Apple released beta 4 of iOS 6, their latest iPhone and iPad OS to developers today, and one glaring omission in the version was the YouTube app. Bad news for Google, or perhaps with some perspective, a benefit?
YouTube, along with Maps powered by Google Maps, were some of the first third-party powered Apps to be found on the iPhone, even before there was an app platform. In iOS 6, Apple is replacing Google Maps with their own Apple Maps, and now it appears Apple is dropping YouTube with no replacement.
Apple told The Verge that Google and Apple did not renew the license rights to the app and thus it likely pulled it off the latest beta:
Our license 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.
Google tells us this:
We are working with Apple to ensure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users.
It seems pretty likely that Google will release its own YouTube app when iOS 6 comes out. If so, that might actually benefit Google, rather than the dropping of Apple’s own YouTube app being a big casualty for Google, as I’ve seen some write.
Currently, Google has built up no audience with the YouTube app since that app is technically Apple’s YouTube app. Yes, being the default is nice. But you also don’t “own” that audience in the way you do with your own App Store-listed app.
Going forward, Google will start owning the YouTube app audience, assuming it releases its own YouTube app, as can be expected. When that happens, Apple can’t yank that audienceout from under Google’s feet again.
In addition, it’s extremely likely that YouTube will rise to be one of the most downloaded apps, putting it oddly in iTunes Charts for the first time. Oddly because it’s already likely one of the most used apps. But because no one needs to download it, that popularity — like the popularity of other default apps such as Safari, Mail or Maps — doesn’t register.
For more on the “degooglization” of iOS and some of the impacts it may have all around, see my previous post: Why Apple Is Going “Containment” Not “Thermonuclear” Against Google In iOS 6.