Claire Cain Miller
Once the best of friends, Google and Apple have become foes, battling in courtrooms and in the consumer marketplace. Last week, the hostilities took a new turn when they spilled right onto smartphone screens.
In the latest version of Apple’s iPhone software, which became available Wednesday, Apple removed two mainstay apps, both Google products Maps and YouTube.
The disappearing apps show just how far-reaching the companies’ rivalry has become, as well as the importance of mobile users to their businesses.
“It’s the two big kids kicking sand in the sandbox,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst who covers Google and Apple for BGC Partners. “They’re now competing against each other with phones, with maps, with content, with search. They’re going head-to-head.”
Maps are particularly crucial on mobile devices, where location-based services and ads have emerged as the pathway to making money. Google and Apple are not the only warriors in the fight. Amazon, Nokia, Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo are competing, too.