Apple has hang-ups about Google Voice


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Google Voice dials up busy signal at Apple. Credit: Alex Pham / Los Angeles Times.

Apple has rejected the Google Voice application, triggering a storm of criticism from digital technorati who have been anticipating the service for weeks.

Apple declined to give a reason for refusing to sell the app in its iTunes online store. Many speculate that AT&T, the exclusive carrier for Apple’s iPhone, may have been tweaked by Google Voice, a free service that lets users manage incoming calls and get transcripts of their voice messages. The application also lets users make free calls using the cellphone’s browser, which could have eaten into AT&T’s revenue.


The decision led PC World to accuse the Cupertino, Calif., company of having ‘control freak tendencies,’ saying ‘Apple should be ashamed.’ TechCrunch called Apple ‘rotten to the core.’

Whatever the motivation, the kerfuffle puts Google CEO Eric Schmidt in an awkward position. Schmidt sits on the board of Apple, which is bound to make the company’s next board meeting interesting.

Meanwhile, in telecom-land, Sprint Nextel raised eyebrows this morning after the carrier said it has agreed to purchase Virgin Mobile USA for $483 million. The deal consolidates the market for pre-paid cellphone plans, an increasingly popular form of service.

-- Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.