New sources from Bloomberg are confirming rumors that Apple may be replacing Google with Baidu for the Chinese version of iOS. The sources say that the announcement could come as soon as next week, when Apple will be hosting its annual WWDC event. The move adds to the notion that Apple is trying to reduce its dependence on Google products, following reports that Apple may replace Google Maps with its own in-house mapping service.
Baidu is China's largest search engine, handling about 80 percent of China's Internet search. In contrast, Google only accounts for about 16.6 percent of the Chinese search market. With Apple wanting to further expand in China, where the market accounted for 20 percent of Apple's sales last quarter, the move to offer Baidu in lieu of Google certainly makes sense.
However, the sources believe that Google will remain the default search on iOS with Baidu being offered as a native option. Currently, users have to download a separate Baidu app or navigate to the Baidu web page to use the Chinese search engine.
[via Business Insider]