Macquarie (USA) Equities Research, a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services, is speculating that Google will be bringing its popular Chrome Web browser to Apple's iPad, iPhone and iPod iOS. Will Google do this? And, perhaps the more important question, "Will Apple let them do this?"
Macquarie's analysts argue that Google will release a version of the Chrome Web browser for iOS. They see Chrome on iOS sometime in 2012 and as early as June 2012.
Why would Google do it? Well, the reason that immediately pops into my head is market-share. Macquarie spells it out in more detail.
1) It would help reduce the money that Google has to pay to Apple for Google searches on iOS' native browser Safari.
2) It would spread the browser wars, only this time on mobile devices instead of the continuing desktop browser battle.
3) Chrome on Android is already proving popular with users and critics alike and Macquarie expects that, like Chrome on the desktop, Google would back it with a lot of advertising.
Today, Google already has the top mobile Web browser: Android's native Web browser. Chrome has just arrived on Android, and, for now at least, it's still only available on Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.
Still, Chrome on iOS sounds good. I can certainly see Google wanting to bring Chrome to iOS. My question though is: "Will Apple let them do it?"
While Google has some great apps, like the new Google+ app on iOS, but that doesn't directly compete with Apple. As we all know from Apple's global anti-Android lawsuits, Apple has no love for Google's Android or its partners. Worse still, from Apple's viewpoint, with Google's purchase of Motorola growing ever closer, Google will have the smartphones, and possibly its own Android tablet as well, Google may soon be competing directly with Apple.
Would Apple want Google on its own home-ground? I don't think so.
True, there are already alternative Web browsers like Opera Mini, Mercury Web Browser Pro, and Skyfire, the first iOS Web browser to support Flash. None of those, however, are major browsers. Certainly none of them are from a company that Apple considers a serious rival. Thanks to Android, Google, make no mistake about it, is an Apple rival.
On the other hand, Microsoft is already getting into hot-water for preventing rival Web browsers from running at full capacity on Windows RT, Microsoft's forthcoming Windows on ARM operating system. Indeed, a Senate committee is looking into investigating Microsoft for restricting Chrome and Firefox on Windows RT. Some people are wondering though what's so special about Apple that they, with their 68% of the tablet market, can block major browsers from their devices, but the Senate can give Microsoft grief for restrictions on devices that aren't even shipping yet.
Good question. Indeed, for all the other reasons Macquarie gives for Google to bring Chrome to iOS, another excellent one might be to put more pressure on Apple to either have to open up their iDevice family or to face legal trouble down the road.