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Apple pulling Google Voice-enabled iPhone apps

post #1 of 143
Thread Starter 
Apple is systematically pulling iPhone apps that use Google Voice to simplify and reduce the costs of making phone calls, though it's suspected Apple isn't the one making the actual judgment call.

One of these, developer Sean Kovacs, was surprised on Monday to discover that his GV Mobile client for Google Voice was to be pulled from the App Store as it was allegedly duplicating the iPhone's calling and text messaging features. Apple representative Richard Chipman contacted him personally but not only wasn't specific about what could be fixed but wouldn't provide e-mail to confirm the takedown.

But while individual removals aren't uncommon, later reports surfaced that Apple had pulled VoiceCentral, another competitor, and had even denied Google when it tried to quietly submit a Google Voice app six weeks ago -- a rejection uncommon for a company whose partnership with Apple normally gives it better-than-usual insight into the app development process.

The systematic disappearances don't have a larger official explanation but, given the common thread of their using the same service, is now thought less to a matter of Apple guarding its built-in features and more cellular carriers pushing it to keep the service out. Google Voice not only lets users provide one virtual phone number to call multiple real phones but greatly reduces the cost of outbound long-distance and messaging, all of which potentially deprive AT&T and eventually other carriers of possible extra revenue.

Such an unspoken ban would also go a step beyond normal restrictions on which apps are allowed and what they can do. In the past, carriers have argued against allowing voice over IP apps such as Fring and Skype on the cellular network for technical reasons, such as latency; the lag on even a 3G network is high enough that holding a regular conversation isn't really feasible, for example. But in restricting Google Voice, which still uses the regular voice network for much of its activity, the primary advantage is to eliminate competition.

Neither Apple nor AT&T has clarified their stances on the issue, though Apple when cornered has typically let carriers have final say on whether an app can remain on the App Store: Sling Media's remote TV viewing app, SlingPlayer, was barred from using 3G under AT&T's paradoxical view that the iPhone wasn't a phone and therefore that its normal rules didn't apply.
post #2 of 143
For consumers, this type of services is good because it encourages competition, making AT&T to lower its prices. But if Google like AT&T pays billions of dollars to subside iPhone, they have the right to put these services on the iPhone.

In other words, this party is for the company who is hosting it. They deserve to say who gets invited. When and if iPhone ever sells for its full price to the public without subsidy, I do believe this kind of restriction will cease.
post #3 of 143
This is a great decision by Apple.

Why should Google come along and deprive Apple and their valued partners of revenues? Go play with your Android friends Google. You are not wanted here.

Even more important ensuring voice calls are of the highest possible quality. Guess who is going to get blamed when call quality is terrible, lines drop, and latency makes conversation next to impossible? The iPhone of course!!!

Apple did the right thing here.
post #4 of 143
nuts.

I almost got GV Mobile earlier today when I was looking for a SIP app (and I'd never even heard of it). Sure enough... it's not there any more.
post #5 of 143
Apple's going to get a well deserved media thrashing for this.
post #6 of 143
Meh, Google Voice is still a bit of a forgotten project as so few people have access to it...
post #7 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

This is a great decision by Apple.

Why should Google come along and deprive Apple and their valued partners of revenues? Go play with your Android friends Google. You are not wanted here.

Even more important ensuring voice calls are of the highest possible quality. Guess who is going to get blamed when call quality is terrible, lines drop, and latency makes conversation next to impossible? The iPhone of course!!!

Apple did the right thing here.

What Apple is doing here is troubling. Looks like they are making an inadvisable trade-off for the short run. Hopefully, competition will handle it in the long-run: if GV does what it says it does effectively, and does take off on other mobile operating systems, handsets, and carriers, Apple will be forced to eat crow.

Driving revenue (and profit) down is what competition is all about, nothing unusual there. One can only stop that for so long.

As to "call quality," people can decide for themselves and make appropriate trade-offs between quality and cost. They're not collectively stupid.
post #8 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

What Apple is doing here is troubling. Looks like they are making an inadvisable trade-off for the short run. Hopefully, competition will handle it in the long-run: if GV does what it says it does effectively, and does take off on other mobile operating systems, handsets, and carriers, Apple will be forced to eat crow.

Driving revenue (and profit) down is what competition is all about, nothing unusual there. One can only stop that for so long.

As to "call quality," people can decide for themselves and make appropriate trade-offs between quality and cost. They're not collectively stupid.

People are stupid. They will blame the iPhone when their voice calls are inaudible and prone to all the problems associated with these silly services. This will in turn hurt the brand and threaten sales of the device.

Apple partners pay a fortune for exclusivity agreements. These partners make a big slice of their returns on people actively using the services they provide. I would be surprised if their agreements with carriers even permitted this kind of thing on the app store. Apple has a duty to look out for the interests of its commercial partners in the business.

Oh and the vast majority of people won't have a clue what Google Voice is, nor will they care that its unavailable on the greatest mobile device the world has ever known. And like most Google products it's another epic fail and going nowhere fast.

There is nothing troubling about this as far as I'm concerned. Good on Apple.
post #9 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

People are stupid.

That's a pretty arrogant statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

They will blame the iPhone when their voice calls are inaudible and prone to all the problems associated with these silly services. This will in turn hurt the brand and threaten sales of the device.

First, you have no clue what the quality will be like. Second, if they did complain, so what? Lots of people complain about worse, when it comes to Apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

Apple partners pay a fortune for exclusivity agreements. These partners make a big slice of their returns on people actively using the services they provide. I would be surprised if their agreements with carriers even permitted this kind of thing on the app store. Apple has a duty to look out for the interests of its commercial partners in the business.

Apple cannot be on the lookout for every one of its partners on every front, and has no "duty" to look after the commercial interests of its partners - its duty is to its shareholders and customers. Period.

As to whether the carriers will permit this sort of thing, well have to see, won't we: that's why I specifically said, in my previous post "...if GV does what it says it does effectively, and does take off on other mobile operating systems, handsets, and carriers,....."

As an aside, I just got my 'invitation' for GV and I do plan to sign up for it and try it out between some of my landline phones.
post #10 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

This is a great decision by Apple.

Why should Google come along and deprive Apple and their valued partners of revenues? Go play with your Android friends Google. You are not wanted here.

Even more important ensuring voice calls are of the highest possible quality. Guess who is going to get blamed when call quality is terrible, lines drop, and latency makes conversation next to impossible? The iPhone of course!!!

Apple did the right thing here.

Wow. Here's a gold star for you Extreme Apple Fanboy. Enjoy.

This is simply terrible news for consumers and iPhone fans and iPhone developers. Simply god awful terrible news.

w00master
post #11 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

People are stupid. They will blame the iPhone when their voice calls are inaudible and prone to all the problems associated with these silly services. This will in turn hurt the brand and threaten sales of the device.

Apple partners pay a fortune for exclusivity agreements. These partners make a big slice of their returns on people actively using the services they provide. I would be surprised if their agreements with carriers even permitted this kind of thing on the app store. Apple has a duty to look out for the interests of its commercial partners in the business.

Oh and the vast majority of people won't have a clue what Google Voice is, nor will they care that its unavailable on the greatest mobile device the world has ever known. And like most Google products it's another epic fail and going nowhere fast.

There is nothing troubling about this as far as I'm concerned. Good on Apple.

Good on Apple? You're praising Apple for systematically targeting these applications and pulling them down after allowing them for months without question? Who is "hurt" or "threatened" by allowing a service like Google Voice into the app store? Certainly not Apple, because Apple doesn't care what platform its on as long as its their own. AT&T perhaps? Hardly, GV relies entirely on the network the phone is on, meaning a qualified data-plan and voice plan. No, the people it hurts are the developers who saw the App store as a golden opportunity for income... Well, no longer.

I'll ignore the part where you needlessly called the iPhone the "greatest mobile device the world has ever known." I don't know, a life-saving defibrillator would at least be on par, but that's besides the point.

Is Google Voice the end-all be-all service everyone should have? Probably not. Is it even the future? Who knows. But the fact that innovations like these are being completely stifled and snuffed out before they even have a chance is senseless. Apple LIED to their developers, and LIED to their customers. This has nothing to do about "duplicating functionality." If it were, why weren't they pulled months ago?

Absolutely inexcusable. The HTC Hero has given me a glimpse at where Android is headed in the next year or two, and as much as I love my iPhone now, stories like these just put more of a sour taste in my mouth. Its nice to know there are over 500 fart and prank applications readily for sale, but game changers like Google Voice? No, we don't need any of that.....
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post #12 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

This is a great decision by Apple.

Why should Google come along and deprive Apple and their valued partners of revenues? Go play with your Android friends Google. You are not wanted here.

Even more important ensuring voice calls are of the highest possible quality. Guess who is going to get blamed when call quality is terrible, lines drop, and latency makes conversation next to impossible? The iPhone of course!!!

Apple did the right thing here.

Dude STFU, you don't have a clue of what your talking about, google voice is not a VOIP service.
Google Voice is just a virtual phone # that forward calls to your phone. Pulling this App makes no sense at all cause people can still log to google voice via the web browser and use the service. If AT&T had a free incoming call plan i will understand that they could be losing out on something but since they don't, i don't see a how this app could heard them.
post #13 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... all of which potentially deprive AT&T and eventually other carriers of possible extra revenue.

AT&T charged me for using AIM for iPhone ($.20 per text) and I was messaging/texting with an iPod touch, which also had AIM for iPhone installed (and didn't obviously get charged). They said it's an SMS app so they can do that even though AOL's own FAQ says it should be charged as data not an SMS transmission. Unfortunately it is impossible to find any support number or email for AOL (it's peer-to-peer community boards or nothing apparently) so I can't get AOL's position.

AT&T is rapacious so this article does not surprise me.
post #14 of 143
Apple needs to stop passing the buck here. If it's AT&Ts fault they should release a public statement slamming AT&T. Apple has all the power here and they refuse to use it on behalf of their users. It's a disgraceful behavior from a company that should know better. I hope Apple gets hit hard on this -- they deserve it.
post #15 of 143
Sh*t like this makes the iPhone pretty vulnerable. If microsoft was to mimic the iPhone OS and get rid of all these bullshit restrictions apple has impose, they will buried the iphone, just like they did with Apple back in the days. History is about to repeat itself watch and see.
post #16 of 143
"the lag on even a 3G network is high enough that holding a regular conversation isn't really feasible, for example

Nonsense. As anybody with a jailbroken device and VoIPover3G installed will happily tell you, the lag is virtually nonexistent and call quality is perfectly nice.
post #17 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by wlow3 View Post

AT&T charged me for using AIM for iPhone ($.20 per text) and I was messaging/texting with an iPod touch, which also had AIM for iPhone installed (and didn't obviously get charged). They said it's an SMS app so they can do that even though AOL's own FAQ says it should be charged as data not an SMS transmission. Unfortunately it is impossible to find any support number or email for AOL (it's peer-to-peer community boards or nothing apparently) so I can't get AOL's position.

AT&T is rapacious so this article does not surprise me.

I rarely, if ever, defend AT&T, but to their defense, the AIM application on the iPhone uses data-only, *NOT* your SMS package. The only time you're ever charged for SMS is when you use the messaging app, or receive a text message. Obviously, if you have AIM mobile enabled (where IMs are forwarded to your phone through SMS), then yes, you WILL be charged to use it.
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post #18 of 143
Ed: Deleted. If you're going to attack other forum members, you stand a chance of just being silenced.
post #19 of 143
I still don't know why GV Mobile was removed. From what I've read and the videos I saw the app basically give access to the contacts and let you call them through your AT&T voice plan. Furthermore, AOL app let you send SMS too. The app seems to somehow combine several functions that other apps on the app store provide.
I hope Apple stop this duplicate features nonsense.
post #20 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

This is a great decision by Apple.

Why should Google come along and deprive Apple and their valued partners of revenues? Go play with your Android friends Google. You are not wanted here.

Even more important ensuring voice calls are of the highest possible quality. Guess who is going to get blamed when call quality is terrible, lines drop, and latency makes conversation next to impossible? The iPhone of course!!!

Apple did the right thing here.

Wrong.

This action unfairly punishes iPod touch users who paid full retail for their devices - no carrier subsidy.
post #21 of 143
Yes, the lines between voice and data have merged.

Minutes, SMS, MMS, data plans... WTF! It's all digital, why pretend that each service is different unless you are trying to scam your customers?
post #22 of 143
Apple and AT&T can go screw themselves over this. I just emailed out my new GV number and I use GV Mobile for my calling. I hope they get their ass run threw the media thrasher for this. Cydia, here I come.

I love how they wouldn't put it in an email or help suggest what should be done. Where is the FCC when you actually need the sorry sob's?
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post #23 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraklinc View Post

Sh*t like this makes the iPhone pretty vulnerable. If microsoft was to mimic the iPhone OS and get rid of all these bullshit restrictions apple has impose, they will buried the iphone, just like they did with Apple back in the days. History is about to repeat itself watch and see.

I'll agree with you on that. I hate giving one company too much control and Apple sure is controlling on the iPhone. If a Zune phone were to compete very close feature wise I would consider.

Android is an alternative, but currently it requires a Google Account and puts services other than gmail etc.. as second tier on the device. Sure Apple requires an account, but they don't require MobileMe and as such don't have access to all your emails, contacts, calendars unless you want them 2. Thats the problem with Google and why I avoid it... they have access to everything if you use their service. They know your emails and do record them for their 'adverts' then they know what searches you use. Their analytics (which alot of sites use) then know what sites you visit and what products you buy or don't buy based on those adverts. They have a total profile of you with guesses required if you use all their services. I guess ironic that i'm posting this on an article about apps that use Google services being pulled.

Thats why I will always use Exchange or similar with push technology because I control the server and control who has access to it and what happens to my data.

For me it always has been about controlling my life, my data, my hardware. Always has been, and thats why i'm a proud jailbreaker and have always modified the phones I have including Windows Mobile devices to do what I want, not always want a corporation envisions.

I'm not stuck to the iPhone and will take my money to the best and most innovative phone that is the also most open. Right now I think that balance is the iPhone, especially after 3.0. But I welcome more competition from any company including Microsoft.

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post #24 of 143
Apple knows or can negotiate terms when new technology comes into the market.

Google has the upper hand here as they have most of the good Apps on the iPhone.

It's not Apple or AT&T calling the shots here. It's Google.

It was only a matter of time... Gee, I make a phone and you make a phone and I'm on your board of directors.

Check Mate. Game to Google Android.
post #25 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post

I rarely, if ever, defend AT&T, but to their defense, the AIM application on the iPhone uses data-only, *NOT* your SMS package. The only time you're ever charged for SMS is when you use the messaging app, or receive a text message. Obviously, if you have AIM mobile enabled (where IMs are forwarded to your phone through SMS), then yes, you WILL be charged to use it.

Nevertheless, I was charged for both incoming and outgoing text, and it says AOL Text beside the charge, not "messaging." AOL's AIM for iPhone specifically advertise that it lets you send *free* text messages to cell phones. Beside this, how can I be charged for sending *anything* to an iPod touch - it doesn't even have the native "Messaging" app; how can their be an outgoing AOL Text charge in this case?
post #26 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhone1982 View Post

Apple knows or can negotiate terms when new technology comes into the market.

Google has the upper hand here as they have most of the good Apps on the iPhone.

It's not Apple or AT&T calling the shots here. It's Google.

It was only a matter of time... Gee, I make a phone and you make a phone and I'm on your board of directors.

Check Mate. Game to Google Android.

Ya, Goggle has the upper hand. What a joke. In this arena they don't. Google does not know how to play the game. You have to outsmart the cell phone companies at their own game first. Give it a few more years and the iPhone will kill cell phone companies as we know it.
post #27 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhone1982 View Post

Apple knows or can negotiate terms when new technology comes into the market.

Google has the upper hand here as they have most of the good Apps on the iPhone.

It's not Apple or AT&T calling the shots here. It's Google.

It was only a matter of time... Gee, I make a phone and you make a phone and I'm on your board of directors.

Check Mate. Game to Google Android.

Except that Google already submitted an official Google Voice application six weeks ago to the app store, and it was rejected along with everyone else. So, no, the one who has the upper hand on the platform is Apple.

Not even Google has special treatment with them.
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post #28 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPeon View Post

Ya, Goggle has the upper hand. What a joke. In this arena they don't. Google does not know how to play the game. You have to outsmart the cell phone companies at their own game first. Give it a few more years and the iPhone will kill cell phone companies as we know it.

When it comes to Apple's own App Store of course they would have the advantage. But in terms of the cell phone industry overall it seems for now that Google has the clear advantage. You say that Google doesn't know how to play the game but they have Google Voice on Android. Android users can tether their phones for free because they can install apps outside their own App Store so carriers can't crack down.

You say to wait a few more years as if customers are supposed to pay for a phone that has crippled apps versus it's competitors. Apple may have the better software but it's clear that Google has the upper hand.
post #29 of 143
So will Google and the other developers put money in to maintain, upgrade and expand the mobile networks to give us, as consumers what we need?

Companies like AT&T need the revenue otherwise there would be no Google Voice App or whatever.

It's a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Cut the revenue out of the networks and there will be no networks.
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post #30 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warbrain View Post

Meh, Google Voice is still a bit of a forgotten project as so few people have access to it...

Forgotten? It's new. How could it be forgotten when it's still in limited beta? I got an account fortunately, and I love it. As for the GV app... who cares? Just navigate to Google Voice using Safari, hit the little "+" symbol at the bottom of the screen and the tap the "Add To Home Screen" button. Same as using an app.

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post #31 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

As for the GV app... who cares? Just navigate to Google Voice using Safari, hit the little "+" symbol at the bottom of the screen and the tap the "Add To Home Screen" button. Same as using an app.

Just out of curiosity, how do I dial my contacts from Safari? Not all of us keep all our contacts on Google.

I like the GV Mobile app. I am very mad at Apple for killing it. This action worries me and makes me think perhaps I shouldn't have bought a 3GS.
post #32 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

This is a great decision by Apple.

But down the bong, son.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos

Why should Google come along and deprive Apple and their valued partners of revenues? Go play with your Android friends Google. You are not wanted here.

Valued partner? AT&T sucks balls! Everyone in the US hates them. They are the biggest problem with the iPhone right now. Why don't I have working MMS? Because AT&T can't handle it.

Google voice is very much wanted here. Finally a service that lets me control the phone like it was actually intelligent instead of being the same lame-old piece of crap it's always been.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos

Even more important ensuring voice calls are of the highest possible quality. Guess who is going to get blamed when call quality is terrible, lines drop, and latency makes conversation next to impossible?

You know that GV isn't a VoIP app, right? It uses regular old voice lines. Try not to speak when you know nothing about the subject next time. You'll live longer.
post #33 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

So will Google and the other developers put money in to maintain, upgrade and expand the mobile networks to give us, as consumers what we need?

Uhm, GV still requires a data connection. Still requires a phone line and minutes. And it still requires to you have an iPhone and have a contract. What, exactly, are we depriving AT&T of?

Unless, of course, you're trying to defend the insane SMS rates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60

Companies like AT&T need the revenue otherwise there would be no Google Voice App or whatever.

And what, exactly, has AT&T been doing with the insane money it makes off the iPhone? If it takes anti-competitive business practices in order to stay in business then perhaps it's time to break up the phone companies again. Or at least regulate them. You can believe stuff like this is going to come up when Congress looks at what these guys are doing. And I hope Congress smacks the crap out of them.
post #34 of 143
and what if one wants to put this app on an ipod? yes, they are the same thing in apple's book, how smart!

wonder if it's on cydia.
post #35 of 143
I'm much more interested in whether Apple will approve Spotify's new "all you can eat" music app.
post #36 of 143
"In the past, carriers have argued against allowing voice over IP apps such as Fring and Skype on the cellular network for technical reasons, such as latency; the lag on even a 3G network is high enough that holding a regular conversation isn't really feasible, for example."

What a load of crap. I've used two way video calling on my computer over a 3G network from the middle of nowhere to Melbourne and it worked fine. That's video and sound in full duplex.

Carriers have their hand on it.
post #37 of 143
Well, technically it doesn't affect most of the world as I believe GV was a US only deal right?
So it isn't big news in my neck of the woods... however I personally quite shocked that Apple would burn their good mates Google on this by denying the app 6 weeks ago.

There is no revenue sharing anymore so I can't see how Apple would give two hoots either way if people use GV. The only people who want to deny everyone the ability to make low cost calls would be the carriers, more specifically AT&T. So it would be logical to assume that the hand of AT&T is behind this..

I'm not sure why everyone is getting all angry at Apple at this - isn't it a case of shooting the messenger (instead of the carrier)?
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post #38 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post

I'm not sure why everyone is getting all angry at Apple at this - isn't it a case of shooting the messenger (instead of the carrier)?
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The company which has banned the application is not AT&T, it's Apple.
post #39 of 143
Poor decision, but let's hope it is only temporary, while Apple calms AT&T.

Look, the phone companies are going to have nothing left when they lose text messages. They won't be able to sell "value added" services anymore and will be reduced to dumb pipes.

Expect companies who only invested in (dark) fiber infrastructures like Level3 to win big.

Google Voice is great, and it's unfortunate that their app isn't available for my iPhone (yet).
post #40 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwydion View Post

The company which has banned the application is not AT&T, it's Apple.

Of course, but I think that soon more facts will come to light that show that AT&T was the force behind it - just like the whole Sling debacle. But that's just my 2 cents.
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