Apple To Announce Baidu As Default iOS Search Engine In China Next Week At WWDC?

With all the rumors and buildup to WWDC surrounding the possible announcement of a new beta release of iOS, Bloomberg has suggested that the news could also accompany a shift in search engine choice for Chinese iOS devices.

Citing two unnamed sources who are apparently familiar with the matter, Bloomberg claims that Apple is on the verge of announcing a deal to move Chinese iOS devices to the country’s largest search provider, with Baidu currently making up 80% of the search business in the country. Google, for its part, is currently sitting with just a 16.6% share of the lucrative Chinese search market.

Baidu logo

One of Bloomerberg’s sources, who obviously wished to remain anonymous, believes that next week’s WWDC event could be the time that Apple chooses to announce the deal, potentially adding to Google’s woes as the Cupertino firm is also rumored to be stepping away from Google Maps as its mapping technology across the iOS stable of devices.

Rumors of Apple and Baidu striking a deal have been floating around since March, and if Apple is indeed beginning to move away from its once partner, Google, then putting its ducks in a row behind Baidu would potentially strike at the heart of the search giant. Google has had its own problems in Chine over the last year or so, and this dent the company’s reputation in the area further.

Apple’s WWDC kicks off on June 11th, and all eyes will be on the company’s traditional keynote that sets the even in motion. A new version of iOS is expected to be debuted, with iOS 6 slated to see some considerable changes, not least in the move away from some of Google’s core services, Maps being the key one. Google has recently announced improvements to its own maps for both iOS and Android, though we suspect Apple’s reasons for moving away from Google Maps is more about reducing its reliance on a competitor than an issue with quality.

iOS 4.3 Safari

Monday is when all the questions will be answered, and we will be keeping an eye out for all the news coming out of the event and throughout the week.

What do you think about all this? Is Apple making the right move by somewhat ditching Google as its default search engine, or is it a good thing that Apple is offering more choice to iOS users?

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