Apple Blocks Google Voice-Enabled Apps (Incl. Google's!) From the App Store

We wrote earlier about the new BlackBerry and Android Google Voice apps that Google had released. They offer great functionality, allowing you to dial directly from your phone with your Google Voice number, but there was no iPhone version. Well, we'll never see it, unless Apple relents.

Word comes that Apple has rejected the official Google version of the app. Not only that, it is removing all Google Voice-enabled applications from the App Store. For example, GV Mobile, while currently still listed at AppShopper, is gone, if you try to click through to iTunes.

So is VoiceCentral, which was just updated and re-approved on June 27th. Here's what the developer of GV Mobile said:

Richard Chipman from Apple just called - he told me they’re removing GV Mobile from the App Store due to it duplicating features that the iPhone comes with (Dialer, SMS, etc). He didn’t actually specify which features, although I assume the whole app in general. He wouldn’t send a confirmation email either - too scared I would post it.

As I said, they even blocked the official Google version. Not even Google's influence could get the app into the App Store. Here's what they told TechCrunch:

We work hard to bring Google applications to a number of mobile platforms, including the iPhone. Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store. We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users — for example, by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers.

Speculation is that the reason for the removal and blockage of all these apps is a revenue threat against AT&T. With a Google Voice number, even without the rumored number portability Google is working on, you could move from carrier to carrier with no pain. Of course, you can still make a call using your Google Voice number on an iPhone, just not conveniently. Call your Google Voice number, logg in, and press 2. Then enter the number you want to call.

That doesn't solve being able to send SMS messages from the phone (well, we suppose you could use the site via the iPhone's Safari browser).

Our guess is that Google will figure out a way to mobilize the Google Voice site for the iPhone in such a way that it's relatively convenient. Until then: Apple wins, so does AT&T, and users lose.