One bug in all this free app talk has been the recent Google Voice application for the iPhone that was shot down by Apple. According to Google, "Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store. We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users--for example, by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers."
All third-party applications that use Google Voice have also been pulled by Apple. There were varying explanations about why this was done - the apps duplicate features that come with the iPhone etc.
But most of the buzz online about this centered on the theory that AT&T, the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S., wanted it killed. Google Voice is a free application that some say is an "end run" around wireless carriers because it allows for free texts and international calls for a few pennies (users do still use minutes on their AT&T phone plan).
Of course, Apple has its own reasons too. They probably don't want Google's Android operating system, which is a big competitor to the iPhone OS, to gain any extra ground, especially from within their own app store.
Corporate intrigue abounds... The Federal Communications Commission is checking out things and sending letters
to Apple, AT&T and Google. Google's chief executive stepped down from Apple's board.
Text messages are big moneymakers for the carriers - 20 cents for you, basically no cost to them. International calls? They didn't block Skype, so why block Google? Oh, that's right - because they are GOOGLE.
Google says they can work around the ban with a specialized, iPhone-shaped web page that will behave the same as the app. Would Apple dare to block a web page?