Microsoft claims Google obtuse over Windows phone Youtube app

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Microsoft has accused Google of deliberately sabotaging its ability to have a working Youtube application on the Windows phone platform, by “manufacturing” reasons why it could revoke the Windows maker’s license to use the Youtube API.

In a blog post titled, “The limits of Google’s openness,” Microsoft corporate VP and deputy general council for litigation, David Howard, explained that the history of Microsoft’s involvement with Google over its Youtube API, has been anything but smooth.

Last year Microsoft was forced to take down its app and make Google requested changes, including disabling video downloads and adding advertisements. Since then Google has reiterated its comittments to openness and the app has returned, but now Google has revoked API access again, on the grounds that the app should support HTML 5 – a feature that other versions of the app on Apple iOS and Android apps do not have.

Howard explained that Microsoft looked into this, but after much consultation, decided that at this stage, building an HTML5 compatible Youtube app for Windows phones would be a costly and lengthy process. It did however commit to a long term goal of developing an HTML5 version of the app with Google cooperation.

Google’s response has been to block the current non-HTML5 Youtube app on Windows phones.

“Google claims that one problem with our new app is that it doesn’t always serve ads based on conditions imposed by content creators. Our app serves Google’s advertisements using all the metadata available to us,” Howard explains.

youtube Microsoft claims Google obtuse over Windows phone Youtube app
Poor Windows phone users. They’re denied clips like this.

In a move that you can hear being made through gritted teeth, Microsoft has asked Google for information on how Android and iOS handle adverts, as that way it could mirror the obviously acceptable method. Google has so far refused to provide it.

But it doesn’t stop there. According to Howard, “Google also says that we (Microsoft) are not complying with its “terms and conditions.” What Google really means is that our app is not based on HTML5. The problem with this argument, of course, is that Google is not complying with this condition for Android and iPhone. Again, we’re happy to collaborate with Google on an HTML5 app, but we shouldn’t be required to do something that apparently neither iPhone nor Android has successfully figured out how to do.”

All of this is ignoring what the customer base thinks of the new app as well. According to Howard the response from the community has been positive, with many citing the app’s improvement over previous versions. Despite Google being happy with those older versions (suggested by its lack of complaint) it has now said that the current version is a “degraded experience.”

In closing, Howard reiterates Microsoft’s commitments to making a suitable, working app for its users to enjoy: “We are committed to giving our users the experience they deserve, and are happy to work with Google to solve any legitimate concerns they may have. In the meantime, we once again request that Google stop blocking our YouTube app.”

KitGuru Says: Does seem like Google is being unnecessarily harsh here. Odd too since iOS is a bigger competitor than Windows phones. What do you guys reckon?

[Thanks Wired]

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  • Richard Creedy

    Maybe google expects Microsoft to create the html 5 version, so that it can reverse engineer for its own apps, as it has been unable to create its own.

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