updated 11:30 pm EDT, Mon July 27, 2009
Apple pulls Google Voice
Apple has begun removing a number of third-party Google Voice apps from the App Store, while rejecting Google's official client, according to TechCrunch. Developer Sean Kovac recently announced that his GV Mobile app was pulled from the App Store, despite its approval and presence for the past few months.
"Richard Chipman from Apple just called - he told me they're removing GV Mobile from the App Store due to it duplicating features that the iPhone comes with (Dialer, SMS, etc)," Kovac wrote on his blog. "He didn't actually specify which features, although I assume the whole app in general."
Although Apple did not elaborate regarding the basis for its decision, many believe AT&T could be responsible for spearheading the resistance to Google Voice-enabled apps. The service can be used to send text messages or make long-distance calls while avoiding network fees. Users can also switch numbers without adding a second AT&T line.
A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company submitted its own client to Apple six weeks ago, although it was rejected during the review process. Similar apps, however, are currently available on BlackBerry and Android devices.
Interestingly enough, Kovacs claims that Phil Schiller, Apple's senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, personally called to apologize for the delays during the initial approval process. The company has been blasted by a number of developers frustrated with the lack of clarity regarding the App Store approval process.
Although many apps are created by hobbyist, others are produced by companies spending a considerable amount of capital on initial development and marketing. FreedomVOICE finally stopped spending money on marketing and trade-show presence after its Newber app sat in the approval process for five months without a formal rejection or explanation from Apple.
Aside from apps involving phone services, developers have also complained of inconsistencies with games or web browsers. A quick look at Safari alternatives on the App Store shows many with 4+ ratings, while others carry 17+ tags and long lists of offensive content. Metaversal Studios' Hot Dog Down a Hallway app was first allowed on the store with a 4+ rating, then rejected entirely for "explicit content." Following media attention, Apple reversed course once again and finally approved the hot dog app with the original 4+ rating.