Google and Microsoft square off over Windows Phone Youtube app

by: Robert TriggsAugust 16, 2013

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Youtube is probably everyone’s most commonly visited video site, so Windows Phone owners will no doubt be disappointed to hear that Google is now blocking Microsoft’s Youtube app. But this isn’t a spontaneous decision by Google, the two companies have been arguing over Microsoft’s app for a little while.

The spat began after Google discovered that Microsoft’s original app didn’t included ads, and also came with a built in option for users to download Youtube videos to watch offline. Obviously this would mean that Google was losing out on revenue, and so the company asked Microsoft to remove the app from the Windows Phone Store.

However, Microsoft instead decided to simply update the app to remove the offending download button, and the latest version now includes ads as well. Sounds simple enough, and the problem should be resolved. However, Google has now taken issue with the way in which Microsoft has implemented the ads, but it seems that Google isn’t providing Microsoft with sufficient information to implement ads in the same way as the iOS and Android Youtube apps.

[quote qtext=”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.” qperson=”David Howard ” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

This is where the whole situation becomes a little complicated, as it also seems that Google has asked Microsoft to build its Youtube app on HTML5, which currently isn’t used by the existing iOS and Android apps. Microsoft is reporting that there are technical limitations in Windows Phone that prevents Microsoft from building the app how Google would like, and now feels that Google is deliberately making up reasons to block Microsoft’s app.

[quote qtext=”The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it.” qperson=”David Howard” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

At first glance it sounds like Google is being a little difficult, but there are a couple of things to consider. Firstly, Google built the iOS and Android Youtube apps itself, so the company has previously been able to build the app how it wants and control the code base. Microsoft wants to develop its own app for Windows Phone, to keep the experience on par with the Android and iPhone equivalents, but that may explain why Google is hesitant to hand over certain pieces of information, and instead wants all third party Youtube apps to be built from HTML5.

That’s not an unreasonable demand, considering that Google relies on advertising revenue, and Google can’t really be blamed for a lack of HTML5 compatibility with Windows Phone. Even so, perhaps Google could be a little more sympathetic to Microsoft’s situation. But the biggest problem here is obviously for Windows Phone users, who could be locked out from using a Youtube app for months whilst the two companies try to come to an agreement.

  • MasterMuffin

    “didn’t INCLUDE ads, and also came with a BUILT-IN” I’m a horrible person :)/:(

  • jaymac05

    This is an interesting article, I believe this is one of the many problems Microsoft has with the windows phone OS due to the lack of HTML 5 apps, my question is how the html5 apps compare to the apps in the App store and play store?

  • Amadeus Klein

    That is one thing that turned me off of WP… No flash I get, mobile flash is basically dead, but html5 is only growing right now. Failure to include it in WP is yet another decision by Microsoft that makes no sense…

  • zamir yusof

    “who could be locked out from using a Youtube app”
    Not much of a concern because us WP user still can use third party apps such as Metro Tube. We don’t get ads and the best thing is we can download the video too. Sure official app will be appreciated but until then third party apps still provide a very good experience.

    • Nickan Fayyazi

      I’m sure that will get shut down soon. Not exactly a “very good experience” for the hardworking YouTube video makers whose livelihood depends on ad money that they aren’t getting from users who use ad-blocking apps.

      • zamir yusof

        Tell you what, only Youtube app developed by MSFT shows ads and Google shut them down. Even without the app, WP user still can watch the video through browser and there is no ads as well. Google already stated that there is not much of WP user for them to be concerned to make official app so why should they concern now if these few number of WP user watching Youtube video without any ads?

        • Nickan Fayyazi

          Because it’s illegal. Meanwhile, Google not developing an app for WP isn’t illegal.

          • zamir yusof

            Which part is illegal? Afaik, they are not intentionally block ads, instead they don’t have the necessary data to let the app shows ads. If because of that behavior it’s considered illegal, then Google in the first place should ban using any ads block add-on from their Chrome web store.

    • the slayer

      hahah it’s stopped working now too….I do hope you get a refund lol :D

      • zamir yusof

        nah, still working great XD

  • APai

    microsoft has historically played like this forever now. it’s good that there is some sort of a payback by someone at some point of time. was waiting for such a day!

  • lil bit

    The Scroogled campaigns aren’t exactly helping either.

    I hate them both equally anyway.

    • mustbepbs

      Exactly. They’re taking pot shots at Google and expecting Google to not retaliate?

      I mean, that’s not how business works, I’m sure Google doesn’t care and just wants to ad money. But still, easier to think of it that way.

  • billnozick

    ..and obviously Google is not going to make a WP app for them. That just makes sense, w response to Bing vs Google ads, I appreciate that they’re intentially blocking them out of the market.

  • Greg Cardall

    Wait, wait, wait… What is this “Windows Phone” you speak of?

    I don’t think I even need to type anything else – my work here is done.

    • Guninder Sidhu

      Good ,, GTFO

  • Guest

    Get the facts straight! An HTML5 based app is not possible on ANY of the three platforms. YouTube on Android and iOS are NOT HTML5 based so why MUST it be HTML5 based on Windows?

  • Richard Sequeira

    Microsoft is finally getting a taste of their own medicine. In Microsoft’s twisted mind, it’s okay to treat other players like this. Does Netscape, OS/2, and WordPerfect ring a bell? They’re just suffering because their mobile market share is crumbling.