Safe to say both Apple and Google probably view each other as competition as far as mobile platforms are concerned, and if the rumors are to be believed, it looks like Apple could be close to phasing Google out on iOS devices by integrating China’s answer to Google, Baidu, which according to reports accounts for a whopping 83.6% of China’s search space, ultimately weaning iOS users off Google’s products and services.

If you’re looking for more evidence of Apple moving away from Google, you might recall a while back that it was discovered in iPhoto that Apple did not rely on Google Maps, and the introduction of Siri could also be interpreted as one of the ways Apple is trying to cut back on iOS users’ reliance on Google’s search engine and mapping services. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has also expressed that China is an important market to them, so integrating Baidu in place of Google could be one of the methods Apple is using to lure more Chinese customers onto iOS devices.

According to the rumors, this integration could make its way onto iOS devices in the form of an update as early as next month, but neither Apple nor Baidu has officially confirmed it, which means that it should probably be taken with a grain of salt for now. It was also unclear if this update would be region specific, i.e. targeted at Chinese iOS users, or if it will be an update that would blanket iOS users around the world. What do you guys think? Would you mind terribly if Baidu became iOS’ default search engine in place of Google?

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