Apple Rejects Official Google Voice iPhone Application
TechCrunch notes that Apple has rejected Google's official Google Voice iPhone application. Apple has also begun disabling and pulling all applications that take advantage of Google Voice functionality, claiming that they "duplicate features that come with the iPhone". A Google spokesperson confirmed Apple's rejection of the official application.
We work hard to bring Google applications to a number of mobile platforms, including the iPhone. 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.
The report notes that AT&T is certainly the most likely force behind Apple's rejection of Google Voice, given the service's tools that provide free texting and reduce some of the barriers to switching carriers. However, Phil Schiller himself had reportedly given his personal blessing to the official Google Voice application, leading Google to believe that approval of the application would be a straightforward process.
Here's another testament to just how ridiculous this move is: GV Mobile's developer Sean Kovacs says that the app was personally approved last April by Phil Schiller, Apple's senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing -- the man who often takes the stage during Apple keynotes when Steve Jobs isn't around. Kovacs says that Schiller called him to personally apologize for the delay in initially getting the application approved. Now, I'm sure Apple has laid out in its terms of service somewhere that you're not allowed to mimic the iPhone's functionality. But when you've got a blessing from that high up, that would seem like a pretty good indication that the application belongs in the App Store.
This is the second setback for Google in its quest to bring its tools to the iPhone within the past week. Last week, Google launched Google Latitude for the iPhone and iPod touch, a service that allows users to track their friends' locations in real-time, as a web application after Apple rejected a native version of the application "in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone".