94 thoughts on “Apple admits AT&T pulled all GV apps

  1. Total B.S.!!!! glad I got the app when it first came out but this is crap. I dont get why apple cares WTF at&t wants, without the iphone at&t would be hurting BIG TIME! yet every carrier out there would kill to be able to carry the iPhone.

  2. @kingoftowns

    Sadly, Apple has profit sharing with AT&T so it’s in their (current) best interest to keep AT&T happy no matter how horrible their service is.

    This is outrageous but it doesn’t seem like Apple is going to ease up on the AppStore policy anytime soon. They are running it like communist China and fanboy or not, I hope it comes back to haunt them.

  3. @BigUps
    Absolutely. Getting a refund is not a good idea. That hurts Sean big time, but not crApple.

    There’s no doubt this decision will bring AT&T and crApple to their knees. We just have to band together to make it happen.

    As far as I’m concerned, AT&T and crApple don’t exist, period.

    My friend will cancel his family contract with AT&T this week for T-Mobile; I will make &25 in referral fees.

  4. @BigUps
    Yes… Sean received 70% of the $2.99 you paid for his product. If you request a refund, Sean will have to pay 100% of the 2.99 back. He’ll pay more than he received.

    The product still works, I’m keeping it. And even if it didn’t work, I would refund. It’s not fair to Sean.

  5. Has the source being checked? Is it real, or just a hoax? The “Yea” and the wording just doesn’t click for me (“on this unfortunated removal of a great application”).

  6. Just bit the bullet and cancelled my AT&T contract. No more 80 dollars a month just for the privilege of using my iphone anywhere. I am mostly in wifi areas so I will make due with wifi iphone usage, GV Mobile, siphon for free voip. Never used SMS much anyway so won’t miss. Will miss 3G data anywhere, but that is not worth 80 dollars a month. Will be rolling with free telephony. See how it goes.

  7. This is not a hoax, I am the one who spoke with the rep and I had the apple chat log emailed to me as well. I did not provide the chat log as their is sensitive information in the beginning of it. I asked for a refund incase google makes any changes to GV and the app becomes broken I will not be able to use the product anymore. I hope the money doesn’t come from Sean’s pocket as it’s not his fault.

  8. I just posted a story on my blog about at&t denying they had anything to do with it (can find the link in the trackbacks tab). I really don’t care who’s fault it is, I just want to see all the GV apps back in the app store!

  9. @sean I did not meant it that way. You did not take that screenshot, correct? I was simply wondering. I learned long ago not to take anything I care about as a fact, without due and thorough research, specially if it comes from the Net.

  10. Let’s keep AT&T phone riging voicing our dissatisfaction over what they did with crApple. I just called two different depatments, and gave them a piece of my mind. AT&T: 1-800-331-0500.

  11. Not that it will do any good but below are AT&T executive contacts, lets flood them with emails and calls…

    AT&T Wireless Executive Customer Service:
    MaryMichelle Timbang
    AT&T Wireless, HQ – Office of the President
    Executive Customer Service
    MT6973@att.com

    AT&T CEO, Randall Stephenson:
    Randall Stephenson, AT&T CEO
    randall.stephenson@att.com
    +1-210-821-4105

  12. @Pissed off
    Power to the people. I just called the office of the president, and letf my complaint. I have a very strog feeling that AT&T is beginning to worry about all this. We need to keep the pressure on them crApple and AT&T.

    AT&T office of the president, 877 707 6220, and voice your complaints.

  13. First I encourage EVERYONE to demand a refund from Apple. I know this might suck for Sean, but 1000’s of people demanding their money back will be heard much louder inside Apple than a bunch of comments on random blogs that very few people pay any attention to. This practice of pull apps and changing the rules on developers mid-stream has to stop.

    Second, I would highly encourage anyone that manages to get a refund out of Apple turn around and donate that money to Sean for the continued development of GV Mobile on Cydia (Jailbreak).

    I’m sure that what brought all this to the fore was that Google submitted a native GV app and Apple/AT&T realized approving it was putting them on a slippery slope that once on they’d NEVER be able to stop. A native Google Voice app, even if not in V1.0, would eventually decimate AT&T’s SMS and Voicemail bussiness in a way that an independent developer would be very unlikely ever to. Google WOULD eventually add push SMS notification and VOIP. Further, having a brand name like Google behind the app would increase adoption 100 fold, that’s just the reality of having a big name brand, and then there really would be no way to pull the app.

    The mistake, I hope, is them thinking they can get away with pulling it now… we NEED to make a lot of noise. This NEEDS to be picked up in the popular press (FT, WSJ, NYT, etc…).

    If indeed Apple is pulling money back from Sean then suddenly this becomes a compelling story that the press might cover, Sean, I encourage you to reach out to the press (and I don’TUAW/MacRumors)… start with ARSTech/Wired and try for a major paper….

  14. @Jon
    I don’t see why Sean needs to pay for this though. Remember, he pays the 30% that Apple collected as a commission. He will be LOSING money instead of just breaking even.

  15. We need to ring crApple and AT&T phones off the hook until they get the message.

    We need the attention of mainstream media asap; this is bigger than anyone can think. This is not a joke folks.

    I personally think AT&T and crApple will regret this decision.

  16. Flood CNNs iReport and keep calling AT&T and Apple’s executive offices. The louder we are the more likely someone will listen.

  17. @YCF
    Dude enough with the crApple, we get it. Unless Sean thinks otherwise i don’t see how a bunch of people demanding refunds is going to affect Apple, and it just hurts him.

  18. I don’t have an iPhone. I seriously considered getting one but this sort of practice makes it even less likely I’ll ever get one. Regardless expect my $3.00 donation.

  19. The part I don’t understand is if they are going to remove the apps, why aren’t they blocking the google voice mobile website also in Safari? All of the same functionality with free sms, voicemail, international calling and “iPhone duplication” features are there even if they’re more of a pain in the ass to use. They aren’t banning the functionality of Google Voice on iPhone, they are just making it slightly more annoying to use. This is going to fail bigtime.

  20. I’m in contact with apple.. I told them I do not want a “refund”, but, compensation for the fraudulent act they committed. I don’t want to hurt Sean, but I DO want to hurt Apple and AT&T. Apple needs to compensate and NOT via. a refund. This issue has really pissed me off…

  21. Sean, can you let us know if you actually end up getting hit by the rebate request or not? I don’t want to take money out of your pocket, but since Apple pulled it maybe they’re eating the cost? In which case, we as customers have every right to demand a rebate over this ridiculous decision by them (regardless of whether AT&T forced them into it or not).

  22. Although I agree that calling execs and sending emails is a good step, I think that some are over-reacting a bit. yes this is a big deal, yes they did something they shouldnt for very vauge reasons, however there is nothing unethical about their actions. if you are upset feel free to voice those objections however as a company apple has the right to pull anything off the app store at any time. Delevopers don’t have a right to publish to the app store it is a privilege. That said I think that sean did deserve an straight answer for why they took his app off the store.

    If you don’t like what they choose to allow in their app store, jailbreak. It’s that simple. This attitude of entitlement is NOT what will get the attention of apple. telling them “This is bs I want gv on the app store and if you dont ill cancel my contract” just sounds like a temper tantrum. they will call your bluff weither you’re bluffing or not, and above that it was apple’s choice not at&t and apple already got their money for your iphone. so canceling your contract doesnt hurt apple.

    All that said, keep calling apple and at&t. Tell them how much this app meant to you, and that as a CUSTOMER you feel this app was an example of the very reason you wanted an iphone. cutting edge functionality. you want the best and you pay a premium for it and they are making a decision that undercuts you. Tell at&t to pressure apple to bring it back. tell apple that you disagree with their decision and they need to hold themselves to the standards they claim, being the best. apple is always saying how it’s on the cutting edge, that it is the elite. tell them if they want to be elite they need to act like it.

    These are business men and women you are talking to, not 4 year olds on a playground. Stop throwing sand and pulling hair. Start acting like adults.

  23. Hi Sean, should we uninstall the App Store app before installing the Cydia app? I downloaded the Cydia App without removing the App Store App (thinking I’d just download another program) but it looks like it changed the icon. Not sure if I’m going to get updates this way. What do you recommend?

  24. iPhone returned to AT&T store yesterday. Contract terminated early. T-Mobile account opened, HTC Hero ordered. Looking forward to delivery.

  25. My chat with Apple support was less than helpful:

    Welcome to iTunes Store Chat!
    Hi, my name is Raquel. It’ll be just a moment while I review the comments you provided.
    Raquel: Hello Nathan
    Nathan : Hi.
    Raquel: I hope you are having a great day, How may I assist you today?
    Nathan: I ‘m wondering what’s up with Google Voice apps being removed from the app store. I already bought it so now I can’t even get updates for it.
    Raquel: may I have the item name so i can look it up please
    Natha: GV Mobile
    Raquel: Im sorry I cannot comment as I am only the billing department
    Nathan: Can I get with someone who CAN comment?
    Raquel: I encourage you to use the iTunes Feedback page to submit your comments:
    Raquel: http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html
    Raquel: They will be able to comment as we do not remove the items another department does
    Raquel: but you can provide your feedback
    Nathan: They don’t respond. So again, may I chat with someone who CAN comment?
    Raquel: This is the only link I can provide as they do take comments into consideration
    Nathan: Maybe. But with no response. Am I to assume Apple will not even speak with their customers about applications previously purchased and then suddenly removed for no reason?
    Raquel: One moment please
    Nathan: Please let me chat with someone who can address my concerns.
    Nathan Green: Or give me a phone number to call.
    Raquel: I wish I could provide you with a number or a link as this is the only link I can provide
    Nathan: This brush off is unacceptable. Please let me chat with someone who can address my concerns.
    Raquel: One moment please as i get further assistance
    Nathan: Thank you.
    Raquel: Thank you for waiting. I’ll be with you in just a moment.
    Nathan: Okay…
    Raquel: Well, this is under the Terms for the App store, “Prices and availability of any Products are subject to change at any time.” If the developer took down an app, you might want to contact the developer to request it be added, or for more info on why.
    Nathan: The developer did NOT remove the app. Apple did. Thus, I am contacting Apple.
    Raquel: Well, this goes back to the Terms that says, “Prices and availability of any Products are subject to change at any time.”
    Raquel: http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html#APPS
    Nathan: I purchased it expecting updates in the future. Those updates are now not possible because Apple arbitrarily removed it. I’ve read about this happening but it has never affected me. It’s ridiculous.
    Raquel: I can issue a refund if you would like is that alright
    Nathan: As far as the terms and conditions go, it would not have changed if Apple hadn’t removed it. Again, why I am contacting Apple.
    Nathan Green: I don’t want a refund. From what I have read that will remove my ability to sync that application, which I have come to depend on.
    Raquel: This items was free and you were not charged
    Nathan: It was NOT free! It was a few bucks.
    Nathan: You may be looking at the free version, but there was a paid version too.
    Raquel: GV Mobile I see is on your account and it was free.
    Raquel: I will escalate this and my superir will contact you via email.
    Nathan: How am I supposed to trust that my purchases will be available for update if Apple simply removes purchased apps at a whim?
    Raquel: My superior will contact you and they will contact you is their anything else I can assist you with?
    Nathan: Fine. I look forward to a reasonable reply for this nonsense.
    Nathan: No. Thank you for your time.

  26. You can keep your App Store version for now…but the update does his Cydia, then you can remove it and install the Cydia version. Their the same for now…

  27. @David
    Why did you have to return the iPhone if you terminated contract early (was it within 30 days)? Also, how did you manage to get HTC Hero on T-Mobile?

    Sean – this just sucks!

  28. @Vishal

    Long story re: 3GS return. Not within 30 days, but due to a previous AT&T situation my wife and I were able to return. Regarding T-Mobile, “G2 Touch” from their UK arm thanks to my companies sizable international contract.

  29. Here’s what I did.. This hurts **APPLE** and not Sean! I called up apple corporate offices and told them that I want my money back as “compensation” — NOT as a refund. I was very specific that I did not want a refund on the app; that I wanted APPLE to cover my cost. They ended up crediting my account for 5-free song downloads, (Yes, it was pathetic, but, it’s something.. and it’s something that won’t hurt Sean, but DOES cost Apple money).

    I spoke to Robert Burger @ Apple Corporate care. You can reach him at 512-674-2500 x 40267. Give him a call and let him know how you feel about what happened…

  30. sean :
    @Nathan Not a chance in hell…but worth a shot. lol

    Believe it or not, someone actually wrote back. I am attempting to argue from the customer perspective, but it’s not sinking in:

    On Jul 30, 2009, at 9:53 AM, iTunes Store wrote:

    Hi Nathan,

    I understand that the App “GV Mobile” has been removed from the App
    Store, and you cannot receive updates.

    My name is Andrew, I am a senior iTunes Store support agent, and
    your issue has been escalated to me for further review.

    Please note the following, taken from the App Store Terms of Sale:
    http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html#APPS

    “Apple reserves the right not to post or publish any materials, and
    to delete, remove or edit any material, at any time in its sole
    discretion without notice or liability.”

    “Removal of Apple Content or Other Materials. Notwithstanding any
    other provision of this Agreement, Apple and its principals reserve
    the right to change, suspend, remove, or disable access to any
    Products, content, or other materials comprising a part of the
    Service at any time without notice. In no event will Apple be liable
    for the removal of or disabling of access to any such Products,
    content or materials under this Agreement. Apple may also impose
    limits on the use of or access to certain features or portions of
    the Service, in any case and without notice or liability.”

    Your request for a refund for “GV Mobile” was carefully considered;
    however, according to the iTunes Store Terms of Sale, all purchases
    made on the iTunes Store are final. This policy matches Apple’s
    refund policies and provides protection for copyrighted materials.

    You can review the iTunes Store Terms of Sale for more information:
    http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/sales.html

    Sincerely,

    Andrew
    iTunes Store Customer Support Tier 2

    Please Note: My scheduled work hours are:
    Sun – Thurs, 6AM – 3PM Pacific

    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. You may
    receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be
    greatly appreciated.

    —-I wrote back…

    Andrew,

    I wasn’t asking for a refund. I was asking how I can possibly trust
    that my purchases will receive updates from the developer when Apple
    arbitrarily removes them. It’s not a matter of money (it was less
    than $5). I should be able to reasonably expect the developer to
    provide updates, but Apple removed that possibility. I want a valid
    response to this concern, not avoidance of the question.

    Thanks,

    -Nathan

    On Jul 30, 2009, at 1:49 PM, iTunes Store wrote:

    Hi Nathan,

    I encourage you to use the iTunes Feedback page to submit your comments:
    http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html

    Please note: Apple considers this matter closed.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew
    iTunes Store Customer Support Tier 2

    Please Note: My scheduled work hours are:
    Sun – Thurs, 6AM – 3PM Pacific

    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. You may receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated.

    —-Once again me:

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m not trying to be rude here, but you have got to be kidding me. There has been no resolution or even a single attempt to address my concern. Matters are only closed when both parties agree they are closed. And I certainly do not consider this closed. I await a response to my below referenced concern.

    -Nathan

  31. And finally just now:

    Hi Nathan,

    Apple considers this matter closed. You will receive no further correspondence regarding this.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew
    iTunes Store Customer Support Tier 2

    Apparently they care neither about their customers or developers.

  32. Nathan :
    And finally just now:
    Hi Nathan,
    Apple considers this matter closed. You will receive no further correspondence regarding this.
    Sincerely,
    Andrew
    iTunes Store Customer Support Tier 2
    Apparently they care neither about their customers or developers.

    Well, lucky for you, the FCC doesn’t consider the matter closed. I’m a broadcast engineer by trade, and the Commission only sends those types of letters when they’re getting ready to open a can of whoop-ass.

  33. Robbie :
    Well, lucky for you, the FCC doesn’t consider the matter closed. I’m a broadcast engineer by trade, and the Commission only sends those types of letters when they’re getting ready to open a can of whoop-ass.

    I certainly hope you’re right. I am usually against the feds getting involved, but this is too much.

  34. Austin Storm :
    I hope Raymond doesn’t get into trouble…

    If he dose the blame should placed on sean for posting it in the first place without blurring the poor guy’s name.

  35. I sure hope you have submitted this screenshot to the FCC, this is directly answering some of the interogatories the FCC sent to Apple and AT&T. This may be valuable rebuttal evidence. In other words, if AT&T denies involvement (they have already publicly said to talk to Apple about Apple’s policies), the FCC will say, well why did Apple say otherwise here.

    If you all get a chance to read the letters sent by the FCC to AT&T and Apple (they are on the FCC wireless page), you will see that they are currently considering making rules regulating other exclusionary practices related to wireless carriers as anti-trust type violations. The FCC is getting serious, and we may even see the Department of Justice, Anti-Trust division come in on this, time will tell.

    I am a third year law student at the University of Florida, and I have begun a blog tracking legal issues surrounding white collar crime and cyber terrorism. Your predicament, in relation to the FCC’s actions with Google, Apple, and AT&T is my most recent post.

    Please feel free to visit my blog or email me:
    http://www.modernbandit.com
    charlie@modernbandit.com

  36. Somebody brought up a very good point on TechCrunch article yeerday concerning this. He said “This smart phone (iphone) is essentially a computer with operating system and an ability to install third party software like any other computer….Just imagine what would happen if Microsoft would make an agreement with Comcast and set up a list of software you are allowed to install. What if they allow you to connect to internet only through Comcast? What if Comcast decides they don’t like some software and a week later Microsoft would FORBID using it without any meaningful explanation? That would definitely be considered mafia-like behavior and nobody would tolerate it. We are not tolerating this behavior neither from China, US government, Microsoft, nor from Comcast. For how long are we going to tolerate this behavior from Apple?

    Also,….

    Answers to numbers #1, 2, 3 and 5 can be found right here on this page. Sean keep up the good work.

    Questions from FCC letter to Apple

    1. Why did Apple reject the Google Voice application for iPhone and
    remove related third-party applications from its App Store? In addition to
    Google Voice, which related third-party applications were removed or
    have been rejected? Please provide the specific name of each application
    and the contact information for the developer.

    2. Did Apple act alone, or in consultation with AT&T, in deciding to reject
    the Google Voice application and related applications? If the latter, please
    describe the communications between Apple and AT&T in connection
    with the decision to reject Google Voice. Are there any contractual
    conditions or non-contractual understandings with AT&T that affected
    Apple’s decision in this matter?

    3. Does AT&T have any role in the approval of iPhone applications
    generally (or in certain cases)? If so, under what circumstances, and what role does it play? What roles are specified in the contractual provisions
    between Apple and AT&T (or any non-contractual understandings)
    regarding the consideration of particular iPhone applications?

    4. Please explain any differences between the Google Voice iPhone
    application and any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications that
    Apple has approved for the iPhone. Are any of the approved VoIP
    applications allowed to operate on AT&T’s 3G network?

    5. What other applications have been rejected for use on the iPhone and for
    what reasons? Is there a list of prohibited applications or of categories of
    applications that is provided to potential vendors/developers? If so, is this
    posted on the iTunes website or otherwise disclosed to consumers?

    6. What are the standards for considering and approving iPhone
    applications? What is the approval process for such applications (timing,
    reasons for rejection, appeal process, etc.)? What is the percentage of
    applications that are rejected? What are the major reasons for rejecting an
    application?

  37. Somebody brought up a very good point on TechCrunch article yeerday concerning this. He said “This smart phone (iphone) is essentially a computer with operating system and an ability to install third party software like any other computer….Just imagine what would happen if Microsoft would make an agreement with Comcast and set up a list of software you are allowed to install. What if they allow you to connect to internet only through Comcast? What if Comcast decides they don’t like some software and a week later Microsoft would FORBID using it without any meaningful explanation? That would definitely be considered mafia-like behavior and nobody would tolerate it. We are not tolerating this behavior neither from China, US government, Microsoft, nor from Comcast. For how long are we going to tolerate this behavior from Apple?

    Also,….

    Answers to numbers #1, 2, 3 and 5 can be found right here on this page. Sean keep up the good work.

    Questions from FCC letter to Apple

    1. Why did Apple reject the Google Voice application for iPhone and
    remove related third-party applications from its App Store? In addition to
    Google Voice, which related third-party applications were removed or
    have been rejected? Please provide the specific name of each application
    and the contact information for the developer.

    2. Did Apple act alone, or in consultation with AT&T, in deciding to reject
    the Google Voice application and related applications? If the latter, please
    describe the communications between Apple and AT&T in connection
    with the decision to reject Google Voice. Are there any contractual
    conditions or non-contractual understandings with AT&T that affected
    Apple’s decision in this matter?

    3. Does AT&T have any role in the approval of iPhone applications
    generally (or in certain cases)? If so, under what circumstances, and what role does it play? What roles are specified in the contractual provisions
    between Apple and AT&T (or any non-contractual understandings)
    regarding the consideration of particular iPhone applications?

    4. Please explain any differences between the Google Voice iPhone
    application and any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications that
    Apple has approved for the iPhone. Are any of the approved VoIP
    applications allowed to operate on AT&T’s 3G network?

    5. What other applications have been rejected for use on the iPhone and for
    what reasons? Is there a list of prohibited applications or of categories of
    applications that is provided to potential vendors/developers? If so, is this
    posted on the iTunes website or otherwise disclosed to consumers?

    6. What are the standards for considering and approving iPhone
    applications? What is the approval process for such applications (timing,
    reasons for rejection, appeal process, etc.)? What is the percentage of
    applications that are rejected? What are the major reasons for rejecting an
    application?

    @David

  38. @Nathan nothing the guy told you is false. it is in the terms and conditions that all sales are final and nothing is guaranteed to be available for forever. not songs, movies or apps. the guy is doing his job. and within the limits of this job there is nothing more he can do. he gave you another route, which he probably didn’t have to do. get off him and either shut up or take his suggestion.

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