Google: Apple rejected Google Voice app

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Google said that Apple rejected its Google Voice application for the iPhone, contrary to Apple's statements last month to the FCC that it was still reviewing the offering. Google's assertion that Apple rejected the app is contained in the company's own letter to the FCC, also filed last month but made public by Google and the FCC today.

When Apple released its letter on Aug. 21, it said that the application had not been rejected outright. "Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it," Apple said. "The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail."

Google said in its letter, also dated Aug. 21, that Apple representatives told Google that the application had been rejected because "Apple believed the application duplicated the core dialer functionality of the iPhone. The Apple representatives indicated that the company did not want applications that could potentially replace such functionality."

In its letter, Google said that it had no contact with AT&T Mobility on the topic. Google did say, however, that it had a series of meetings, phone calls and emails with Apple between July 5 and July 28, 2009, to discuss the application, which was submitted to Apple's App Store for approval on June 2. Google said its primary points of contact between the two companies were Alan Eustace, Google's senior vice president of engineering and research, and Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. In a phone call that took place on July 7, Schiller told Eustace that Apple was rejecting the application, according to Google's letter.

Apple also rejected Google's Latitude application. The company said it did not currently have any other applications pending approval with Apple.

When Google initially filed its letter with the FCC last month, it asked the FCC to redact certain portions that involved "sensitive commercial conversations between two companies," according to Richard Whitt, Google's Washington telecom and media counsel. In a post on the company's public policy blog, Whitt said Google decided to release the full contents of the letter.

"Several individuals and organizations submitted Freedom of Information Act requests with the FCC seeking access to this information," wrote Whitt. "While we could have asked the FCC to oppose those requests, in light of Apple's decision to make its own letter fully public and in the interest of transparency, we decided to drop our request for confidentiality. Today the FCC posted the full content of our letter to their website."

Added Whitt: "We continue to work with Apple and others to bring users the best mobile Google experience possible. "

"We do not agree with all of the statements made by Google in their FCC letter," an Apple spokeswoman told FierceWireless. "Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application and we continue to discuss it with Google."

For more:
- see Whitt's post
- see Google's letter to the FCC

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Article updated Sept. 18 to add comment from Apple.