Apple May Have Some Explaining to Do Over Google Voice

By: Chris Crum - September 22, 2009

There was a lot of hoopla made regarding Apple’s banning of Google Voice from its App Store. Fingers were pointed, names were (probably) called. Today Google announced that the FCC has made its letter (pdf) available to the public. The letter reveals what Google claims to be the explanation it got from Apple about why it would not accept its Google Voice app (as well as Google Latitude).

"When we submitted our letter on August 21, we asked the FCC to redact certain portions that involved sensitive commercial conversations between two companies — namely, a description of e-mails, telephone conversations, and in-person meetings between executives at Google and Apple," says Richard Whitt, Washington Telecom and Media Counsel at Google. "Shortly afterward, several individuals and organizations submitted Freedom of Information Act requests with the FCC seeking access to this information. While we could have asked the FCC to oppose those requests, in light of Apple’s decision to make its own letter fully public and in the interest of transparency, we decided to drop our request for confidentiality."

Apple has of course denied in the past that they rejected the app, along with AT&T. But according to Google’s letter, Apple gave them the following explanations:

Apple Explanations according to Google

Now everyone’s pretty much waiting to see what Apple has to say for itself. It will be interesting to see how the details shake out. Said details could end up shaking a fair amount of trust for some company.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • Anton Korzhuk

    Well I’ve owned the “iPhone” for three years now… and if a app came out and i choose to use it, how silly would it be if the “iPhone” could some how confuseded me. Either way, isn’t iphone suppose to be called a “smart phone”. hmmm

  • Eduard Lobanovskiy

    I must agree it wouldn’t confuse anyone, it’s just Apple is scared to compete with Google apps, cuz there’s very high chance to be replaced. 😉

  • Glen Woodfin

    Techies are ticked at Apple for denying them the choice to use the best technology available, but general iPhone users don’t even know that they were denied anything.

  • Stupidscript

    As seen around the online comment sections …

    If Microsoft limited all installable applications to one distribution channel, and then rejected Adobe Photoshop because it duplicated the functionality of MS Paint, most people would have a problem with that.

    Apple is running up against the limits of its closed ecosystem. Can they really be a mega-player? Or will they be regulated to the ghetto of luxury niche status because they can’t make the jump to big distribution and dealing with big problems?

    • Stupidscript

      “relegated” … although “regulated” would be fine, too.

    • Stupidscript

      The claim that Google Latitude was rejected because it duplicated the functionality of Google Maps and even extended that functionality is so amazingly lame I don’t even have much of a comment for it. If Google withdrew from their agreement to provide Google Maps to Apple’s core, would Latitude be approved? Throat, meet slice.

  • seo packages

    Confusion? Well, there are tons of apps out there that do replace the dialer or other features (such as Skype and many others). Is not the point of an app to replace and expand upon the functionality of the iPhone? As far as confusing, how do you know something will be confusing to me. That is up to me to decide and since the app is voluntary and you have to download it separate it would be my choose to and a confusion that I started not Apple. If anything and it did make people confused, so what!!! I know people confused about using iPhone by itself without any apps. It’s the user’s choice, they could always uninstall the app.

  • Todd Zimmerman

    I think the Apple rejection of Google Voice is valid.
    As with all rejected Apps, Google has the option to retool the app
    to make it conform to Apples requirements. However, the rejection
    of Latitude seems more questionable. I think it is not that Apple is
    afraid of Google, but I suspect that it has something to do with a
    deal that was struck in order to provide preloaded Google Maps…
    After all that is really on Google app vs. another Google app, so
    I think something else is going on. Perhaps Apple is trying to avoid
    a class action suit by people who would have to pay for a product
    that is already provided… I don’t know. It is in Apples best interest
    to provide as many apps as possible, but really I think it is people
    in the industry who care more than the consumers.

  • Rockman

    Apple has the right to reject or accept any app (like the Baby Shaker), its their store. Besides, in the US with locked phones and disabled features the norm, this is standard business practice. For most consumers, a non-issue.

    Bigger issue is Google’s harvesting of personal data which is their primary business mission. Now THAT’s something consumers should get fired up about.

    As far as Apple having some “splainin'” to do. Umm…what we have here is what we call in the law “heresay” so withhold judgement until Apple responds to the specific allegations.

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  • Guest

    I’m getting so tired of everyone jumping on the Google bandwagon without evidence. Do journalists automatically become gullible as soon as Google is mentioned?

    If Google is telling the truth that Apple rejected the app, they must have a rejection letter or email. Why haven’t they provided it? Where is it?

    The fact that they never mentioned any rejection letter in their blog or the FCC letter makes me wonder if there is one.

    So we have :
    Apple saying – ‘we never rejected it’ (and, a number of apps have taken many months of repeated application and modification before they were eventually approved, so 6 months isn’t unheard of)

    Google saying – ‘the app was rejected’ but there’s no evidence at all to support this – and app store rejections are done by email, so there should be a ‘paper’ trail

    I can accept the argument that given the above facts, it’s impossible to say who’s lying. I can NOT accept the BS that’s being thrown around by bloggers and fake journalists who insist that Apple is guilty on no more evidence than Google’s word.

  • Dean Flory

    As I don’t know everything about Voice or Latitude this is simply my opinion:

    If Google Voice in any way attempts to duplicate core functionality of the iPhone and creates a rift in user experience on the iPhone it should be discouraged, or Google should try harder to have Apple integrate this within the system itself in some way.

    I’d say that Apple is trying to hone in the additional features provided by Google Latitude into their current Maps deal with Google to better the iPhone platform in general and not create a bare bones install that requires users to pay for every little feature they expect from “Google” “Maps”.

    While I’ve been an Apple user for 13+ years now and trust them for the most part I am beginning to worry about software and hardware quality going downhill with increased sales and company size. I do however back up Apple on strict guidelines regarding the App Store and question the ethics of many who would challenge rejection as they’re likely trying to scheme around Apple and the phone service providers’ deal with the consumer. I do expect challenges and limitations to arise in such a closed system to better provide consumers data necessary to make informed decisions.

    I personally have been waiting and am still waiting on Apple to incorporate video chat/phone/conferencing into the iPhone to revolutionize the communications industry. The only things I can think of as to why they haven’t done this already is the ability to sell off a few million units before again selling the same thing back to them with the added features and also AT&T’s inability or lack of effort to upgrade their systems for this modern way of conversing remotely. I’ll be interested to see how that in turn is integrated into iChat and how their “guidelines” are sidestepped for their own expansion into Internet connection preferred over phone connection (though ultimately the same thing, don’t get technical with me).

    While I appreciate Google’s addition to my Internet experience they’re beginning to get involved in too many aspects of a consumer’s life and when they’ve reached a certain point they’ll begin to charge for those services AND still serve us ads.

    ‘Nuff it’s Friday! :)