Apple’s War Against the iPhone

There’s been a lot of talk today over the responses Google and ATT sent to the FCC in response to the FCC’s inquiry into various App Store rejections, most notably the rejection of the much desired- by me and others- Google Voice app.

The short answer is that ATT did not request or require the rejection, which was my scenario number one, back when this rotten business started.  As I noted then:

[It may be] 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.

By all means, the torchy mob should now descend on Apple’s castle and demand that Apple destroy whatever Frankenstein is barring the door to the App Store.  But, wait, we are talking about Apple here.  The company that makes the (zealously) beloved (by a few) Mac.

I have always been amazed and annoyed by the free pass that Apple tends to get when it does something customer-unfriendly:

Why does Apple get a pass when it tries to control our audio, and now video, experience? Everything about the iPod is designed to force you to use iTunes as a gateway to your music. And to sell some downloads, of course. If Microsoft did something like this, all the Apple heads would scream bloody murder.

Well, today it was confirmed that Apple did something very customer-unfriendly.  And it didn’t take long for people to start handing out that free pass.  In a post discussing these latest developments and generally describing Apple’s App Store review process, Harry McCracken, who is usually spot on in his tech analysis, let the Apple flu get the best of him:

Apple is so obsessive about user interfaces and its control thereof that I take it at its word that this is why it hasn’t approved Google Voice. (If Microsoft said it objected to a third-party app on the grounds of interface consistency, it would be a different matter.)

A pass and a swat at Microsoft, in the same sentence.

In fairness, he goes on to say he doesn’t like Apple’s decision, but come on Harry.  No matter what the reason (and we’ll probably never know the real reason, since Apple guards its motives like a State Secret), this is a bullshit denial of another app everybody wants.  As I said the other day, why is it that the greatest phone on earth gets more and more crippled every day?  Usain Bolt is the best sprinter on Earth, but break his legs and make him carry Steve Jobs on his back, and my 3 year old could beat him.

Phones are like sports.  What happens in practice really doesn’t matter.  It’s all about what happens during the game.  And Apple is royally screwing up this game.

It’s time to take back that free pass, and make Apple understand that there is a limit to customer loyalty.  If we have to vote with our feet and pocketbooks, so be it.

Otherwise, Apple will eventually win the inexplicable war it is waging against the iPhone.  And if that happens, no one wins.

Well, except maybe Google.