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Google says Voice was "rejected" from iPhone App Store

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday posted the un-redacted version of Google's letter regarding the iPhone App Store at the request of the search company, bringing new revelations in the Google Voice dispute.

Google's letter directly contradicts Apple's own claim that the Google Voice application was not outright rejected from the App Store. Apple, in its own note to the FCC, said it simply had not accepted the software, essentially leaving it in a state of limbo. Google, however, opted to use different language to describe the application's status.

"Apple's representatives informed Google that the Google Voice application was rejected because Apple believed the application duplicated the core dialer functionality of the iPhone," the letter said. "The Apple representatives indicated that the company did not want applications that could potentially replace such functionality."

In a post on Google's Public Policy Blog, Richard Whitt, Washington telecom and media counsel for Google, said that Google initially redacted information from its letter to the FCC — mostly descriptions of e-mails, telephone conversations and meetings between Google and Apple executives — in the interest of protecting sensitive conversations between two companies. The letters were filed at the request of the FCC, after Google was unable to have its Google Voice telephony application approved for use on the iPhone by Apple.

After Apple posted its letter in its entirety for the public, Google decided it would do the same.

"Shortly afterward, several individuals and organizations submitted Freedom of Information Act requests with the FCC seeking access to this information," Whitt said. "While we could have asked the FCC to oppose those requests, in light of Apple's decision to make its own letter fully public and in the interest of transparency, we decided to drop our request for confidentiality."

In its letter, Google also explained that the Google Latitude application was rejected because Apple believed the software could replace the native Maps application included with the iPhone, and also "create user confusion" with the preloaded version of Google Maps.

Google Voice was discussed a number of times between the two companies with meetings in person, and via phone calls and e-mails. Google said the primary contacts between the two were Alan Eustace, Google's senior vice president of Engineering & Research, and Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. On June 2, Google said, Schiller informed Eustace that Apple rejected Google Voice from the App Store.

In its letter, Google also argued that some of its other, previously approved applications duplicate features of the iPhone's native software. Google said that its Earth application is similar to the iPhone Maps application, and that the Google Mobile Application allows users to search much like the Web search in Apple's Safari browser.

In its own letter filed in August, Apple said it did not reject Google Voice, but that the company "continues to study it." The letter from Apple confirms what was written in Google's own note to the FCC: That the iPhone maker felt Google Voice replaced the core functionality of the device and replicated the Apple user interface.