Technical issues blamed for Vonage iPhone app snafu

Apple is blaming technical problems for delays in reviewing a mobile voice-over-IP application submitted by VoIP service provider Vonage for the computing giant's iPhone platform. "[Vonage] submitted an application for review," Apple spokesperson Natalie Kerris told Tech Trader Daily. "There are some technical issues that hopefully we can resolve." Kerris did not elaborate on the specific nature of the technical issues, however.

"As we've indicated, Vonage expects to enter the mobile applications market for smartphones," Vonage said in a statement issued last week. "We can confirm that one of our prospective applications is for the iPhone. They identified one issue stating that it is 'simple to fix.' The issue is cosmetic and relates to the labeling of an icon. We've made the requested change and resubmitted the application for approval earlier today." As of this writing, Apple has neither approved nor rejected the revised Vonage app.

The Vonage snafu follows hot on the heels of Apple telling the Federal Communications Commission it is still reviewing a Google Voice app offering VoIP functionality of its own. Apple's handling of the Google application prompted the FCC inquiry into both the App Store approval process and iPhone operator partner AT&T's role in which applications are greenlighted--in its response, Apple says that it has approved a number of VoIP applications that operate over WiFi, among them Skype, Nimbuzz and iCall, but none that use AT&T's 3G network.

According to Apple, any decisions concerning Google Voice were made solely by internal brass--iPhone operator partner AT&T was not consulted. However: "There is a provision in Apple's agreement with AT&T that obligates Apple not to include functionality in any Apple phone that enables a customer to use AT&T's cellular network service to originate or terminate a VoIP session without obtaining AT&T's permission," Apple says in its response to the FCC. "Apple honors this obligation, in addition to respecting AT&T's customer Terms of Service, which, for example, prohibit an AT&T customer from using AT&T's cellular service to redirect a TV signal to an iPhone. From time to time, AT&T has expressed concerns regarding network efficiency and potential network congestion associated with certain applications, and Apple takes such concerns into consideration."

For more on the Vonage app snafu:
- read this Tech Trader Daily article

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