Google Voice app developer bypasses Apple's rejection

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,757member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 57
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    i bet there is language in the SDK that you can't sell your apps outside the app store
  • Reply 3 of 57
    timontimon Posts: 152member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 57
    ranguvarranguvar Posts: 30member
    I, for one, am crossing my fingers. Go EFF!
  • Reply 5 of 57
    grebogrebo Posts: 20member
    The fact that Jobs and Woz used to be phone phreakers building 'blue boxes' is quite ironic in this light.
  • Reply 6 of 57
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 57
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,402member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 57
    dr_lhadr_lha Posts: 236member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 57
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,500member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 57
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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?
  • Reply 11 of 57
    landnsealandnsea Posts: 17member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 57
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 57
    trajectorytrajectory Posts: 647member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 57
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    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?
  • Reply 15 of 57
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 57
    princeprince Posts: 88member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 57
    yuusharoyuusharo Posts: 311member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 57
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,712member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 57
    capnbobcapnbob Posts: 388member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 57
    jdavyjdavy Posts: 66member
    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.
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