updated 11:00 am EDT, Mon March 26, 2012
Apple seen custom-tailoring products for region
Apple is planning to integrate Baidu web search into iOS, according to sources for Sina Technology. Baidu is an extremely popular search engine in China, but iOS currently defaults to Google, with Bing and Yahoo as secondary options. Sina suggests that Baidu support will begin in April, at least in the Chinese market. If true, the change should require an iOS firmware update.
It would also be consistent with Apple's plans for OS X Mountain Lion. The OS is expected to be more heavily tailored with China in mind, for instance using Sina as an integrated sharing option; Baidu search support should be built into the desktop version of Safari. Both changes will likely only appear in Chinese releases of Mountain Lion.
Apple is now paying closer attention to the Chinese market, since the country represents a fast-growing portion of the company's revenue. On Monday CEO Tim Cook visited the country, meeting with government officials about expansion plans, also taking the opportunity to tour the Xidan Joy City Apple Store in Beijing.