The ATT statement doesn’t say that ATT- or the requirements of ATT’s agreement with Apple- is not the reason why Google Voice apps have been banned. It simply says that ATT does not manage the App Store and is not part of the approval process. There are four ways to interpret this:
1. That Apple decided on its own to ban the Google Voice apps for some inexplicable Apple reason, which seems to be what ATT would like us to conclude. This could be accurate, given that other phones on the ATT network have Google Voice apps. If so, the torchy mob should immediately descend on Apple’s castle and demand a straight forward explanation. Don’t buy the duplicative feature canard. All kinds of duplicative apps are allowed. It’s only the one that would most improve the iPhone experience that is not.
2. That the agreement between Apple and ATT requires, either directly or indirectly, that apps that might take money out of ATT’s pocket be excluded. This would be consistent with the wi-fi-only Skype limitation. The rub here is that we’d be talking about SMS charges only, and there are tons of apps- Beejive for example- that already allow you to send free text messages.
3. That Apple decided to ban the Google Voice apps because it knows that ATT’s network is crappy and fears that any significant additional load will grind things to a halt. This could also explain the Skype limitation, and the crippled SlingPlayer (though nothing can explain Sling’s ridiculous $30 app money-grab).
4. That Apple decided to ban the Google Voice apps because it gets a share of the money that ATT makes, and Apple wants to squeeze an extra dollar out of the faithful. I would find this the most irritating.
It may just be that ATT sees the writing on the wall as far and the iPhone exclusive gravy train goes and is tired of getting kicked around every time someone has a bad iPhone experience. Maybe ATT decided to try its hand at posturing by press release, and is feeling out Apple in the first round with these vague and non-inflammatory jabs.
We may never know the real story.
What we do know is that we want our Google Voice app, and our Google Latitude app, and all kinds of other apps that have not and may not see the light of day. The more we run into these walls of nonsense, the more likely we are to go rogue and jailbreak our iPhones. I’ve never seriously considered doing that.