Apple rumored to be planning iOS support for Chinese search engine Baidu

Apple rumored to be planning iOS support for Chinese search engine Baidu

Search giant Baidu owns roughly 87% of of the huge Chinese market, and according to rumors, Apple could be planning to add support for their service to a future version of iOS. Sina Tech is reporting that, according to their "knowledgable sources", Baidu integration could come as early as next month. Tech in Asia translates and encapsulates:

Apparently, Baidu’s cloud and mobile chief Li Mingyuan hinted at this during the launch of Baidu’s cloud storage service last week, saying that the company already had a comprehensive cooperation agreement with Apple in China.

iOS currently has Google as the default search engine, with options to switch to Yahoo! and Bing in the Safari Settings. There's been no official word from either Baidu or Apple on the matter, but OS X Mountain Lion contains expanded Chinese web services so iOS adding one more search engine, especially one as big as Baidu, in a market as important to Apple as China, doesn't seem far-fetched.

Indeed, China currently tops the charts when it comes to iOS device activations, recently blowing past the US. Even though Apple still trails Samsung, Apple has increasingly stressed the growth of their retail presence and product adoption in China. Apple CEO Tim Cook has placed China ahead of Brazil and Russia on Apple's priority list, saying demand in China has been staggering and off the charts. Apple has even reportedly been working to help better support gray-market iPhones on China's largest carrier, China Mobile.

If accurate, it would also likely need to be part of an iOS 5.1.x or even iOS 5.2 update.

Whether or not this has anything to do with Apple's increasingly tense relationship with Google is uncertain, but putting Baidu on iOS, even if Google retains default status, could further erode what percentage of the search Google has managed to

Source: Sina Tech via Tech in Asia, The Next Web

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Apple rumored to be planning iOS support for Chinese search engine Baidu

18 Comments

I would love to know what that coloring of the metal band is.
Is it a sticker or a case of some type?

seriously, I was thinking the same thing ... That case or sticker is cool and I want one.

Re: "...putting Baidu on iOS, even if Google retains default status, could further erode what percentage of the search space Google has managed to secure in China."
Google refused to allow the Chinese government to censor search results on the Google.cn domain. They tried redirecting all .cn search requests to Google.com.hk, which isn't censored. This, of course, made the Chinese government even less happy.
But, in the end, Google did the evil thing. They created a product, by one way or another, that doesn't require censorship by the Chinese government. Same difference. All so they could get back their license to operate in China. And for what? For a tiny fraction of the search market there. For just a few bucks.

Most likely, when Google and Bing were duking it out for the coveted top spot, Apple sold the default position as an iOS position, worldwide. There surely is no great technical hurdle to overcome; Apple just has to set up a more sophisticated/fragmented licensing scheme so that the purchase/placement of that default position is market-specific. (And perhaps throw some compensation Google's way, if that violates any currently in effect contract.)
On a slightly related tangent, I would love to be able to specify my own entirely custom provider and preferences in Mobile Safari, perhaps something like how Ultimate browser does it.

Thanks to all of the hyperbole over the past 10 years of the so-called evil of America, people have forgotten just how evil, truly evil the Government of China is. Not just possibly spying on you surfing your porn-- no, the people who will restrict freedom of information as part of their laws and GUN YOU DOWN when you disagree. A world run by China is a world I don't feel comfortable living in.

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