By Roger Yu, USA TODAY
Apple has eliminated Google's YouTube as a pre-loaded app on its mobile devices as the battle for users escalates between the two technology giants.
When Apple released the test version of its upcoming mobile operating system, iOS 6, for its iPhone and iPad Monday, YouTube, one of the most popular default apps on the devices, was not in the lineup.
Apple says the final version of iOS 6 will be released in the fall.
"Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended," says Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller. "Customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser, and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store."
YouTube declined to comment specifically about the disappearance of its app on iOS6. "We are working with Apple to ensure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users," Google says in a statement.
The YouTube app on iPhone and iPad was created by Apple's own developers using YouTube's open developer tools. As a result, the YouTube experience on Apple's devices is different than the version on Android devices and at YouTube.com on Web browsers.
Apple forbids displaying ads on its version of the YouTube app. And some video creators, unwilling to forgo potential revenue from advertising, have chosen not to show their videos on Apple's devices. YouTube videos running on Web browsers or in the app on Android devices include ads.
While iOS 6 users will be able to find YouTube's content in other ways, the apps that are part of the pre-packaged lineup from the device maker are used 15% to 20% more then other apps, estimates Chetan Sharma, an independent mobile analyst.
Apple's move is a reflection of growing competitive pressures between the two tech giants. When the iPhone was released in 2007, Apple used YouTube and Google Maps as features to promote the device. But Apple is reportedly working on its own video-streaming app. Google Maps was also removed from iOS 6 after Apple bought a map company late last year and signaled its intention to develop a competitor to Google's popular map application.
Siri, a search-by-voice feature that Apple included in its iPhone 4S, is also seen as a competitor to Google Search and other frequent task functions accessed by users. "It's not a secret there's some tension between the two companies," Sharma says.
Google is determined to make money from its YouTube advertising. Releasing its own version through Apple's App Store might provide a solution. Unlike other apps that may disappear into oblivion in the store, YouTube is widely popular, and its fans will seek it out even if it doesn't come pre-loaded, Sharma says. "I don't think Google needs Apple's help to promote YouTube."