Apple Seeks to Cut its Ties with Google

The thermonuclear war on Android that Steve Jobs had promised before his death is well under way. Apple is currently battling Samsung in a high profile patent dispute in a Californian district court, and Samsung lawyers appear to be making a number of blunders that will work in Apples favour.

Apple has also had legal success against Samsung in Germany, although lost a battle against the Galaxy Tab in the UK, along with a patent dispute against HTC. It suffered a setback in recent months when a patent battle with Motorola was thrown out of court by Illinois district judge Richard Posner.

They Ripped us off

The one thing all of these companies have in common is their choice of Android as a mobile operating system. Since its original release in 2008 Android has rapidly grown in popularity and now runs on more than half of all smartphones sold, much to the annoyance of Apple and the late Steve Jobs.

While the court battles and patent disputes have been increasing in intensity over the last few months, with almost everyone apart from lawyers growing extremely tired of the whole charade, Apple has decided to take a new approach to hit Google where it hurts.

Google developed Android because it recognised many years ago that smartphones would increasingly become a primary means for connecting to the internet – and for a company that generates nearly all of its revenue from online advertising, this is a big deal. Google provides Android to manufacturers free of charge, to encourage adoption and increase its mobile advertising presence.

As it stands though, Google makes more advertising revenue from iPhone users than it does from those owning Android handsets. Google had also generated licencing fees from Apple through many of its services including Google Maps and YouTube. Ironically, the iPhone is probably a greater asset to Google than Android, which is increasingly becoming a thorn in its side. But Google has no control over the iPhone as a source of revenue, as is becoming apparent as Apple seeks to cut all ties with Google in the mobile market.

No More Google Maps

With the announcement of iOS 6, which has been released in beta to developers and will be pushed out with the iPhone 5 in September, Apple announced that it would drop its use of Google Maps as the basis for its Maps app and instead use mapping data from other sources: including TomTom and Bing.

With the removal of Google, iPhone users will lose some Google features including Street View and public transportation times. Apple has attempted to make its own Maps app offer something more than Googles by including a 3D flyover mode (only available in a select few US cities). Google is developing its own 3D cities, although they appear to be of lower quality in a side by side comparison. Apple has enough money at its disposal to develop its own Street View, but is unlikely to do so considering the legal and privacy problems it has caused for Google.

No More YouTube

According to Best Mobile Contracts, Apple has announced that it will not be renewing its YouTube licence with Google, which means that the next iPhone will not come with a standard YouTube app. As all iPhones have included this app in the past, this will mean that Google will need to develop a new YouTube app and submit it for consideration in the App Store – with the very real potential that Apple will reject it. YouTube will still be available to iPhone users through the Safari browser and the app will still be available to users of older versions of iOS.

Whether this is a move by Apple to cut down on Googles advertising revenue, or simply to stop handing money directly to Google in the form of licence fees remains to be seen. It could either spell bad news for iPhone users if it results in browser only YouTube support, or good news if it results in a redesigned YouTube app with more extensive features. Whether Apple likes it or not though, YouTube still remains an essential service for many people and certainly an essential feature of any modern smartphone.

The iPhone 5 is expected to be unveiled on September 12th and released on September 21st. Until then, iOS 6 remains in beta and Apple has time to find more ways to sever its ties with Google for what is expected to be the biggest selling phone of all time (with an estimated 250+ million sales).

The name of the phone is still up for debate, with possible monikers including the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone SJ or the new iPhone.

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