waiting on the very edge of your seats to see what Apple, AT&T, and Google have to say about the highly-publicised Google Voice rejection, but don't fret, the wait is over and the results are finally in. The gist of it is, no one is guilty of anything. Who would have figured? There is a ton of reading to be had, but here is essentially how it breaks down. Apple claims that they haven't even officially rejected Google Voice at this point, they are simply continuing to "study" it. The reason it hasn't been approved yet is that Apple is concerned that the app alters the iPhone's user experience and disables Visual Voicemail. Also, a user's entire Contacts database is transferred to Google's servers and Apple can't be sure enough that it will be used in appropriate ways. All of these concerns are also applied to other apps like GV Mobile. According to both Apple and AT&T, AT&T has no role in rejecting or approving apps, Apple makes the final decision. Although, it is within Apple and AT&T's exclusive contract that VoIP apps that run on AT&T's cellular network (3G) can not be approved. They do plan on taking a "fresh look" at the issue. AT&T has gone to Apple on three separate occasions regarding apps that they were worried about, but Apple made AT&T take care of the situation on two of those occasions and the other Apple took care of. According to Engadget, "All three cases seem pretty benign." Other interesting points of interest include: More than 40 full-time trained iPhone app reviewers are working on approving apps, and at least two different reviewers take a look at each app. If there is app that raises a new issue, they are escalated to the App Store Executive Review Board, which meets weekly to determine procedure and set new policies. Apple receives about 8,500 new apps and app updates per week, and only about 20 percent of them are not approved as originally submitted. As for Google, they really didn't have much to say except that they would rather have Google Voice be a native app and not a web app. Apple's entire response can be found on their website. If you are looking to do a bit more reading, Engadget has all three FCC responses in-hand.