Apple has confirmed that the latest version of its iOS mobile operating system will not include an app for accessing Google's YouTube video service by default.
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The move represents another step away from Google, after Apple previously announced that Google Maps will be replaced with Apple's own application using mapping technology from Dutch satnav partner TomTom in iOS6, which is due out later this year.
Apple said in a statement: "Our licence to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended. Customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store."
This means YouTube fans will need to download the app as they would for every other service they want access to on their phone.
YouTube said: “We are working with Apple to ensure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users.”
Since Google's Android operating system emerged as a strong rival to iOS, Apple has been seeking to reduce the iPhone's links with its former partner.
With Google Maps and YouTube gone, speculation is now mounting that Apple will remove Google as the default search button on the iPhone's Safari browser, according to the Guardian.
Apple has already dropped Google in China for local firm Baidu, and news of a change elsewhere could come when Apple is expected to unveil the latest iPhone in September, the paper said.
Apple's deal with Facebook to integrate the social network into iPhones and iPads is also being regarded by some analysts as another challenge to Google, according to the Telegraph.