Apple has rejected Google’s official Google Voice app, and has removed from the App Store several Google Voice-related apps that had previously been accepted.
A Google spokesperson confirmed the ban of Google Voice in a statement to eWEEK July 27:
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.
It’s entirely possible that Apple’s decision to ban the app is being driven not by user confusion, but by AT&T’s request. Google Voice is very powerful, and is only becoming increasingly so as it releases new apps and features that make it easier to use. It also hits the carriers where it hurts, making it easy for users to swap numbers on a whim, get cheap calls, save on SMS, and much more.
But does anyone really think AT&T pulls the strings in this relationship? Google Voice doesn’t just interfere with the carrier’s business model, it interferes with Apple’s iPhone business model. Not just AT&T but all iPhone carrier partners pay Apple a hefty subsidy for every iPhone sold, and that subsidy is based on assumptions about how much the average iPhone customer is going to pay in monthly service charges for voice, data, and SMS.