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Google Voice finds back door into iPhone

Google Voice found a way into the iPhone.

Still not accepted by Apple's closely held applications store, Google made a Web-based version of its call forwarding and phone number aggregation service that allows iPhone and Palm Pre users to access the service through a mobile Web browser. So instead of tapping on an application icon for Google Voice, a user can get the service by accessing it through a Web site.

Last summer, the Federal Communications Commission asked Apple and exclusive iPhone carrier, AT&T, to explain why Google's voice application was being blocked from the applications store. AT&T said it was Apple's decision. Apple, meanwhile, said it was studying the application to make sure it didn't interfere with other software on the phone.

Regulators are looking into competition and practices in the wireless industry, studying whether the blocking of certian applications violate competition and open-Internet policies.

As of Wednesday morning, Apple said the native Google Voice application still isn't in its apps store but declined to comment further.

"From our perspective, we built this app to answer requests from iPhone and Palm WebOS devices users who want to access Google Voice on their devices. We're always looking for ways to provide access to our mobile services across various platforms and devices, and this web app allows us to easily do so," Google spokeswoman Sara Jew-Lim wrote in an e-mail.

The FCC hasn't acted on AT&T and Apple's replies. Chairman Julius Genachowski mentioned at the Consumer Electronics Show that he noted it wasn't on the iPhone and that Skype wasn't permitted on the iPhone for 3G connections.

By Cecilia Kang  |  January 27, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  AT&T , Apple , FCC , Google  
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