Apple approves Google Voice app for the iPhone

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) at long last approved Google's Google Voice application for use on the iPhone, 16 months after Google first requested approval and after the FCC got involved in the matter.

Google Voice is now available through the Apple App Store.Google submitted a new version of the app to Apple two weeks ago, a Google spokesman told the Washington Post. Google has been offering a Web-based version of the app for iPhone users since January.

The app--which is an Internet-based service offering users free domestic calling and inexpensive long-distance calls alongside related voice and messaging tools--has been the subject of controversy since the summer of 2009. Last year the FCC asked Google, Apple and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) to explain why the Google Voice app had not been approved for the iPhone.

AT&T said the decision was entirely up to Apple. Google told the FCC that Apple rejected the app, contrary to Apple's statements to the FCC that it was still reviewing the offering as of the summer of 2009. When Apple responded to the FCC in August 2009, 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."

Apple earlier this year refined its app-approval process, publishing a detailed list of guidelines for application submissions. The company subseqently has approved a number of previously rejected applications.

For more:
- see this Google blog post
- see this Washington Post article
- see this CNet article

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