VoiceCentral iPhone developer frustrated with Apple

Apple pulled VoiceCentral from the App Store, saying it duplicates features on the iPhone, says developer. The app had been available for the past four months.

Jim Dalrymple Special to CNET News
Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to record music using a Macintosh. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. He currently runs The Loop.
Jim Dalrymple
2 min read

The mystery surrounding Apple's approval process on the App Store is legendary. What gets approved or rejected on any given day can be a source of bewilderment for developers and consumers alike. But the company still surprised everyone when it rejected Google's Voice app for the iPhone on Tuesday.

(Credit: Apple)

The story doesn't end there. Apple then proceeded to remove third-party apps from the App Store that it said duplicate features of the iPhone. One of those apps is called VoiceCentral, and the developer is understandably upset.

Riverturn's VoiceCentral has been available in the App Store for the past four months. The app integrates Google's GrandCentral and Google Voice with the iPhone.

Until this week, everything was going fine for the developer. He submitted the app and was approved by Apple. He released updates and they were approved by Apple. Then, all of a sudden and without warning, his app was pulled from the store.

What seems to be the most upsetting part of the whole situation is that the developer can't get any answers from Apple. In a telephone conversation with the Apple representative who was tasked to inform him the app was being removed, the most common answer from Apple seemed to be "I can't say."

In a blog post on Riverturn's Web site Tuesday, the developer paraphrased the call. At one point the developer asks the Apple rep if there's something he can change in the app so it can be resubmitted to the App Store. The response: "I can't say."

The developer then asks, "if we can't figure out the issue then how will we know whether to resubmit the app. And how will we know whether to invest in any other development efforts? Future apps could be impacted."

The response: "I can't help you with that."

As if that wasn't enough, The Unofficial Apple Weblog is reporting that the developer is now being flooded with refund requests from customers. The problem is Apple keeps its 30 percent commission, but the developer has to refund the entire amount to the customer.