It's a sad day to be an Apple fan. News has just come out that Apple is pulling all Google Voice applications from its app store. Google Voice is no longer a possibility on the iPhone, a fact which is going to make quite a few people angry. Google Voice is easily the single most promising application that's come out for mobile phones in years. It allows you to consolidate all of your numbers under one master number, as well as giving you what amounts to free texting capabilities.
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Google Voice has been a resounding success so far, and Google still hasn't been able to sort through all of the invitations. Unfortunately, phone carriers aren't very happy with Voice. It cuts them out of a lot of money, and makes it much less of a hassle for users to switch carriers. Changing your phone number is a huge hassle, but with Google Voice you have the same number wherever you go.
It's most likely that Apple blocked the app due to a request from AT&T. This wouldn't be the first time Apple's bowed on their principles of innovation in order to please their partner. Tethering, while possible on the iPhone as of 3.0, is not enabled on any iPhones due to AT&T. They also had a hand in neutering Sling (a TV player)and Qik (a camera app). AT&T has stymied the iPhone's growth quite a bit of late, and it's virtually guaranteed that Apple will move to additional carriers in 2010.
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Still, I can't help but wonder if they've already set a damaging precedent. By bowing so often to AT&T they've sent out the message to other carriers that they can be bullied into compliance. Hopefully once the balance of power is back in Apple's favor, with multiple carriers to choose from, they'll be less wimpy. That doesn't help iPhone owners who have just been blocked from their favorite app now, though.