Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Apple, AT&T say no to Google Voice iPhone App

To folks who were happy using Google Voice apps on iPhone. It’s a sad day. Apparently, Apple removed all GV apps from the app store. Also, the official Google Voice app has been rejected by Apple. Now the questions really is? Who was it? Is It Apple that sensed a threat from Google Voice App or is it AT&T, which didn’t like the Google app getting into the operator network. Some say it was the handy work of AT&T and other folks argue why would AT&T do that . It’s interesting to read different opinions and perspective.

Obviously Apple has an upper hand in deciding which apps to allow and which ones to reject. From a feature standpoint I don’t see how GV app can be a threat to Apple, unless apple is planning on building its own voice apps that is similar to GV. I don’t see that as a possibility. Now coming back to AT&T, hmm.. I can see lot of scenarios where GV app can make AT&T uncomfortable. Using GV app, iPhone users can
• Send free SMS message
• Call international number for a low price
• Support Number portability.
• Being in the middle of the conversation, Google can provide free calls and monetize in different ways.

Most of the above features are already supported by many startups, and these apps have not been rejected by Apple. But when it comes to Google, everybody is scared, and they should be. These guys are big, have money power and they can make a big impact compared to other startups. All that said, we will never know the exact reason why GV apps were rejected.

What others are saying
Om Malik:

If AT&T indeed was the villain here or Apple was against VoIP calls, then by now all voice applications would have been given the boot. My Skype, Truphone, Nimbuzz and Fring accounts are all working fine. You can download them from the iTunes store. So again, I think people are jumping to conclusions here.

Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch
Of course, it’s not hard to guess who’s behind the restriction: our old friend AT&T. Google Voice scares the carriers. It allows users to send free SMS messages and get cheap long-distance over Google Voice’s lines. It also makes it trivial to switch to a new phone service, because everyone calls the Google Voice number anyway.

John Gruber from daring fireball
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.]

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