While we wait for streaming music service Spotify's iPhone app to get approved, we have news that Apple has banned all Google Voice related iPhone apps including Google's official Google Voice application from the App Store.
Apple has rejected the iPhone apps as they are duplicating features that are already available on the iPhone such as Dialer, SMS etc.
“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). He didn’t actually
specify which features, although I assume the whole app in general.”
Other iPhone apps such as Voice Central and GVDialer have also been removed from the App Store for the same reason.
Even Google's Voice application was rejected by Apple as per this statement by Google to GigaOM:
"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."
According to John Gruber of Daring Fireball it looks like the real reason for rejecting the iPhone apps is due to pressure from AT&T.
"Well, so much for my speculation. A reliable little birdie has informed
me that it was indeed AT&T that objected to Google Voice apps for
the iPhone. It’s that simple."
That might be possible as these iPhone apps give you features for free such as ability to send and receive free SMS, place free calls in the US, for which AT&T charges its customers.
However, OM Malik of GigaOM Network doesn't agree:
"Some allege that Apple is doing this at AT&T’s behest. That is just flat-out wrong: If it were true, then Google Voice would be banned on BlackBerry devices that use AT&T as well. As of this morning, everything is working fine on my AT&T-connected Bold (except for the usual dropped calls, of course). And are people forgetting that you need AT&T’s voice network to send and receive Google Voice calls?"
It makes sense but we have seen AT&T putting pressure on Apple to restrict the SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone to work only over Wi-Fi and not over iPhone's data connection, which is possible on other mobile devices such as BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, or Symbian smartphones.
The important thing to note here is that AT&T has more control over the approval of iPhone apps on the App Store via Apple, which they don't have with other smartphones so I am leaning towards AT&T being the reason behind the rejection of Google Voice related iPhone apps.
Anyways, we will keep you posted on this developing story so stay tuned here at iPhone Hacks.
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