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YouTube offering new app for iPhone, iPad as licensing agreement ends
SAN FRANCISCO -- YouTube is being reprogrammed for the iPhone and iPad amid the latest fallout from 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 trendsetting 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 default apps on the next version of Apple's mobile operating system, or iOS, which could be released as early as today 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 lineup 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 leading to Google's development of a stand-alone YouTube app that can be downloaded for free 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 preinstalled 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 of the new YouTube app. "We will now have content parity on all our mobile platforms."
Apple had no comment on Google's claims.
The new YouTube app is tailored for the iPhone, although it will work on the iPad, too. A retooled app specifically tailored for the iPad is supposed to be released in the next few months.
As has always been the case, YouTube's videos also can be watched through Web browsers that work on iOS, including Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome.
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.
Google appears confident YouTube will be wanted to gain more control over how YouTube worked on Apple's products, a goal that led to a decision to give up YouTube's prized status as a built-in app despite the potential loss in traffic. The licensing agreement allowed Apple to design the YouTube app for the iOS.
"They have been a great partner," Varela said of Apple. "Together, we have absolutely changed the mobile ecosystem. This is just the next evolution in this partnership. We are the only people that can build the best YouTube app."