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Posted at 3:52 PM ET, 11/16/2010

Google Voice available on iPhone 1 year after denied, FCC questions

By Cecilia Kang

google-voice-logo.jpgGoogle 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.

By Cecilia Kang  | November 16, 2010; 3:52 PM ET
Categories:  Apple, Google  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Smartphone sales to pass computers in 2012: Morgan Stanley analyst Meeker
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Finally - a step closer to free calls. The incumbent operators should embrace voip. Even with GV you can only make free nationwide calls. GV lacks free international calls. Here is a little trick for free international calls on Google voice. Goto and signup, create your contacts and select a local access number. Call the access number from GV. Place free international calls. Great saver on long distance calls.

Posted by: FloraKNIGHT | November 17, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Actually, this is how apple defended its action:

There is a provision in Apple’s agreement with AT&T that obligates Apple not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&T’s cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&T’s permission.

Posted by: Netizen11 | November 17, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh wait, apparently AT&T hasn't given permission to Apple and Google Voice still can't use VoIP...weak

Posted by: Netizen11 | November 17, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I put this on my iPhone and weird things started happening, and I turned it off. I think my settings are just messed up. I need to find a reference.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | November 20, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

"Apple's voice service"

I don't think Apple has a voice service.

Posted by: RepealObamacareNow | November 21, 2010 5:18 AM | Report abuse

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