Apple and Baidu, Sitting in a Tree

A few months back, there was talk that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) and Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU  ) were about to team up on Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , making the Baidu the default search engine within iOS for iDevices in China.

Those rumors have resurfaced, and this time from a recent Bloomberg report that pegs an imminent announcement as soon as next week during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC. That would be a nice boon for Baidu, although it already serves up nearly four out of five Internet searches in the Middle Kingdom. It would certainly help Baidu grow its mobile ad business in particular.

It makes plenty of sense, as Apple has already expressed interest in integrating various local Web services within the country into its operating systems, such as the inclusion of video sharing site Youku (Nasdaq: YOKU  ) and SINA's (Nasdaq: SINA  ) Weibo microblogging service in the next major iteration of Apple's desktop operating system, OS X Mountain Lion.

If the rumblings prove accurate, it would be just another minor way that Apple continues to snub Google. By the looks of it, Apple is also set to unveil its own in-house mapping service and mobile app, displacing the Google Maps app that has long been a mainstay of iOS. Although earlier in the week, Google said it was bringing its new 3-D maps to both Android and iOS and that it remains "committed" to all platforms.

Making Baidu the primary search engine instead of Google would similarly be a blow to Google as it tries to grow market share in China. Big G's share sits at 16.6%, far short of Baidu's overwhelming 78.5% slice. In fairness, Baidu is still by far the dominant search engine so its place as the default still seems more appropriate.

They don't call Baidu the "Google of China" for nothing.

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Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Baidu, Google, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, SINA, Apple, and Baidu and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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