In August 2012, iOS users began noticing that the default YouTube app had been removed from Apple’s software in iOS 6 Beta 4, becoming permanent with the public debut of the software in the fall of 2012. For the five years prior, YouTube was a mainstay on the iPhone, launching as a default app on iPhone OS as far back as the original iPhone in 2007.
Animosity between Apple and many Android smartphone makers has been well-documented over the years, becoming abundant in 2012 through an ongoing lawsuit related to Apple’s suing of Samsung for copying the iPhone design with Android devices, as well as an Apple lawsuit aimed at Google-owned Motorola focusing on Slide-to-Unlock.
Now, in a series of Tweets, former YouTube employee Hunter Walk has said that it was YouTube and Google’s decision not to renew an agreement with Apple for YouTube on iOS, so that the company could “take back control of our app” (via Business Insider).
…2012 iOS6, time for YouTube to take back control of our app, which was still Apple-created. Made gutsy move to not renew agreement…
— Hunter Walk (@hunterwalk) June 30, 2017
When the license agreements ended five years later in 2012, Walk said YouTube’s time to take back the app came, so the company — “still operating pretty independently from GOOG at that time” — made its move. Walk went on to Tweet that the decision paid off, with most consumers reinstalling the YouTube app from the iOS App Store upon noticing that the default app had disappeared.
The former YouTube employee ended his series of Tweets, which he said was possible because the “statue of limitations on any nondisclosures” had expired, by stating that this period of YouTube was “one of the most interesting & consequential series of product decisions during my time at YouTube,” emphasizing that it was, “Not w/o controversy internally.”
Google remains the default search engine on iOS devices, and in 2016 it came to light that Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 to retain that status on iPhones and iPads. In 2012, Apple removed another default Google app from iPhone — Google Maps — and replaced it with Apple Maps in iOS 6.
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