Apple removes Google Voice-based apps from the App Store

Apple removes Google Voice-based apps from the App Store

Summary: TechCrunch reports that Apple has removed GV Mobile from the App Store. Developer Sean Kovacs wrote on his blog that Apple removed his application citing the fact that it “duplicates features that come with the iPhone.


TechCrunch reports that Apple has removed GV Mobile from the App Store. Developer Sean Kovacs wrote on his blog that Apple removed his application citing the fact that it “duplicates features that come with the iPhone."

And that's only the beginning, Apple has also removed all other Google Voice (formerly Grand Central)-based apps including GrandVoice and Voice Central.

A Google Spokesperson tells TechCrunch that Apple denied its official Google Voice app that was submitted to the App Store six weeks ago. Google has official apps available for BlackBerry and Android.

It's pretty obvious that AT&T is behind the Google Voice ban on the iPhone because the app is a potential game-changer and AT&T is scared silly of it. It allows people to call you on your GV number (regardless of which carrier you are using), send free SMS messages and get cheap long-distance too -- all big time threats to AT&T's iPhone cash cow.

Topics: Google, Apple, Apps, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, AT&T

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  • Any surprises here? No.

    As long as Apple and AT&T exercise anti-competitive and capricious control over iTunes and the App Store, the iPhone is dead to me. I have to give credit to Jobs for heeding the lessons of vertical market control from the likes of Rockefeller. And AT&T knows very well how much leeway the FCC gives them when it comes to squashing competing companies or technologies. They have been masters at doing it for as long as the phone and the FCC have existed.
    terry flores
  • It's time to embrace SIP/VoIP, stupid Apple/AT&T! :)

    Besides, paying 20 cents a minute for a GoPhone is too pricey!
    Grayson Peddie
  • Firefox duplicated features that came with Internet Explorer

    Though in this case it may be used as an excuse, and perhaps wasn't the real reason for its removal, it's not the first time they've touted this rule.

    Duplicating features is the first step in improving on a built-in program. What if Microsoft had come up with a way to block any and all applications that duplicated some feature built into Windows?
    Would people become less confused?
    • There's a Difference

      The difference is that the App Store is owned by Apple, the ISVs that built apps on top of Windows don't have to go through a "Windows store", they sell their apps directly to their customers. I guess Apple has a right to do whatever they want with their App Store.
      • The difference is...


        Microsoft owns the Operating System, so why can't they just eliminate all duplication to their products on their own platform?

        Apple has already proven their ability and willingness to shut people out of applications on their own platform.

        If this were the softies, it would be another example of monopolistic abuse... Apple, however, has no monopoly on the iPhone platform...

        They have no horse in the race, it is only their benevolence that allows us to buy things from them.

        When the things you beg to protect you from the monsters at night go unwatched, they become the monsters in the night.

        Be vigilant.

  • What about Skype??? (N/T)

    • Apple, Apple, Apple....

      I like Macs (have used Apple computers for 23 years) and really like my iPhone. But, Apple's anti-competitive control of the App Store is totally irksome. They have the right, I suppose, to make available or not make available anything they want but that doesn't mean it's the best thing either for their customers or their reputation.
  • Right, Jason

    it is all AT&T, Apple is just the totally innocent bystander here.

    I feel for Apple, having absolutelly no say or control of the phone, OS, and App store they created.

    You would think that Apple, a company that cares so deeply for its customers, would want to step up to the plate for them, but it appears that AT&T holds [i]all[/i] the cards here, Apple is just the little company becoming trampled on along with their customers.
    • It does sound like an AT&T motivated move.

      None of us have read the exclusive contract between AT&T and Apple. I would suggest something in that contract prevents Apple from allowing applications that have the potential to reduce AT&T revenue on the iPhone.
      No More Microsoft Software Ever!
    • Did you forget ...

      ...a [/sarcasm] tag?
  • RE: Apple removes Google Voice-based apps from the App Store

    If GV duplicates iPhone features and that's the basis for the ban... what about services and their apps like YouMail? YouMail will likely be immune because it would not have an effect on AT&T's income
  • Odd that only Google is singled out

    This comes as no surprise, however only banning Google Voice makes no sense when there are myriad other apps approved and available in the app store that provide free VOIP and SMS.

    This seems to me like Google is being singled out, so this entire ordeal is more likely political than financial in origin.

    My only hope is that the Google Voice app makes it's way to Cydia, Apple and AT&T be damned, as they deserve to be.
  • The Apple Google Crash Collision

    I am use to my iPhone as and recognize that
    switching carriers or even phones would be a
    huge undertaking for me (apps I've built up,
    notes, etc.). I am deeply entrenced in the
    Apple ecosystem and cannot easily jump ship but
    I am also equally entrenced and enamored by the
    Google ecosystem and the path these two
    companies are heading could ultimately force us
    all to take sides.

    It is has not fell on deaf ears with Apple that
    Google is becoming a competitor, not only to
    AT&T and the other telcos with Google Voice but
    to Apple themselves with Android and Android
    Market. In addition to the upcoming Chrome OS,
    I think Apple recognizes, stock board be damn,
    that the once cozy Google/Apple relationship is
    coming to an end.

    Google is taking the internet anywhere approach
    and thus are building their services based on
    this model. This approach is wonderful for
    innovation and overall lower pricing but most
    telcos realize this has the potential to do to
    the telco industry what peer to peer
    downloading and bit torrent did to the music
    game. Anything that can be digitize is
    susceptible to this trend and the only way to
    stop it is with the kind of strong arming
    tactics that Apple and AT&T are employing right
    now with the App Store.

    It will not end until there is a black swan
    (i.e. what Facebook did to Myspace). Google
    will not gain the kind of market share with
    Android until they slick up that ugly user
    interface. The HTC Hero has the potential to
    compete with the iPhone but since the UI is not
    standard across all Android devices it will not
    be able to compete. Factor in iTunes
    integration and Exchange support by default,
    then you see why Android has a ways to go.
  • But what about iPod Touch

    I am pretty sure those apps do not duplicate features available on the iPod touch -- so removing them from the app store also means removing a potential competitor to AT&T completely -- a pure VOIP phone.
  • RE: Apple removes Google Voice-based apps from the App Store

    Excuse my ignorance, but are these apps available from places other then the app store and can they be installed without any hacks? If so, the issue is a minor inconvienence at best. However, if apps can only be put on through the app store, then we have different kettle of fish. No "computer" (yes, its a computer) manufacturer has control over what you can or cannot install on your legally acquired "computer", I don't care what the EULA says.
  • Why eventually this will not matter?

    Google Voice has one feature that can eliminate the
    headache of a dialer altogether. Google Voice
    automatically masks the calling number to its registered
    GV number when calling another GV number. In effect, if
    everyone adopts a GV number and hands that out instead of
    their cell, when they call another GV number from any of
    their registered phones then there GV number is displayed
    in the caller ID, not the number of the calling phone.
    This is a revolutionary feature.
    • Irrelevence

      Unfortunately, those that control access, control use. Your use, currently, is limited by those doling out access to applications. Those same people are limiting your choice. Their opinions on what is the better option are forced to be your own.

      In the novel 1984, I thought anyone with an iBook would have been exiled in Iceland. Now I am finding that freedom of thought and self determination are not prized possessions of the revolutionary leaders at Apple. Instead, only those who are forced to be hackers to achieve their rights of choice, will be in Iceland.

      Think for yourself, demand choice while you still can. The only other options are to wait until it's too late and move to Iceland or:
      drink the cool-aid
      Take the Blue Pill
      Go with the Flow
      Insert clich? here.

  • RE: Apple removes Google Voice-based apps from the App Store

    While there's lots to say about this, the denial of the GV iPhone app will not prevent GV users from making cheap calls and erode AT&T's margins. Just dial your GV number, enter your code and place a call.