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It's June, folks, and that means that WWDC, Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) Worldwide Developers Conference, is just around the corner on June 11. While Apple fans around the globe are egerly awaiting both the planned and surprise announcements, some of the world's largest tech companies are also going to pay attention, specifically Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) and Facebook (Nasdaq: FB ) .
WWDC is one of many newsworthy Apple events throughout the year, and it's important to keep tabs on them all to understand the company's future strategic direction. Here at the Fool, we recognize that need, which is why we started a dedicated premium research service on Apple.
Google gets the boot
At this point, most investors know there was no love lost between the late Steve Jobs and the folks just a few miles away in Mountain View. His disdain, driven from what were considered gross reproductions of Apple functionality on Google's Android mobile operating system, was well documented in his recent biography. The fact that the company has used Google's Maps as a key application in its iPhone probably hasn't set well with anyone in Cupertino, and at WWDC Apple will detail its plans to cut Google loose and begin using an internally developed mapping software (with 3-D features!). Google's not taking the news lying down and has pre-emptively planned its own event in anticipation of the announcement, revealing a Google Maps event for developers slated for June 6.
Apple's move isn't surprising, as it has been working for quite some time to get to this point. The company acquired a number of companies in the mapping space and recently moved away from Google's Maps in its iPhoto application on iOS, opting for free software from OpenStreetMap. While not the primary catalyst for the move, Google recently began charging third-party developers who used its mapping API. This comes after offering the APIs for years free of charge, as Google went against the grain of other digital mapping providers, such as Nokia's (NYSE: NOK ) NAVTEQ, that leveraged their technology to command lucrative licensing deals from customers.
It will be interesting to see whether the move backfires on Google and causes developers to jump ship in greater numbers and migrate toward options like OpenStreetMap. Location-sharing app Foursquare has already made the move, and it's likely that other popular apps, such as local-reviews company Yelp (NYSE: YELP ) , could do the same in an effort to cut licensing costs.
Face-off in the cloud
As if criticism surrounding its botched IPO wasn't enough, Facebook is expected to receive what amounts to another slap in the face at WWDC. The folks at Facebook won't be happy to hear about Apple's intentions to add new photo-sharing capabilities as part of its iCloud service. The move in the social sphere won't be Apple's first, as it previously attempted a social network inside iTunes called Ping. That didn't pan out as hoped, but with more than 100 million users of its iCloud service, Apple definitely has the ability to put a chink in Facebook's recently strengthened photo-sharing armor following its acquisition of Instagram.
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