Apple dropped the default YouTube app from the latest beta version of iOS 6, CNet reports.
The move seems to be Apple’s latest attempt to distance itself from Google services.
Earlier this year at WWDC, Apple’s annual developers’ conference, the company announced that the technology giant would be dropping Google Maps from the new version of its hugely popular iOS mobile operating system – and would be creating its own maps app instead.
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, according to Reuters, 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.
An Apple spokesman said: “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.”
A YouTube spokesman said: “We are working with Apple to ensure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users.”
This move won’t necessarily crimp users’ ability to catch lolcat videos on iPhones and iPads, since YouTube will still be available via Web browsers such as Apple’s Safari.
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, the company 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 and Google are the mobile operating systems for the future and this is where the battleground is going to lie,” said Needham & Co 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,” he added.
According to The Telegraph, in June 2012, Apple announced the details of its new maps app, which will replace Google Maps, and form part of the free software update for iPhone and iPad owners and also include details 3D models of major cities.
Moreover, Apple turned around its normally frosty relationship with Facebook by announcing a deal to integrate the social network into iPhones and iPads. The move is seen as another challenge to Google.
However, analysts pointed out that 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.”
“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,” said Josey.
Shares of Google finished Monday’s regular session up 1 percent at $622.19. Apple shares were up 1.1 percent at $622.55.