Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt points out that Apple long ago approved an iPhone app that’s very much like Google Voice and presents all the issues that it says it doesn’t like about that application: RingCentral.
The app is called RingCentral Mobile and not only does it perform most of the same functions as the Google (GOOG) app that’s making all the headlines — universal telephone number, voicemail, dial-by-name directory, click-to-call, call forwarding, answering rules, call screening, music on hold, etc. — it was the template on which both Google Voice, and its predecessor, GrandCentral, were built.
As Elmer-DeWitt says, it’s hard to imagine that Google Voice being a Google product didn’t play a part in Apple’s unwillingness to approve it in a prompt fashion. (RingCentral’s from a venerable but small company.) And we already knew that one of the most significant issues with the App Store approval process is that it’s deeply inconsistent.