Google and Apple: Honeymoon Over
Maybe the conflict between two giants was brewing in the background the whole time. The partnership between Apple and Google looks to be on edge ever since Google decided to get into the mobile phone business, launching the open source platform Android.
Apple, as we know from countless reports of application bans, rescinded approvals, and the rejection of Google Voice, keeps strict and inconsistent control of their iPhone OS. In fact, previous Google apps appearing in the App Store have had the privilege of using tools hidden from the average developer.
Now Google is responding to the rejection of Google Voice, announcing a full-blown web application designed for the iPhone. Although web apps have been largely ignored since the launch of the App Store, they can still be useful.
Original iPhone owners will remember a time when this was the only way (short of jailbreaking) that additional functionality came to the iPhone. Google is making a statement by developing the Google Voice app for iPhone on the web. After all, the Google Voice application is available on BlackBerry devices.
Sean Kovacs, the developer of a third-party Google Voice client, saw his app removed from the App Store months after it was approved. He promptly made GV Mobile available for free on jailbroken phones via Cydia.
It's clear a company like Google would frown upon releasing a jailbreak app of its own. However, a great demand exists for this application, made evident by the angry reaction from all quarters to Apple's rejection.
AT&T would not accept the blame this time, so the ball lands squarely in Apple's court. The FCC is now investigating the matter. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple’s board of directors after scrutiny from the FTC amid concern over antitrust issues.
Conflicts of interest in Schmidt's position were also cited by Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. According to analyst Keith Bachman at BMO Capital Markets, "Google and Apple are increasingly on a collision course."
Although Apple is perceived as acting like a tyrant, there are no surprises here. It's possible the company did nothing wrong acting in its own interest. Problem is, perception means a lot in this game.
Both companies are pushing the limits of technology, but only while it's profitable. Soon the next great idea will come along, announced by a tiny startup working in a garage.