There's no stopping the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) rumor mill. This time, word is the Mac maker will remove Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) YouTube app from the next edition of iOS.

Think of the consequences for users. With Apple refusing to support Flash on its mobile devices, that means a lot of popular streaming content could suddenly become unavailable to iFans. Is anyone else worried about this?

We don't yet know whether this is Apple's plan, though I doubt anyone would be surprised. The late Steve Jobs all but openly declared war on Android. Making it more difficult for Google to get its apps on iOS would make sense if Apple means to make good on Jobs' promise of vengeance.

Let's hope not. Apple would be deliberately fragmenting the market at precisely the wrong time. Right now, the iPad is arguably the best portable television ever. Just this month, the Mac maker brokered a deal with Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) that places its Instant Video service on the iPad.

Instant Video Ipad

Sources: Amazon.com, CNN.

And don't forget Apple TV. Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) has been a longtime content partner, but so has YouTube. Hulu just started supplying content to Apple's set-top box. Having both in addition to YouTube and (perhaps someday) Amazon could help the iEmpire establish dominance of the market for on-demand entertainment delivery.

By contrast, revoking YouTube's invite to the iOS party now would leave viewers without access to one of the Web's fastest-growing TV alternatives, a network in the making whose most popular custom properties rival some network television shows.

I'd reconsider whether to upgrade to an iPad were Apple to eliminate YouTube as a standard iOS option. Sure, I'd miss iTunes. But between Google Play rentals, Netflix, and YouTube's growing list of original programming, there's more than enough content to keep me entertained.

Even so, catering to personal tastes isn't the point. What is? Revenue. Apple is first and always a seller of hardware. Driving users to other platforms isn't good for business.

A bite of the Apple
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