In the latest sign of the growing rivalry between the top technology companies, Apple’s new version of its iPhone and iPad software – iOS 6 – will not include a pre-loaded app for Google’s popular video website, YouTube.
Earlier this year, Apple said it would dump Google’s mapping software from its mobile devices.
Google, the world’s No.1 Web search engine, is also the maker of the most popular smartphone software with its Android operating system. 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.
Apple said 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. Meanwhile, Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the app store.
There is no clarification from Apple, 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 full-featured as YouTube’s own website: the YouTube app does not appear to feature any advertising, and the catalog of available music videos lacks many of the titles found on the 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.
More worrisome is what the move could mean for Google’s deal with Apple to be the default search engine on the iPhone.
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 test version of the iOS 6 software, which for the first time did not include the YouTube app. The final version of iOS 6 is due for release sometime in the Fall.
YouTube is one of the most popular destinations on the Internet, with more than 800 million unique monthly visitors who stream 4 billion videos a day.
Google said in a statement that it was working with Apple to ensure that it has “the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users.”