When Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone he invited Google’s former chief executive Eric Schmidt on stage, but one of the most successful collaborations in Silicon Valley is gradually being unpicked.
Apple has taken another step to creating a Google-free iPhone by confirming that the latest version of its mobile software will not come with YouTube pre-loaded.The search giant has had a major presence on the iPhone since the first model appeared in 2007, with Apple’s bestselling product dependent on Google for three of its most popular applications: search, maps and YouTube.
Apple has already announced that Google maps will be dropped from the iOS6 software when it is released this autumn. It has now emerged that the YouTube icon will no longer automatically appear on the home screen.
In a brief statement, Apple said: “Our licence to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.” The days when Schmidt had a seat on the Apple board are long gone. Since the arrival of Google’s Android phone operating software as a powerful contender to the iPhone, the two companies now compete directly.
While the changes to maps and YouTube may not seem earth moving, speculation is now mounting that Apple will oust its rival from its most lucrative iPhone stronghold. Google is the default search button when using the Safari browser on iPhones. It is a privilege that is said to cost Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s company $1bn a year in shared advertising revenues.
The iPhone accounts for two thirds of mobile web browsing, making the position of default search option a major revenue earner for whoever holds it. Apple has already dumped Google in China in preference for the country’s native firm Baidu, and in the west may decide to give its prime spot to Yahoo or Microsoft’s Bing engine. News of any change could come as early as 12 September, the date on which Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 5.
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