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Google Voice app developer bypasses Apple's rejection

post #1 of 58
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As Apple suggests dire consequences could come from users hacking the iPhone, one well-publicized former App Store program has made the jump to hacked hardware only.

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 -- even though it had been available there for months. So, he responded this week by porting his once-paid application over to Cydia, the hacker software store for installing unapproved applications, for free.

If Apple is to be believed, those who "jailbreak" their phones to continue using GV Mobile could cause "potentially catastrophic" damage to cell phone towers, according to documents discovered by Wired.

Apple filed the statements with the U.S. Copyright Office, which is considering a request from the Electronic Frontier Foundation to legalize the jailbreaking of iPhones.

A local or international hacker could potentially initiate commands (such as a denial of service attack) that could crash the tower software, rendering the tower entirely inoperable to process calls or transmit data, Apple wrote. Taking control of the BBP software would be much the equivalent of getting inside the firewall of a corporate computer to potentially catastrophic result.

The technological protection measures were designed into the iPhone precisely to prevent these kinds of pernicious activities, and if granted, the jailbreaking exemption would open the door to them."

Specifically, the EFF is asking for an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to allow users to install third-party applications on the iPhone not given approval by Apple or made available through the App Store.

According to an iTunes support representative cited by Kovacs, all Google Voice-related applications were pulled at the request of AT&T. This included the rejection of another, similar application, along with Google's own Voice software, from the App Store.

Earlier this month, Google released its first-party Google Voice applications for Android and the BlackBerry, but the iPhone was conspicuously absent.

When contacted by AppleInsider this week, a Google spokesperson declined to comment on the availability of GV Mobile on Cydia.

"We work hard to bring Google applications to a number of mobile platforms, including the iPhone," the spokesperson said. "Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store. We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users, for example by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers."

When GV Mobile was pulled from the App Store, Apple representative Richard Chipman contacted Kovacs personally. But, according to Kovacs, the representative was not specific about what could be fixed, nor would he provide e-mail to confirm the takedown.

Originally called Grand Central, Google Voice is a service that allows consumers to control a variety of phone numbers via one, centralized number. Through the configurable service, calls can be forwarded to or from any phone number and multiple phones can ring at once.

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. The telephony service is currently available by invite only.
post #2 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


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. The telephony service is currently available by invite only.

It is not 'depriving' them of revenue anymore than using a calling card is depriving them of revenue. It is legal and it expected in a competitive market place. Long distance is an area when AT&T should and has to compete. If this is why these apps were barred, that should be illegal, plain and simple.

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post #3 of 58
i bet there is language in the SDK that you can't sell your apps outside the app store
post #4 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

i bet there is language in the SDK that you can't sell your apps outside the app store

I didn't really want see it happen but I think it's about time someone take legal action on this. The EFF needs to file an action for one of these developers and push for a quick trial. Maybe even a class action for all of the developers.
post #5 of 58
I, for one, am crossing my fingers. Go EFF!
post #6 of 58
The fact that Jobs and Woz used to be phone phreakers building 'blue boxes' is quite ironic in this light.
post #7 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

i bet there is language in the SDK that you can't sell your apps outside the app store

There is.
post #8 of 58
Yea well, an asteroid could destroy the earth too, it does not mean it is going to happen.

Sounds like they better get better tower software and security protections for that software -- AT THE TOWER.
post #9 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

It is not 'depriving' them of revenue anymore than using a calling card is depriving them of revenue. It is legal and it expected in a competitive market place. Long distance is an area when AT&T should and has to compete. If this is why these apps were barred, that should be illegal, plain and simple.

The fact is also that "GV Mobile" doesn't do anything that Google Voice's mobile Web Page can't do, its just more elegant. Barring these apps won't stop Google Voice being used on the iPhone. This is quite simply one of the most ridiculous decisions Apple has ever made. I don't care who is "behind it" (i.e. those on Apple forums who are quick to blame AT&T) Apple have the final say on the app store, not AT&T.
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Sounds like they better get better tower software and security protections for that software -- AT THE TOWER.

Precisely. If there is a way to launch a catastrophic attack on cell towers from your phone, then simply banning apps isn't going to prevent it from happening.
 
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post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by grebo View Post

The fact that Jobs and Woz used to be phone phreakers building 'blue boxes' is quite ironic in this light.

So are you trying to say that this is yet one more example of someone copying Apple?
post #12 of 58
This decision will only hurt Apple and AT&T. Google Voice's service is the beginning of a telephony shift that neither company can fend off. Because GV is also fully functional in the Safari browser, users will simply shift to using it within the browser, rather than as an app, and Google will undoubtedly move to improve the browser experience. This decision by Apple and/or AT&T simply sours customer sentiment toward both companies, and unhappy customers are not loyal ones.
post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Yea well, an asteroid could destroy the earth too, it does not mean it is going to happen.

Sounds like they better get better tower software and security protections for that software -- AT THE TOWER.

I was thinking more like a Godzilla attack.
post #14 of 58
Geez, sounds a little overly dramatic. If the potential for damage was so great, why was this app available in the App Store for months until now?

Although, this could explain the crappy service from AT&T.
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post

The fact is also that "GV Mobile" doesn't do anything that Google Voice's mobile Web Page can't do, its just more elegant. Barring these apps won't stop Google Voice being used on the iPhone. This is quite simply one of the most ridiculous decisions Apple has ever made. I don't care who is "behind it" (i.e. those on Apple forums who are quick to blame AT&T) Apple have the final say on the app store, not AT&T.

Do you have a copy of the Apple and AT&T exclusivity agreement?
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post #16 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranguvar View Post

I, for one, am crossing my fingers. Go EFF!

For a "free software supporter" (which would make you a freedom loving altruist and possibly an anti-capitalist) ... you sure have some obnoxious advertising in your signature.

You might notice that people on this forum generally don't spam the threads with advertisements and other braggadocio.
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post #17 of 58
Apple isn't claiming any relation between Google Voice apps being pulled from the App Store (at AT&T's request) and the threat of jailbreak phones allowing access to the baseband processor (at issued in the EFF challenge).

Wired's article is laughing off a problem that everyone in the industry takes very seriously.

Completely unrelated is the fact that AT&T entered into a deal with Apple that stipulated various terms, including the idea that Apple wouldn't use AT&T's network to launch a VoIP attack on the mobile industry. You can argue that voice should equal data and that networks should be neutral, but that isn't the law currently, nor is it allowed under Apple's negotiations with AT&T.

The fact that Apple is upholding its deal is no less surprising that that fact that Apple also honors its licensing agreements with the DVD Forum (which is why you can't take screen shots when a DVD is playing, or rip DVDs from iTunes) and its distribution deals with media companies (which is why devices that play back iTunes HD movies can't export them to a VGA or other non-HDCP display.)

You'd have to be enraptured with childlike ideological fantasy to image otherwise.
post #18 of 58
This article seems to be going all over the place... Its like they copied the title of one article and pasted it on the other. This is more about the EFF and Apple's filed claim more than it is GV Mobile.
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post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince View Post

You'd have to be enraptured with childlike ideological fantasy to image otherwise.

More like denial and an over-inflated sense of entitlement.
post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince View Post

Apple isn't claiming any relation between Google Voice apps being pulled from the App Store (at AT&T's request) and the threat of jailbreak phones allowing access to the baseband processor (at issued in the EFF challenge).

Wired's article is laughing off a problem that everyone in the industry takes very seriously.

Completely unrelated is the fact that AT&T entered into a deal with Apple that stipulated various terms, including the idea that Apple wouldn't use AT&T's network to launch a VoIP attack on the mobile industry. You can argue that voice should equal data and that networks should be neutral, but that isn't the law currently, nor is it allowed under Apple's negotiations with AT&T.

The fact that Apple is upholding its deal is no less surprising that that fact that Apple also honors its licensing agreements with the DVD Forum (which is why you can't take screen shots when a DVD is playing, or rip DVDs from iTunes) and its distribution deals with media companies (which is why devices that play back iTunes HD movies can't export them to a VGA or other non-HDCP display.)

You'd have to be enraptured with childlike ideological fantasy to image otherwise.

Exactly - very well said. Anyone claiming Apple can do what it likes is smoking crack. Do any of you think that AT&T didn't put some cast iron clauses into that contract with Apple to prevent exactly this sort of thing? While it may be inevitable (I hope it is), AT&T has every right to try and slow it down while it still has exclusivity. You would if you were in their shoes.
post #21 of 58
I am sad about this news as are many others. Hey, AT&T sucks! The iPhone could do more if AT&T would let it. Tethering is another feature that AT&T will not allow. GV Mobile still burns AT&T minutes so what is the big deal? Do they think anyone would actually use AT&T wireless to call overseas? Give me a break. Their costs are way to high. I pray for the day when all phones are unlocked and companies share the towers. True competition will only bring lower prices and better service.
post #22 of 58
Seriously. Screw you Apple! I'm off to download a copy of GV Mobile from Cydia, without your permission, because it's what people WANT... more competition. And I already have a paid version of GV Mobile from the App Store too.. But then again, I have a sneaky suspicion that AT&T is behind all of this string-pulling of the App Store. So much for no carrier control.. hey wait, that sounds similar to Verizon!

This is one thing I think will bring AT&T more bad PR than anything else. It's not like they can say it IMPROVES the customer experience, it only detracts from it. They're just being greedy bastards. And we all know how that path ends up
post #23 of 58
While I agree that both Apple and AT&T have to protect their investments and bottom line, failure to adapt is what brings companies down... not innovation! Case in point is the music industry, if the labels and RIAA had looked into the innovation of the digital distribution channel and realized the proper opportunity, we'd have some label consortium distribution store instead of iTunes, Amazon, etc... and they'd be making just as much money if not more (lower distribution costs for digital after all).

The close-minded management tactics that fail to have any real vision will be what ultimately makes these operators (Verizon is no better btw) just be a dumb pipe, which is what they fear so much ironically. Instead of embracing what is inevitable and preparing to harness all the benefits that can also be had by innovating now, they play this protectionist tactic that dooms them even further. You reap what you sow.

I am glad that Google with its vast team of web developers will be equally capable of giving us a "close to native app" feel from a browser version of GV. This will only make AT&T's move seem like a petty useless tactic that in the end only served to infuriate users and precipitate them towards their own demise even quicker.

-------
Long time reader, first post... so yeah, this ticked me off.
post #24 of 58
While these moves do p*ss me off, people need to not overreact. Consider the fact that other versions of software that do the same thing on other platforms have not been pulled. It's obvious that AT&T can't handle the demand of iphone customers but we don't know that anyone could. The iphone really brought a huge shift to the market and will continue to.

Right now what iphone users really need is competition. Palm and Sprint are not it. Maybe once the Pre is sold by Verizon but even that might not be enough as we don't know exactly how Verizon might be. They've had their rep of being controlling as well.
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

You might notice that people on this forum generally don't spam the threads with advertisements and other braggadocio.

Nope. Just self-righteous posts.
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capnbob View Post

E... Do any of you think that AT&T didn't put some cast iron clauses into that contract with Apple to prevent exactly this sort of thing? While it may be inevitable (I hope it is), AT&T has every right to try and slow it down while it still has exclusivity. ....

Fine then why doesn't ATT prohibit GV apps on Blackberry devices?

Anyway you cut it Apple looks like shit on this issue. Apple should have insisted that BB devices play by the same ATT rules as the iPhone.
post #27 of 58
*** off topic / no politics ***
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

It is not 'depriving' them of revenue anymore than using a calling card is depriving them of revenue. It is legal and it expected in a competitive market place. Long distance is an area when AT&T should and has to compete. If this is why these apps were barred, that should be illegal, plain and simple.

Calling cards are pre-paid to work on any of those networks. The telco provider has already been given a kick back. This doesn't give the telco provider the kick back, but bypasses that part.
post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Fine then why doesn't ATT prohibit GV apps on Blackberry devices?

Anyway you cut it Apple looks like shit on this issue. Apple should have insisted that BB devices play by the same ATT rules as the iPhone.

AT&T is on record at citing that the growth in their revenue base is highly effected by the growth of their iPhone sales.

With the known subsidies they pay Apple for the iPhone they sure as hell won't want to allow an application to piggyback in a manner that cuts them out of the financial loop.
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

I will bet some of this is at the behest of government -- the 1984 Orwellian surveillance state is in full swing with out socialist/communist President.

Read this for the Obama surveillance state link:
http://www.independent.org/blog/?p=1731

"in the name of protecting copyright infringements, the Obama administration is now pushing for an international treaty to allow governments to have sweeping access to anyones PC, laptop and other electronic devices in order to make copies of any files. Attempts by privacy and civil liberties groups to have copies of the documents released have been refused."


Read this for the communist link:
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=65066

Very nice troll post. I limit my response with the words,- last week, Amazon.com, Kindle, George Orwell, kill-switch.
post #31 of 58
It's just silly to call AT&T greedy. All companies are greedy. They are all in it to get the most amount of money out of you while spending the least they can get away with of their own. If I were AT&T and entrenched in the traditional business model, I wouldn't allow it either, neither would any of you.

As for other phones and services allowing it, get real. There is nothing out there like the iPhone. It is completely without peer. All the BBs on AT&T do not have a fraction of the impact on their network as the iPhone. The iPhone makes advanced, network breaking features accessible and desirable to the average person. The iPhone can break a network and a business model. We should all be glad we have the amazing features that we do. If enough people were actually using these types of services on other carriers, they would stop it too. Even T-Mobile cracked down on tethering with the G1. None of these companies are friendly to this type of change. They are just afraid of the iPhone and will allow almost anything to keep their customers from jumping ship.
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post #32 of 58
*** off topic / no politics ***
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

AT&T is on record at citing that the growth in their revenue base is highly effected by the growth of their iPhone sales.

With the known subsidies they pay Apple for the iPhone they sure as hell won't want to allow an application to piggyback in a manner that cuts them out of the financial loop.

By that reasoning BB phones that use GV cut into ATT revenue. Why don't they restrict BB phones from using GV apps?

I doubt that the subsidy that ATT pays RIM for BB phones is THAT much less than the subsidy they pay Apple for the iPhone but I've no data to support that.
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post

As for other phones and services allowing it, get real. There is nothing out there like the iPhone. It is completely without peer. All the BBs on AT&T do not have a fraction of the impact on their network as the iPhone. ...

That's arguably true but how does GV 'break' the cellular network?

I suspect GV apps on a BB work pretty much like they do on an iPhone.
post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

That's arguably true but how does GV 'break' the cellular network?

I suspect GV apps on a BB work pretty much like they do on an iPhone.

It is the same type of thing as the Sling app. There are only so many people who would actually use it on other phones. With the iPhone, everything changes. Why is AT&T not ready for MMS on the iPhone? Because there will be more messages from iPhones in one day than they likely get from all other phones in a month. It is just not right to talk about other phones as if they were the same type of thing as the iPhone. No matter how much other companies want to think they are competing with the iPhone, they're not. AT&T knows this and so do the other carriers.
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post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post

It is the same type of thing as the Sling app. There are only so many people who would actually use it on other phones. With the iPhone, everything changes. Why is AT&T not ready for MMS on the iPhone? Because there will be more messages from iPhones in one day than they likely get from all other phones in a month. It is just not right to talk about other phones as if they were the same type of thing as the iPhone. No matter how much other companies want to think they are competing with the iPhone, they're not. AT&T knows this and so do the other carriers.

I would agree that the iPhone is a data consuming machine but only because its browser is head of the class and internet browsing on the iPhone is closest to a 'desktop' experience.

But do you really think that SMS messaging is *that* much better on an iPhone other phones? It isn't from what I can tell.
post #37 of 58
If a jailbroken iPhone (e.g., device completely controlled by the purchaser) is so bad, why aren't they recalling these already?
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

I would agree that the iPhone is a data consuming machine but only because its browser is head of the class and internet browsing on the iPhone is closest to a 'desktop' experience.

But do you really think that SMS messaging is *that* much better on an iPhone other phones? It isn't from what I can tell.

I think MMS will be a game changer on the iPhone. Think about how much easier it is to take a picture on the iP versus other phones. Think how much easier sending texts is on the iPhone. I predict that AT&T's network will slow to a craw on day one of MMS availability. The same happens at every major trade show these days. The cell network breaks under the strain of all the iPhones on a single tower. AT&T is right to be very afraid.
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post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post

I think MMS will be a game changer on the iPhone. Think about how much easier it is to take a picture on the iP versus other phones. Think how much easier sending texts is on the iPhone. I predict that AT&T's network will slow to a craw on day one of MMS availability. The same happens at every major trade show these days. The cell network breaks under the strain of all the iPhones on a single tower. AT&T is right to be very afraid.

Perhaps. MMS might strain the cell network. When ATT enable this service it'll be interesting to see how the network holds up.

But if ATT is concerned about the data getting pushed around by iPhones on their network, I'd think they'd be far more worried about users shooting video on their iPhones and then uploading their clips to you tube and other video hosting sites. I would think that would 'break' the network quicker than pushing MMS. But I don't hear any concern from ATT about that.
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Perhaps. MMS might strain the cell network. When ATT enable this service it'll be interesting to see how the network holds up.

But if ATT is concerned about the data getting pushed around by iPhones on their network, I'd think they'd be far more worried about users shooting video on their iPhones and then uploading their clips to you tube and other video hosting sites. I would think that would 'break' the network quicker than pushing MMS. But I don't hear any concern from ATT about that.

I have no inside info, but I bet dollars to doughnuts that concerns about that very thing delayed the release of the video feature. That is why I say that we are all very lucky to be getting what we are considering the uphill battle Apple has to fight in dragging the industry into the 21st century against its will. Yes, there is a long way to go. But try to remember the days before the iPhone. It was a very different mobile world.
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