Yesterday the word came down that two of the third party developed iPhone apps that work with Google Voice had been removed by Apple according to TechCrunch.
Upon reflecting on the move one has to look more closely at the players involved and recognize that there is more here than simply the blocking of an app or two by Apple. On one hand this is all about Apple's radical integration and their agreements with the mobile operators. Until they expire Apple has some contractual clauses that have to be honored or face the risk of contractual breech. On the other hand, Apple isn't stupid and as we've already reported about the Comcast application as an inside ambush, I'll say that Apple's exclusion of both a Google Latitude application and now the GoogleVoice applications are more deeply motivated.
Until Google got into the handset business, Apple and Google were friends. The two shared a similar viewpoint. Google's Eric Schmidt sits on the Apple board of directors and both love the cloud. Now with Android Google competes with Apple for phones, and while not directly but through partners like HTC, Samsung and Motorola, Google has a head to head battle at retail for mobile device sales with the iPhone.
But that was not the big swipe at Apple, but instead was the announcement of a web/cloud oriented OS that Google is building based on Chrome which while many look at as a threat to Microsoft, is also something that Apple has to at least look at with some cautious eye.
This tete-a-tete is nothing more than corporate brinksmanship and has to be looked at that way.My guess is some level of detente will come about, but not until all sides in the mix get beyond table stakes and start looking at how much open costs to really play the game. Currently playing in iTunes: End of the World by The Time Tunnel