Update: YouMail’s app is back in the Android Market after some more communication between the voicemail company and T-Mobile. That revealed that there was no competitive issue between YouMail and T-Mobile, but actually a glitch for some 15,000 users of the app that resulted in battery drain and network strain — a problem that YouMail has now started to correct at its servers, and also by encouraging the affected users to download a new version of the app. More in a blog post from the CEO here. The original post follows.
Another day, and another app pulled abruptly from an app store. Today, it’s the turn of the Android Market, which has removed the visual voicemail app YouMail app as of today after T-Mobile USA complained that it was causing network disruption.
The company’s CEO, Alex Quilici, has wasted no time in penning a blog post laying out his side of the story: “First, T-mobile has never contacted YouMail to say there was an issue. Not once….If there’s an issue with a service running on your network, isn’t it reasonable to simply contact the providers of that service?
“Second, none of the other carriers – AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon, or Sprint (NYSE: S) – has ever complained about YouMail. And we’re doing huge volumes of calls, well over 50 million calls every month, and growing.”
He also points out that other carriers preload the app, that other still-live apps use the same network feature as YouMail does, and that it’s “not some fly-by-night” company, with three million downloads and two million registered users (and $13 million in funding). Wouldn’t there have been a complaint from someone else before now if there was a network interference issue, he asks?
Quilici implies that there may be a competitive issue for T-Mobile here — not concerning its merger with AT&T, although he brings that up, too, but that YouMail is used more than one of T-Mobile’s own products, Visual Voicemail, presumably. We’ve gone back to T-Mobile for its response to this claim.
It’s an ironic turn of events, considering that T-Mobile once was the subject of a removal of one of its services — the internet-calling app Bobsled removed from Facebook — when it looked too much like a service that Facebook itself was offering (and may well do in future).
And it’s an Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) kind of news day, it seems, because YouMail’s CEO ends his diatribe with the following send-off: “In the meantime, you can download YouMail from Amazon (incidentally, a great app store!) [here] … if you want to see what’s coming.”
It doesn’t seem from Quilici’s letter that access to YouMail is getting blocked — just access for new users to get the app from the Market.
One thing seems more clear, though: YouMail seems to be trying as much as it can to turn this distribution mishap into marketing gold. Judging by the number of bloggers that have jumped on this story already, it seems to be working so far.