Apple + Baidu = End of the Line for Google in China?
Apple is moving away from Google. In a string of pearls kind of approach, Apple has first moved away from Google Maps service in its latest iPhoto for iOS release. Now if the recent news is true, Apple would be kissing Google’s search engine goodbye in China.
Apple’s iOS, the mobile OS that powers the ever-popular iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch line of devices, will be integrating Baidu in China. This is still unconfirmed, but even if it isn’t, I don’t see why Apple won’t be partnering with a more popular search engine in any region, especially if it has already confirmed doing so in its next OS X release — Mountain Lion.
Google’s search share isn’t impressive. Baidu is the leading search engine in China with 83.6% market share. Google doesn’t even come close. With the growing popularity of mobile phones and the way Chinese devour their iOS devices, Google might be on its last leg in China.
Apple vs Google: Advantage Apple
Google had run into its own controversies in China. Google had a fallout with the Chinese government over filtering policies and moved its servers from China to Hong Kong. Since then the relationship has been going south. Google didn’t play nice with China. Apple did. End result: a booming market, which is a potential gold mine.
Apple is hitting Google where it hurts the most. First it was Siri, which uses local search engines (not Google) to fetch results. If true, now it would be with Baidu. Apple has already ditched Google Maps in some iOS apps. The last thing Google needs is to replace Google search engine with that of Bing’s. Of course there will be hacks to put Google back at the helm but not many iPhone users would be inclined to hack. Many might not notice the difference.
Doesn’t Google still have Android?
Yes, Google has Android, and it’s hot in China too. Android along with being super-popular is also super-open. Which means, the Chinese mobile makers are free to tinker with it and drop in their own search engine of choice. That they did. Almost all the mobile OS makers who have forked Android have used their own search engine of choice. None of them was Google. To answer the question, yes Google has Android and it’s as HOT as the new iPad. But ain’t bringing them dollars.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is in China this week negotiating partnerships, and it seems Google CEO Larry Page should be active in finding deals with Chinese companies, too.