¶ When Alliance Becomes Reliance

When the iPhone was released, there was a lot of love between Apple and Google. They were like Batman and Robin, a dynamic duo.

Needless to say, since Google started down the path of Android, the alliance has been broken. And now, Apple has developed a reliance on Google for some of its core iOS apps — namely Maps and YouTube.

Of the two of those, Maps is the most prominent. To say iOS would be at a disadvantage without Google Maps would be an understatement. But what is the alternative? Form an uneasy alliance (and another reliance) on Microsoft’s Bing? I don’t think so.

Apple has acquired a couple mapping companies over the past few years. And we’ve seen a trend of Apple pulling things it considers essential a little closer under the umbrella. For instance, designing its own A4 and A5 chips, and iCloud, which is surely pulling some folks off of syncing their data through Google.

And then there are things that are inessential. When a service isn’t essential, Apple seems to have no problem integrating with other services that do something very well. Take the YouTube app, for instance. Sure, it is built-in, but that doesn’t mean it is permanent. That app could easily disappear entirely, be renamed and refocused on Vimeo, or be rolled into the Videos app and offer users a choice of YouTube or Vimeo. It isn’t like Google couldn’t roll out their own YouTube app or just direct people to their mobile site.

We saw more evidence of the breakdown of Apple’s reliance on Google with the OS X Mountain Lion developer preview. As I saw of Daring Fireball, Pocket-lint talked to Apple about the new Share Sheet:

Most interesting of the three is the inclusion of Vimeo over YouTube, a choice that is bound to give the professional video-sharing site a boost in awareness and audience numbers, but also leave users wondering why no Google support from day one?

When asked why there was no YouTube support at the moment in the developer preview, Apple told Pocket-lint: “We have Vimeo, and we don’t have YouTube.”

If you ask me, Vimeo has a much better experience anyway.

It is clear to me that Apple is slowly excising Google’s prominence from their two operating systems. I am confident one of the main features of iOS 6 will be an overhauled Maps app that no longer relies on Google. I expect Maps to become developed fully in-house by Apple.

Mountain Lion is embracing Vimeo over YouTube, and it wouldn’t surprise me if iOS went that way, too.

The alliance ended years ago. Soon, the reliance will be over.