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Apple and Google at War: Am I the Casualty?

I wrote earlier this week about how excited I am to try Google Voice, given its potential for making my life easier and more productive. But now I'm hearing that last week, Apple blocked Google Voice from its App Store -- which really stinks for iPhone users like me who were looking forward to a marriage of two killer products.

Why the block? Filthy lucre, my friends. TechCrunch and various other sources think that AT&T, the iPhone's exclusive carrier, was to blame for the Google Voice ban because the carrier didn't like GV's user-friendly perks like free texting and 2-cent international calling.

But maybe it was an Apple play all along, say others. Well, even if AT&T is just a pinata in a high-stakes war being waged by Apple and Google, the net result is that restrictions like these will hit users like me the hardest.

The iPhone was supposed to make my life easier (and, thus far, it has; I still love the device). But if Apple/AT&T are going to be the guardians at the gate of MY productivity, that's going a bit too far.

What's next? Banning Skype, FreeMMS and other apps that let you do some of the exact same things as Google Voice? It's enough to make someone think about switching over to a BlackBerry.

Apple's already done plenty to earn the ire of the formerly faithful. It already screwed early adopters by slashing the price of the original iPhone scant weeks after its release. It stuck us with AT&T and its spotty service, dropped calls, and outrageous prices. And now it's following the iTunes model and creating another closed universe for us?

On the bright side, as David Pogue noted today, Apple/AT&T have now thrown down the gauntlet to programmers everywhere to find workarounds. Indeed, Google is working on a specialized, iPhone-shaped Web page that'll offer the same features as the rejected app. And if the blogosphere buzz (yes, I admit that I'm jumping on that bandwagon too) continues to build, you've got to think that's something's gotta give.

Either that, or I'll be checking out the Palm Pre in the near future.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments section.