Google, Apple At Odds Over 'Rejected' Voice App For iPhone


Google revealed the blacked-out portions of a July letter to the Federal Communications Commission Friday and it turns out that the search giant told the agency that Apple had "rejected" Google Voice for the App Store, despite Apple's public claims that it had done no such thing.

Guess it depends on how you define "rejected."

Google Voice is a free telecommunications service from Mountain View, Calif.-based Google that could conceivably provide Apple iPhone users with workarounds on some fees that they would normally be charged by the iPhone's sole carrier, AT&T. Apple's rejection of Google Voice in early July led to the FCC requesting that the parties involved formally explain their positions on the matter.

Google, Apple and AT&T all wrote letters to the FCC at the agency's request in late July. In addition to Google Voice, at issue was the rejection of Google's Latitude app for the iPhone. But while the letters from Apple and AT&T were published in full at the time, Google's had portions redacted.

Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., claimed in its July 31 letter to the FCC that it had not rejected Google Voice but rather "continues to study it."

"Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it. The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail," Apple's letter states.

That statement went unchallenged by Google until Aug. 21, when the search giant apparently informed the FCC that it no longer required portions of its own July 31 letter be redacted. That changed the narrative considerably, because according to the unredacted FCC letter from Google, Apple did reject Google Voice, informing Google that "Apple believed the application duplicated the core dialer functionality of the iPhone."

The final rejection, according to Google, came from Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, on July 7. Schiller had also been the Apple representative to reject Google Latitude on April 10, according to Google, because Apple felt the Google application could interfere with its own preloaded maps application for the iPhone and "create user confusion."