updated 10:55 am EDT, Fri September 25, 2009
App awaited approval for over a year
The European carrier O2 has denied involvement in delaying approval of an iPhone app, 0870, that assists customers with avoiding call fees, according to Guardian Technology. The application is designed to find standard land-line alternatives for businesses using numbers beginning with 084 or 087, which bring additional per-minute charges above the standard rates for the wireless contract.
Simon Maddox, the developer behind 0870, claims an unnamed source within Apple shed light on the situation. "I was told that when we originally brought this up to O2, they had an issue with this," the Apple contact said. The source allegedly followed-up with Maddox a week and a half later. "I've finally gotten word from O2 that they, nor anyone at BT, would be happy about this service."
The app sat in Apple's approval process for more than a year. Critics speculate the company may have been under pressure from O2 and BT to prevent the app from being approved, as it only serves the purpose of helping subscribers avoid extra fees.
"We have no problem with the app at all," an O2 spokesperson told Guardian Technology. "We didn't hold it up." O2 even issued an official statement claiming it explicitly notified Apple that the carrier "would not have a problem with the app." The real reason for the approval delay remains unknown, although Apple quickly approved the app within days of O2's public statement.
The issue has been compared to the plight of Google Voice on the App Store in the US. Apple has effectively left the app in limbo without acknowledging any rejection or moving forward toward approval. The situation even brought the attention of the FCC, which asked for an explanation from Google, Apple and AT&T. Apple has maintained that it never actually rejected the App, despite several similar titles being pulled from the App Store. Google publicly contradicted Apple's statement, claiming that the company privately acknowledged rejecting the app for duplicating the iPhone's functionality.