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The Google vs. MSFT YouTube App Spat Has Officially Erupted
After simmering for the past couple months, the spat between Microsoft and Google over the YouTube app that’s available for Windows Phone has now erupted.
That’s thank to a scathing blog post this afternoon from Microsoft VP and Deputy General Counsel David Howard that questions Google’s commitment to openness and accuses Google of making Microsoft play by a different set of rules than it requires of the YouTube apps for Android and iOS.
“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.”
The background here is that Google is again blocking the Microsoft-built YouTube app for Windows Phone — the second such block in the past three months. Google’s statement today about the block says that “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.”
In his post, Howard fires back by detailing Google’s objections to the YouTube app that Microsoft just released yesterday.
He says that Google asked Microsoft to develop the app in HTML5, calling it “an odd request” because other YouTube apps aren’t built that way.
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.
Advertising has been another issue. Google has charged Microsoft of not displaying ads in its YouTube app that meet Google’s guidelines. Howard, though, accuses Google of not giving it all the information needed to meet those guidelines.
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.
Howard ends the blog post by accusing Google of coming up with “excuses” for blocking the YouTube app for Windows Phones, and asking Google to put an end to the block.
The disabled app is still available in the Windows Phone Store, where users — not surprisingly — are largely reacting negatively to Google’s decision to disable the app by leaving reviews that say things like “Shame on You Google” and “Google are utter t*****s for blocking this app. They don’t like it for one reason & one only: ITS BETTER THAN THE RUBBISH ANDROID ONE & THAT WORRIES THEM!” (sic)
There’s more discussion on Techmeme.