Why did Apple okay RingCentral?

August 24, 2009: 10:22 AM ET

RingCentral MobileHere's a question the FCC neglected to ask Apple (AAPL) in its inquiry into why the company rejected -- or as Apple prefers, declined to approve -- Google Voice:

Why has a free app that does essentially the same thing -- and would seem to raise the same red flags for Apple -- been sitting on the App Store for nearly 10 months?

The app is called RingCentral Mobile and not only does it perform most of the same functions as the Google (GOOG) app that's making all the headlines -- universal telephone number, voicemail, dial-by-name directory, click-to-call, call forwarding, answering rules, call screening, music on hold, etc. -- it was the template on which both Google Voice, and its predecessor, GrandCentral, were built.

Moreover, unlike Google Voice, RingCentral uses VoIP -- the voice-over-Internet protocol that causes AT&T (T) such problems. But like Google Voice, it "alter[s] the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls ... and voicemail" -- to quote from the explanation Apple gave the FCC for why it didn't okay Google Voice. More

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