Google Voice available on iPhone 1 year after denied, FCC questions
Google said Tuesday that its voice application is available for Apple's iPhone, after more than a year of questions by the Federal Communications Commission about why Apple appeared to be blocking the competing application.
In its official blog, Google said its Google Voice application was available for download in Apple's iTunes store. A spokesman said the company submitted an request to Apple to approve an upgraded version of its application two weeks ago. The new version was approved, but the firm and Apple declined to comment on why the newer version was accepted and not its previous version. That application was available only through the iPhone's Web browser.
The Google Voice app, which competes directly with Apple's voice service, allows users to integrate several numbers into one phone number. It also allows cheap international calls, free text messaging to U.S. numbers and voice mail transcription.
Google requested an iPhone Google Voice app 16 months ago. But its application was never approved and the FCC sent letters to Apple and exclusive wireless carrier AT&T on the allegations they were blocking the application. The FCC was concerned the activity violated open Internet guidelines.
In a reply to the FCC in August 2009, Apple defended its action.
"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."
AT&T said in a separate letter to the FCC that the decision was up to Apple.
Consumer groups complained the action is anti-competitive and deprives consumers choices beyond Apple's embedded voice and texting applications. The Federal Trade Commission had been reviewing Apple's decision to also block Adobe's Flash application for the iPad. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said last September it would loosen rules for third-party applications developers, which would allow users to convert Adobe's Flash application to work on the iPad.
| November 16, 2010; 3:52 PM ET
Categories: Apple, Google
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