It's now a war as Microsoft accuses Google of 'manufacturing reasons' to block Windows Phone YouTube app

Friday, 16 August 2013 - 12:17pm IST | Agency: BGR India

Google has again blocked the YouTube app Microsoft launched earlier this week for Windows Phone platform. This is the second time Google is blocking the app, earlier stating that the app violated Google’s terms and conditions, blocked Google ads on videos, let users download videos and even showed videos that were marked private by users. Microsoft had then taken down the app and both the companies were to work together to build the app for Windows Phone. But this time Google is blocking the app again as it is not made in HTML5, among other reasons. This move has frustrated Microsoft, which now claims that Google is manufacturing reasons “so that we can’t give our users the same experience Android and iPhone users are getting. The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it.”

In a scathing post on its TechNet blog David Howard, corporate vice president & deputy general counsel, litigation & antitrust, Microsoft, lays down the conditions Google has put in front of Microsoft to make a YouTube app, while not giving access to Microsoft data to be able to fulfil those conditions. He also mentions how Google does not impose the same conditions on its own YouTube apps on Android and iOS, while imposing them on Microsoft, which are impossible to fulfil.

“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. We’ve asked Google to provide whatever information iPhone and Android get so that we can mirror the way ads are served on these platforms more precisely. So far at least, Google has refused to give this information to us. We are quite confident that we can solve this issue if Google cooperates, but fixing Google’s concern here is entirely within Google’s control. If Google stops blocking our app, we are happy to work with them on this, entirely at Microsoft’s expense.”

Another issue here is the non-fulfilment of Google’s terms and conditions, one of which is making an HTML5 app. Microsoft claims that it is working on an HTML5 app but it has hit some roadblocks, possibly the same ones that Google has hit since it hasn’t launched an HTML5 YouTube app either on Android or iOS. Hence, according to Microsoft, those apps aren’t fulfilling the terms and conditions either, but they continue to exist.

“There was one sticking point in the collaboration. Google asked us to transition our app to a new coding language – HTML5. 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. We believe this approach delivers our customers a short term experience on par with the other platforms while putting us in the same position as Android and iOS in enabling an eventual transition to new technology. Google, however, has decided to block our mutual customers from accessing our new app.”

Microsoft now believes that Google just doesn’t want Windows Phone users to get a good YouTube experience on their smartphones. It even believes that to be the case because both Android and iOS use Google search as the default search engine, while Windows Phone uses Microsoft’s own Bing search engine.

“Google’s objections to our 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 (both of which use Google as the default search engine, of course),” Howard writes.

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