YouTube offers own iPhone app to fill looming void

Sep 11, 2012 by Michael Liedtke

(AP)—YouTube is being reprogrammed for the iPhone and iPad amid the growing hostility between Apple and the video service's owner, Google.

The new format debuted Tuesday with the release of a new YouTube application that will introduce more advertising and more videos on Apple's devices.

The changes are being made because Google Inc. and Apple Inc. didn't renew a five-year licensing agreement that established YouTube as one of the built-in applications in the operating system that runs the iPhone and iPad.

YouTube is being bumped from the menu of pre-installed apps on the next version of Apple's mobile operating system, or iOS, which could be released as early as Wednesday, when the latest iPhone is expected to be unveiled.

The updated iOS also is dumping Google's digital maps as its go-to source for directions.

The mapping snub stung Google, but Apple's removal of YouTube from the iOS's application line-up appears to be a less contentious decision.

The two rivals couldn't agree on the best way to watch YouTube on the iPhone and iPad, leading to the termination of the licensing agreement and to Google's development of a stand-alone YouTube app that can be downloaded for free in in Apple's iTunes store.

The licensing agreement had granted Apple control over the design of the built-in YouTube app on the iPhone and iPad.

The new YouTube app will create more moneymaking opportunities for Google and video producers because it allows advertising to be shown with the clips. That's something Apple hasn't allowed on the pre-installed YouTube app. The ban on ads prevented many music videos and other widely watched clips from being shown in the iOS app because some copyright owners don't allow their content to be shown if there is no way for them to be paid.

Removing the advertising limitations will mean users of the new iOS app can watch YouTube videos that already have been available on smartphones and tablet computers running on Google's Android software, said Francisco Varela, YouTube's global director of platform partnerships.

"We are offering a better user experience to iPhone users," Varela said. "We will now have content parity on all our mobile platforms."

Apple had no comment on Google's claims.

YouTube, the world's most popular video site, could still end up losing some of its audience on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch because device owners will have to find and download the app from Apple's App Store.

YouTube says mobile viewers collectively watch more than 1 billion clips per day.

Many of those YouTube viewers watch on Android devices that have become Apple's bane. Before he died 11 months ago, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he viewed Android as a "stolen product" and vowed to get even with Google and its partners for ripping off his company's ideas.

The vendetta has spurred a series of lawsuits against Android device makers, including a case that culminated last month when a jury awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages after concluding Samsung Electronics violated iPhone patents.

Apple's decision to oust Google's mapping system from its family of mobile devices appears to be an attempt to divert revenue and traffic from Google. The upgraded iOS will feature Apple's own mobile mapping system.

That switch could hurt Google because maps are a key piece of the company's plans to sell more ads to local merchants.

Explore further: Tecnalia designs an app to help elderly people get around on public transport

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