Microsoft blasts Google over newest YouTube for Windows Phone block


Two days after Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) issued an overhauled YouTube video application for its Windows Phone operating system, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has demanded the app's removal, triggering a scathing public response from Microsoft.

Microsoft and Google collaborated on YouTube for Windows Phone, addressing Google's concerns with a previous Microsoft-built version of the app, including the addition of advertisements. But The Verge reports that after software errors began to surface, Google revoked the API key Microsoft used to reverse-engineer YouTube's ad code.

"Microsoft has not made the browser upgrades necessary to enable a fully-featured YouTube experience, and has instead re-released a YouTube app that violates our Terms of Service," a Google spokesperson said. "It has been disabled. We value our broad developer community and therefore ask everyone to adhere to the same guidelines."

A blog post written by Microsoft Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel David Howard contends that the company addressed all of Google's issues with YouTube for Windows Phone and that Google's problems with the overhauled app "are not only inconsistent with Google's own commitment of openness, but also involve requirements for a Windows Phone app that it doesn't impose on its own platform or Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) (both of which use Google as the default search engine, of course)."

Howard says that Microsoft built the Windows Phone app to Google's specifications, enabling advertisements, disabling video downloads and eliminating the option to view reserved videos. "There was one sticking point in the collaboration. Google asked us to transition our app to a new coding language--HTML5," Howard states. "This was an odd request since neither YouTube's iPhone app nor its Android app are built on HTML5. Nevertheless, we dedicated significant engineering resources to examine the possibility. At the end of the day, experts from both companies recognized that building a YouTube app based on HTML5 would be technically difficult and time consuming, which is why we assume YouTube has not yet made the conversion for its iPhone and Android apps. For this reason, we made a decision this week to publish our non-HTML5 app while committing to work with Google long-term on an app based on HTML5."

But according to Howard, Google now contends that YouTube for Windows Phone does not serve ads based on conditions imposed by content creators, also arguing that Microsoft has failed to comply with its "terms and conditions." Google additionally cites "a degraded experience," despite positive Windows Phone Store user reviews.

"It seems to us that Google's reasons for blocking our app are manufactured so that we can't give our users the same experience Android and iPhone users are getting," Howard writes. "The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it… their objections are nothing other than excuses."

YouTube now has more than 1 billion users worldwide and is the largest source of mobile data traffic across all international markets, accounting for more than 25 percent of total network data in some regions, according to broadband equipment vendor Sandvine.

For more:
- read this Verge article
- read this Microsoft on the Issues blog post

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