Jason Kinkaid’s post on TechCruch today, “Apple Yanks The Cord On GV Mobile. Is It Trying To Kill Google Voice On The iPhone?” is worth reading. Jason reveals previously approved applications in the iTunes Store have been removed by Apple which supported Google Voice and development has been killed on an iPhone native app for Google Latitude. With respect to the removal of the Google Voice application, I’d hypothesize Jason is correct when he writes:

It’s entirely possible that Apple’s decision to ban the app is being driven not by user confusion, but by AT&T’s request. Google Voice is very powerful, and is only becoming increasingly so as it releases new apps and features that make it easier to use. It also hits the carriers where it hurts, making it easy for users to swap numbers on a whim, get cheap calls, save on SMS, and much more.

Seth Weintraub claims an AT&T complaint is at the root of Apple’s decision to pull GV apps from the iTunes Store, citing John Gruber, and notes other blatant double standards here:

Sling Player works over 3G on Blackberry and Windows Mobile. Google Voice works on Blackberry on AT&T.

Neither work on an iPhone, however, and according to Jason’s post Google has been relegated to only using a webapp for Latitude on the iPhone. Google Latitude is remarkably similar to Loopt, for which there IS a native iPhone application. What gives?

As digital creativity blooms, some corporate leaders striving to cling to historic marketshare appear bent on embracing policies of control rather than empowerment. Remember, the AT&T slogan for years has been, “Your world delivered,” not something like “Empowering digital conversations.” As a company I’ve observed AT&T seems more interested in packet DELIVERY than digital user empowerment. Perhaps their corporate leaders need to spend some time listening to Clay Shirkey?

Will iPhone application developers for Latitude and Google Voice be relegated to sharing their apps for a much more limited, jailbroken iPhone audience? Time will tell.

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  • http://teach42.com Steve Dembo

    Yet another double standard, which may shed some light on the subject. Check out AT&T Virtual Receptionist. It uses RingCentral.com, which is a similar service to Google Voice. However, AT&T charges for the service based on per minute packages. Not surprisingly, those apps have NOT been pulled from the app store, despite the fact that they ‘duplicate built in iPhone functions’.

    And for the record, GV Mobile is already available for free via Cyida. I bought it before it was removed from the App Store and have used it extensively. Recommended if you have jailbroken your phone.

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