Apple said Tuesday that its YouTube license is expiring and that its next-generation iOS 6 mobile platform will no longer support direct playback of YouTube videos. However, device users will still be able to view YouTube videos directly in Apple's Safari browser or by downloading a stand-alone YouTube app for iOS 6 should Google elect to develop one.
Apple previously said last month that Google Maps would no longer be offered from directly within iOS 6. Still, neither rival appears to be concerned about the possible ramifications of removing two of the mobile Web's most popular offerings from Apple's iOS.
"Apple is not afraid of continuing to see Google's influence on the iPhone decline and Google is not afraid to see it decline [either]," said Piper Jaffray analysts Gene Murphy and Douglas Clinton. "Services integrated with iOS will still be available on Android and vice versa [and] we do not believe [a dedicated YouTube] app is critical, given full access to YouTube via the browser."
The removal of direct YouTube access is partly about Apple's competition with Android and also part of the way the market is shifting towards vertically integrated ecosystems, said Al Hilwa, director of applications development software research at IDC.
"I expect over time all services on a per-platform basis will be owned or managed by the platform provider," Hilwa told us. "The temptation to capture 100 percent of the windfall from the platform is too big to pass up."
According to Hilwa, this makes developers' jobs harder because the similarities or common ground between the platforms is slowly eroding.
"If you have a mapping application you will have to learn the different mapping services offered by each platform," Hilwa said.
It's Only the Third Inning
Though the rivalry between Apple and Google is clearly ramping up, Piper Jaffray believes we are only entering the "third inning" of the ongoing competition to shape smartphone evolution. Apple scored first when it launched the first iPhone and continued to pad its lead through the rollout of the iTunes App Store, but Google subsequently rallied and is back in the game.
"While Apple had an early advantage on apps -- and still tends to get apps first -- we believe the breadth of Apple's App Store and Google Play are close to parity in terms of apps offered," Munster and Clinton said. "We expect the third inning to center around integrated services." (continued...)