Apple's pretty used to doing things its way. It guards access to its wildly successful app store, controlling access to its inviting virtual shelves by a mysterious set of sometimes seemingly random criteria.
Although Apple has reversed course on soft-core porn and apps in bad taste, and developers have griped, the company pretty much keeps its own counsel on such matters. And it's clear Apple isn't crazy about competitors.
Although the logical thought would be that AT&T coerced Apple into making the decision in the carrier's interest, Techcrunch reports that AT&T denies any involvement in decisions about the App Store.
(We know of at least one exception to the claim of hands-off decision-making; the SlingPlayer Mobile app for iPhone works only in the phone's Wi-Fi mode, and not over AT&T's 3G connection. AT&T says its terms of service prohibit apps that redirect a TV signal to mobile units, claiming it's a drain on the network.)
Then again, BlackBerry phones on the AT&T network support Google Voice.
Lee Lloyd wrote in a comment on TechCrunch, "Has there been any evidence of AT&T objecting to users installing [Google Voice] on their BlackBerry thus far? If not, I would say it is pretty safe to assume that it is Apple who has a problem with the app, not AT&T."
As with anything Apple, this news is generating a lot of dialogue on social media, forums, story comments, and blogs.
DUSTmurph wrote on Macrumors.com forums, "Apple's guidelines for allowing Apps into the App Store is way too strict."
Many posts are critical of Apple's unclear rejection rationale and dictator-like rule over the Apps Store.
Madwh commented on Digg, "I can't wait for the day the iPhone will be treated like a computer. How would you feel if Microsoft would first have to approve all programs on Windows?"
Apple would be wise to investigate what is being said about it. Although the company typically has a large fan base that is quick to come to its defense, most people are taking a critical stance on Apple's management of the App Store.
All that being said, it is funny to note the FCC's sudden interest. It isn't as if the Apple's approval process has been under scrutiny for several months now.
As Digitalgravity noted in a response to the Engadget story, "... ‘Someone at the FCC really wanted Google Voice on their iPhone!'"
What do you think of this case and/or Apple's App Store?