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Apple blocks Google Voice app, pulls similar titles

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple Lies for AT&T

    "Duplicates the functionality" is like when a court tosses out a law for being "unconstitutionally vague." It may not be vague at all. In many cases it's just that a few judges didn't like the law and could find no better argument against it.

    So what if a application duplicates something that ships with an iPhone? There are untold applications that duplicate parts of Mac OS X. Apple has never whispered a word of complaint about them. Why should the iPhone be any different? The users are the ones who should decide what to "duplicate" and not meddlesome Apple At least Apple could be honest about what they're doing, pandering to AT&T.

    A century ago we put the robber barons of rail, oil and steel in their place. We can do the same with the cellular companies. David Pogue puts it well here:

    Note especially "Design Dictators."

  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's about time Apple realised that their market is more than just AT&T subscribers, as an iPhone purchased from abroad I would like to be able to use these apps and don't like the fact that a provider in a foreign country is basically dictating terms to me.
    Ban them in the US, that's fine by me but allow them in other countries. Apple does the same with iTunes music, with its regional stores, so do the same with the Apps store.

    The same can be said for the so-called pornographic apps banned because a topless woman is considered utterly intolerable in the USA.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I get crappy cell phone reception in my house, and VoIP is my only means of using my iPhone to make any decent calls from here. Anything that can get all this to tie together elegantly, like Google Voice, is a boon to my sanity. This really makes Apple's competitors look pretty good right about now. Keep it up Apple, and I'll jump ship the moment there's a viable alternative that doesn't suck. We're not quite there, but Android and WebOS are getting close. Killing all the really innovative and useful apps like this is a short trip to irrelevance.

  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not cool

    I think Google Voice is an important product, and Apple is missing a big opportunity. Almost anything Google wants to release should be fast tracked and bundled-- They get devices like the iPhone.

  1. ebeyer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I wonder if this rejection gives Apple the ability to argue that having someone from Google on its board compromises its competitiveness. Almost a win-win for Apple, if you don't count all the pissed off customers.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. herojig

    Joined: Dec 1969


    so what?

    i guess i don't get these complaints, as can't u just go to the developers website and download without the app store? i guess ill find out soon, as my 3gs is soon to arrive here in nepal. thx.

  1. herojig

    Joined: Dec 1969


    so what?

    i guess i don't get these complaints, as can't u just go to the developers website and download without the app store? i guess ill find out soon, as my 3gs is soon to arrive here in nepal. thx.

  1. kukaduro

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Response to GV rejection

    I would go so far as to boycott the App Store for their bullying policies.

  1. bretpalsson

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Complain to apple!


    I clicked on the iphone and itunes links to complain. I sent the same message.

    Ridiculous! It's not like were not using ATT&T's service, and google doesn't provide dial tone.

  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: herojig

    No, herojig, and that's the problem. Apple only allows apps in the App Store on the phone. If they would just open up the phone and allow any application, all of these complaints would go away.

    There still is a reason to jailbreak.

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