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Apple Quashing Google Voice Apps for iPhone

iPhone users hoping to take advantage of Google Voice are in for a bit of a disappointment now that Apple has begun blocking applications that support the Internet-based phone service. GV Mobile and VoiceCentral have already been pulled from the App Store, and apparently Apple won't approve Google's own Google Voice application.

Google Voice is an Internet-based service that offers users a single phone number they can use with their any of their different phones, forward multiple numbers to their Google Voice phone number, send and receive SMS messages, view transcripts of voicemail messages, and more -- all for free.

GV Mobile developer Sean Kovacs commented on his blog on Monday "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."

Riverturn, the company that developed VoiceCentral, offered a similar story on its blog. "Rumors are flying around the Internet that VoiceCentral has been removed from the App Store. We are currently working with Apple to come to a resolution," the company said.

The fact that both iPhone applications are missing from the App Store seems to have upset many tech-savvy users, and word that Google's own application was rejected hasn't helped calm the situation. The obvious lack of information has left users to form their own opinions on why the applications were blocked, and many people are now pointing at AT&T.

So far, AT&T's involvement in blocking the applications is nothing more than speculation. That speculation is, however, based on the notion that Google Voice neatly bypasses services AT&T charges its customers for, and applications that make it easy to avoid revenue generating services don't sit will with the cell service provider. By blocking apps like GV Mobile and VoiceCentral, it's more difficult to take advantage of Google Voice on the iPhone.

Even though applications that support Google Voice aren't available on the App Store any more, users can still access the service on their iPhone through Mobile Safari. The work around isn't, however, as elegant as a native application.

Regardless of whether or not AT&T is involved in the disappearance of Google Voice applications for the iPhone, the fact still remains that Apple pulled the apps from its online store. Hopefully Apple will be able to work with developers to bring the missing applications back -- and to avoid similar issues in the future.

Apple, Google and AT&T have not yet replied to The Mac Observer's requests for comments.

[Thanks to TechCrunch for the heads up.]

2 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

ChoMomma said:

Apple: Hey it’s a Smart Phone!
AT&T: Yes, we understand that, but we don’t want the users to be able to use is ‘smartly’..
Apple: #@$%!
AT&T: Yeah we understand, but we have revenue streams to protect.
Apple (unheard by AT&T): wait till that contract runs out.. then you’ll have nothing to protect..


ctopher said:

what about the iPod touch? It’s not a phone or SMS device.


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