Updated. After a T-Mobile complaint, Google pulled the YouMail voicemail app from the Android Market on Thursday. YouMail’s CEO, Alex Quilici, doesn’t understand why, and Google has referred him to T-Mobile for a resolution. At the time of the news, I asked T-Mobile what the issue is that caused it to complain to Google, and I received this response early on Friday morning:
We reached out to YouMail in early November and asked them to address issues with their application that were negatively impacting our customers’ experience. We’re in contact with YouMail and they are working to resolve these issues. Once they do, we’ll be glad to once again support their application.
This statement differs from the one in YouMail’s blog post on the situation, which says “T-mobile has never contacted YouMail to say there was an issue. Not once.” It could be a matter of miscommunication, in that a T-Mobile rep contacted a YouMail rep and Quilici simply isn’t aware of the conversation (maybe someone simply left a voicemail?). Obviously I have no idea what really happened, as this is turning into a “he said, she said” issue.
But there’s a bigger, underlying problem, even if T-Mobile and YouMail sort this out, as I hope they do. The fact that one carrier can complain to Google and have an app completely removed from the Android Market is concerning in itself.
Google apparently has no interest in mediating such situations and instead, at least in this case, simply removed a third-party app without performing any due diligence. Even worse: YouMail isn’t removed from the Android Market just for T-Mobile customers; it’s gone for Android users on all carriers, even though the other carriers haven’t complained about the app.
Again, I hope that YouMail and T-Mobile resolve whatever the issue there is. My larger hope is that Google looks more closely at its role in this situation so that in the future, consumers aren’t the ones caught in the middle of a dispute between developers and carriers.
Update: The situation is now resolved and is based on what I expected: mis-communication. YouMail will be back in the Android Market shortly and the details of the issue are in a YouMail blog post. Essentially, one software update release caused the app to constantly poll YouMail’s servers.