No Google Voice on iPhone – Competition or Corporate Spite

David Pogue writes about Line2 in the NYT. Line2 is a service that gives you a separate phone number from which you can make calls, receive calls, get voice mail etc. etc. on your iPhone over cellular or WiFi. Everything that my Google Voice does today – with one important exception. Google Voice is not available on the iPhone as an app.

Pogue himself points this out

…Apple rejected the Google Voice app because, as Apple explained to the Federal Communications Commission, it works “by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls.” That is exactly what Line2 does. Oh well—the Jobs works in mysterious ways.

From out here I can see no rational reason why Apple banned GV from its App Store. In what way does it serve their purpose? If there are any users out there who use Google Voice as their primary number, they are unlikely to be iPhone customers. I would probably have plumped for an iPhone instead of the Android phone I have now.

So you’re losing customers. Maybe not too many, but still, and this is important, you are leaving the door open for a competitor. Android phones are the only real competitor to the iPhone today aside from Blackberry in the US market. Palm Pre is history and Nokia was never a player. Blackberry, by the way, allows the GV app on its platform.

The GV ban can’t be about protecting AT&T either. Why then would they allow Line2?

I don’t think there are any reasons linked to strategy or competition for the GV ban. It is just spite. Apple is now in the “We don’t like Google anymore” phase. And now that you have the patent lawsuits that Apple has filed against
HTC, it’s only going to get worse.

I love both companies’ products. I think a lot of people do. For the most part they don’t compete with each other. It’s a shame that the Android-iPhone fight has to spill over into other things. I wish they’d behave like adults about this.

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