Apple ditches YouTube app in iOS 6

Apple’s next version of iOS will not include a pre-loaded app for Google’s YouTube, the iPhone maker has revealed.

Apple ditches YouTube app in iOS 6

Apple said in a statement that its license to include the YouTube app in the iOS operating system “has ended”. Apple noted that “customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the app store”.

The move is the latest salvo in the companies’ fight for smartphone supremacy and follows Apple also ditching Google’s mapping service earlier this year.

With Nokia, Microsoft and RIM’s BlackBerry increasingly marginalised in the smartphone space, Google and Apple are focused on each other.

“Apple and Google are the mobile operating systems for the future and this is where the battleground is going to lie,” said Needham analyst Kerry Rice. “If it’s going to be a two-horse race, you certainly don’t want to give the other horse any kind of lead.”

It’s a risk to Google’s overall mobile approach and strategy, in that their services are not going to be as easy to find as they used to be

In May, Google closed the $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, setting the stage for Google to more tightly integrate its smartphone software and hardware and mount a more direct challenge to Apple’s iPhone.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the company’s YouTube license included any financial terms, or on whether Apple planned to replace YouTube with another pre-installed online video app from a different company

YouTube has been among a handful of apps that come pre-loaded onto the screens of Apple’s mobile devices since the original iPhone was introduced in 2007, but the app, which was actually built by Apple using YouTube’s standards, did not appear to be as fully-featured as YouTube’s own website.

Analysts said Google was unlikely to take much of a financial hit from the move, though it could complicate Google’s efforts to expand online services to the growing ranks of mobile users.

“It’s a risk to Google’s overall mobile approach and strategy, in that their services are not going to be as easy to find as they used to be,” said ThinkEquity analyst Ronald Josey. “They need to be everywhere that users are.”

Searching questions

More worrisome, said Josey, is what the move could mean for Google’s deal with Apple to be the default search engine on the iPhone.

“The writing’s on the wall that when search is up for renewal, there’s a significant chance that Google may not be the default,” he said.

Analysts believe Google generates a significant portion of mobile advertising revenue from iPhone users.

News of YouTube’s disappearance from Apple’s mobile software came as Apple released a new beta of iOS 6, with the final version due out in autumn.

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