Apple websites Macrumours and 9to5Mac noticed yesterday that a native app for Google's YouTube was missing from the current beta of the upcoming iOS 6 update. Was it a fluke? Was a better native YouTube app in development?
Apple confirmed -- through The Verge -- that its license to include YouTube in iOS has expired. The YouTube app that Apple buffs have grown accustomed to seeing pre-installed on their devices will be no more, later this year, when the new mobile operating system is out.
Google is now developing a standalone application that will be made available through Apple's App Store, or iPhone, iPad, and iPhone touch owners can access YouTube through their browsers.
Everybody knows what's going on. Apple and Google were chummy a few years ago, even to the point where Google's Eric Schmidt was sitting on Apple's board. That relationship ended three summers ago.
Right now, Google's Android and Apple's iOS are the only games in town when it comes to mobile operating systems. Forget Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) and its fading base of BlackBerry owners. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) may be spending billions to make a dent in this market, but it's just not bearing fruit at the moment.
Apple and Google combine for more than 80% of the market, and everyone else is battling for what's left of a shrinking slice.
Why should Apple promote Google's YouTube, especially when it's unlikely to alienate buyers by making it a free App Store download anyway?
This isn't entirely a losing proposition for Google. It will be able to push out more updates. There will be more monetization opportunities. It's not as if there is a rival video-sharing service that will gain ground in the migration.
In the end, this is just one more instance of two bellwethers undoing another knot that ties them together. Apple and Google are frenemies. They may as well start behaving that way.