The No-Google-Voice-on-iPhone Uprising Continues

By  |  Friday, July 31, 2009 at 9:07 am

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington says (in a post that’s loading only sporadically for me) that he’s dumping his iPhone for a T-Mobile myTouch 3G over Apple’s rejection of Google’s Google Voice app. Developer Steven Frank is similarly irate. Six Apart’s Anil Dash is calm but concerned.

I’m glad to see that discontent over the Google Voice situation hasn’t died down yet. If Apple continues with the secretive and capricious attitude it’s had towards app approval long enough, the day is going to come when it makes a move that angers enough people that it’ll have to reassess its practices. If the Google Voice situation turns out to be that tipping point, it’ll be good news for iPhone users–and, I’m convinced, for Apple itself in the long run. There are certainly countless examples of consumers forcing companies to do things that are in the companies’ best interest–call it the New Coke Backlash phenomenon. And even Apple usually responds when enough of its customers are seething.

I remain enough of an optimist to believe that Apple will get all this right sooner or later. I even think it’s possible that it’s listening to the discontent right now and will decide to let the Google Voice app onto the App Store after all in the not-too-distant future.


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6 Comments For This Post

  1. cm Says:

    I don’t think putting Google Voice back on the iPhone is going to solve anything. Google Voice is the last straw to the secretive app approval process. Customers and developers are no longer willing to give Apple the benefit of the doubt now. Apple has to change their approach, not give us Google Voice app.

  2. Evan Says:

    I’m wondering if the scale has finally tipped. For some time, it seemed like the tech community held Apple to a different (arguably lower) standard, but the outrage over this isn’t like anything I’ve seen directed Apple’s way recently. I agree with cm that Apple needs to do more than just allw the Google Voice app. It needs to overhaul the approval process, and instill confidence in developers and in users.

  3. Simon Says:

    I’ll third that. And there needs to be a statement pretty sharpish to the effect of “we hear you. We’re on it””

  4. Bob Van Valzah Says:

    I’m all for consumers making their displeasures known. It certainly was Apple that made the final decision here, but it’s reasonable to think that there may have been pressure from AT&T on this point. We’ll probably never know for sure.

    The biggest value of angry customers may be that it give Apple a little more spine in dealing with AT&T on future decisions where the interests of their customers are pitted against the interests of their corporate partners.


  5. Mark Harvey Says:

    The thing that many people actually forget in this issue is anyone who is reading this and getting irate over the issue is a techie. Whether they are a developer(as I am) or just a big technology nerd, anyone who is angry about this issue is ‘in the know.’ But who is Apple’s biggest customer? Sally and Bobby from Suburbia. Do you think they care if Apple has a dictatorship over what does and doesn’t make it to the app store? Do you think they even know what Google Voice is? No. Apple knows this and as long as their products are pretty, easy to use and just work, Sally and Bobby will keep making their parents buy them Apple products and when they grow up will also buy Apple products. Apple doesn’t care about the developer and in the end it doesn’t matter, because if you want to make a mobile app that sells you have to use their platform for the user base.

  6. Lucas Says:

    watching this story continue I have to say this. yes it would be nice if Apple had done what Microsoft is doing with their WinMo kit. Flat out stated, as Microsoft recently do bluntly did, what would categorically not be allowed on page one before anyone signs up. That way you know if you want to do X, don’t bother, you won’t ever be approved. Now, not being an iphone developer, I can’t say that they didn’t at least in some vague terms start those prohibitions after you signed up. Maybe they did and folks didn’t go back and say “so what the heck does this mean” until after it was used as a reason for rejection.

    on the ‘it takes too long’ folks need to chill when you have what comes out to about 100 apps a week per person to review things are going to take time. this isn’t a 5 minute deal after all. yes it would be nice if there was some kind of ‘status’ so you could at least know that your app is on a desk. maybe there is and I don’t know cause I am not a developer. maybe Apple needs to charge a few for every submission like Microsoft is going to do they can hire more reviewers.

    but the funny thing is that in the end, all this Google nonsense didn’t come from Google. yeah, you heard that right. Google did NOT file the complaint. The complaint originally came from a group of folks that had bought the app, then saw it pulled and tried to get a refund from Apple only to be reminded that they agreed to a terms of service that said that any app can be pulled at any time and the user understood there were no refunds — all app sales are final. They likely didn’t actually read the terms but hit yes and were pissed so they ran and “told the teacher”. Over something like $5.00

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