Apple didn’t drop YouTube. YouTube dropped Apple.

The backstory of a default app on the original iPhone.

Former YouTube exec Hunter Walk has the inside story. Stratechery’s Ben Thompson tells us what it means.

From Walk’s How YouTube Ended Up On The First iPhone: A Tweet Thread:

…2012 iOS6, time for YouTube to take back control of our app, which was still Apple-created. Made gutsy move to not renew agreement…

…great YouTube/Google mobile teams (eng, product, marketing, BD, etc) all worked together. Risky to be removed from all iOS6 devices!…

From Thompson’s YouTube and the iPhone:

I believe the conventional wisdom was that Apple ended the YouTube deal; in fact, according to Walk, it was YouTube that pulled out… When the iPhone was launched the context was total Apple control of iPhone software and basically no market for mobile video; in that case it made sense for YouTube to hitch its wagon to Apple’s horse.

The context, though, was different when YouTube declined to renew its agreement, in two ways: first, mobile was so dominant that it was clearly the future of all tech companies, including YouTube. Second, YouTube was so dominant in user-generated video that it had superseded the power of the default