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Apple Might Be Hurting Itself 'Friending' Facebook

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - It's been over three weeks since technology giant Apple (AAPL - Get Report) held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference where it announced, among other things, that it was ditching Google's (GOOG - Get Report) popular map app from its upcoming mobile IOS6 to be replaced by its own in-house mapping software.

While I felt this news was only going to fan the flames of an existing mutual hatred by further infuriating Google, which generates roughly 50% its mobile map traffic from iPhones and iPads, nonetheless, I felt it was a move that not only made sense for Apple but one that it had to make.

With there being no lost-love between the two companies, it gave Apple some sleepless nights wondering that at any point Google could pull the plug on its map licensing deal solely out of spite. Having that dependency just wasn't good business.

However, the WWDC was not just an event for tossing knives at Google. Apple was also making new friends. While it was in the process of casting off Google, it was also embracing one of Google's chief rivals in social media giant Facebook (FB - Get Report). In an article titled 2 Companies Apple Will Not Let Die And 1 It Just Killed TheStreet writer Rocco Pendola articulated the meaning of that announcement perfectly.

He wrote:

Apple is so nimble that it's able to coolly and calmly pick and choose the things it will keep in-house and what it will outsource to mere mortals. Apple, for all intents and purposes, threw aircraft flotation devices out to both Yelp(YELP) and Open Table(OPEN) by integrating them into iOS 6. It also raised the stakes, in a good way, by finally integrating Facebook and saying such nice things about Twitter.

I agreed with Pendola on his assessments in contrasting the prominent rise of Facebook with the old and slow movements of Google. But iGoogle has not been sitting idly and doing nothing. In fact it has shown it wants a piece of the social media market by having developed Google+. Although it is not yet as popular as either Facebook or Twitter, it is starting to gain some traction as reports recently suggest that at least 200 million people are on the service. While it is significantly down from the 900 million currently on Facebook, it is far from being embarrassing -- a fact that has not escaped Apple.

Apple wants to put an immediate end to Google's progress. In shrewd fashion, first it seeks to cut off Google's mobile traffic by ditching Google maps from future mobile devices. Then it partners with Facebook, Google's #1 rival in social media, and integrates it with the best-selling smartphone and mobile devices on the market. -- essentially "friending" an enemy of my enemy. If that is not clever I don't know what is.
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