Microsoft responds in detail to Google’s blocking of YouTube; cites HTML5 and unfair treatment

Last night, Windows Phone Central broke the news about the new Microsoft branded YouTube app essentially breaking. We investigated the problem and concluded that it was due to a revoked developer key. Such a scenario could only happen if Microsoft forgot to update it or if Google yanked it.

That latter situation implies that Google did not authorize the app and was taking direct action of their own by disabling the video player on all Windows Phones. Indeed, just a few hours ago this was confirmed when Microsoft said as much in a note to the press.

Now, David Howard, Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft, has taken to TechNet, Microsoft’s blog on legal and public policy. Needless to say, the nearly 1000 word statement is chock full of information and more details on the matter, making an excellent read.

HTML5, branding and unfair requests

Presenting Microsoft’s side, which of course is expected to be biased towards themselves, Howard finally gives the details behind the current situation with Google.

It’s noted that for a few years now, Microsoft has been striving for a comparable YouTube experience that is found on the iPhone and Android—something for which we see as reasonable. Redmond reiterated that claim earlier this year soon after Windows Phone 8 launched. Google, however, was reportedly not willing to share certain data with Microsoft on to make that happen. As a result, up until April 2013, Microsoft had a much inferior YouTube experience.

This past spring, Microsoft released their version of a YouTube app and it was very well received by the community. However, Google took issue with it and asked that it be removed. Microsoft obliged with the condition that they can work with Google to release an app of comparative performance with their competitors (iOS and Android).

Microsoft agreed to Google’s terms and in version 3.2 of the YouTube app, released earlier this week, they had enabled Google’s advertisements, disabled video downloads and eliminated the ability for users to view reserved videos.

But there was evidently one more thing Google wanted: the app to be coded in HTML5.

"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. The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it." - David Howard
Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

Microsoft notes that this was an unusual request since iOS and Android are currently not encoded in HTML5 and moreover, after investigating whether it could be done both companies agreed that making an HTML5 app would be technically difficult and time consuming (and perhaps that was Google’s intent).

This was the breaking point as Microsoft decided to release the non-HTML5 version of the app with the intention of returning to the matter later with Google.

Other lingering issues

Other problems that Google cites are ads “based on conditions imposed by content creators” aren’t always displayed. Microsoft claims that they need more data for this, something for which Google reportedly won’t share.

Finally, Google evidently now has a problem with the branding i.e. it seems like an official Google app when it’s made by Microsoft. Another reason is that according to Google, this new app provides a “degraded experience”, something for which most users have not objected too, making it vacuous.

Where to next?

It is clear Microsoft is ratcheting up the PR war by releasing this statement. From their perspective, Google has set prejudicial requirements for Windows Phone that iOS and Android are not obliged to meet. To that end, especially the request for the app to be in HTML5, it does seem that Google here is behaving rather dishonestly.

However, we should note that Google has yet to go into as much detail and surely they have their side as well. Regardless, this dispute has clearly crossed a line and Windows Phone users are suffering at their expense.

Source: TechNet



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Ervin Amir says:

I think google had a taste of revenge against Microsoft........

WPBlox1989 says:

What revenge? Google used Microsoft's abandoned patents for improving Android and they were sued to pay for using them.
What if you created a software product and someone else used patents you abandoned and claimed that you no longer used them? Of course you'll sue that someone to pay for these abandoned patents! Patents, whether they're used or abandoned always belongs to the patent owners (in that case Microsoft) and nobody or no other company can use them without permission or payment.
So it's not truly Google taking revenge against Microsoft, but Google going against Microsoft and us the Windows Phone users and don't think that Google can patent the name YouTube and the associated app, YouTube is a public video service and cannot be patented.

Microsoft, you were Scroogled!

Nuno Silva says:

If Microsoft blocked google and other google stuff in all windows PC, GOOGLE would be shitting their pants and crying for Microsoft help.

Probably 90% of people use windows in their PC so...

jlzimmerman says:

The comments for M$ to pull or disable every M$ service or license from Google are not only thinking with their emotions, but obviously do not work in this very competitive business.  With M$ at the bottom of many of these services and products (with little market share in the phone community), it would be disasterous for them to pull such a knee-jerk reaction.  Furthermore, the media would have a field day.  Many of them are still very anti-M$, regardless of how much Google has started to be seen as a tech bully.
The best thing to do is stop bitching here and voice your displease at google; be it Twitter, Facebook, email support, blogs, whatever.  If YOU use a google service, tell Google to stop the immaturity.  YOU are the customer.
In the mean time, stop using YouTube and use services like DailyMotion, Blip.TV, Vimeo, ZippCast, or Metacafe.

jlzimmerman says:

*duplicate post*

Blade2099 says:

Shouldn't there be a class action law suit against this kind of thing.  The whole idea of open standards and services is that we should be able to consume information in any form we choose and any platform we choose.  Google's behaviour is attrocious and they need to be taught a lesson.  Unfortunately, it's the public who have enabled them and only we can stop them by not investing in there technologies if it's too restrictive. This is the same beast that Microsoft was 15 years ago... and I'm glad to see how Microsoft have changed to become more supportive of open standards. Now we just need Apple, Google, and others to do the same!
In the meantime... I'd like to see the Youtube unblocked by Google immediately or I will most certainly move away from there services and won't be recommending them to anyone.  Alternatively, most quality videos these days tend to be on Vevo anyway - and there's an app for that already.

ejlee072006 says:

They should block Skype for all android devices..not all android devices uses Skype anyways.. Let the war begin

Great point! Let the war begin!

exsanguine says:

phuck google. they are the enemy.
I haven't searched on google in over 3 years.
Haven't used google docs, email or any other offering of theirs.
As Cartman would say "How would you like to suck my balls Mr Garrison?!"

giffis says:

MS should start MyTube. Forget YouTube (GooTube). Make it GoTube. People will eventually add content to it. Give a better ad profit share than Google. People will definitely post their content.

raycpl says:

Unistalled youtube. Quit Google+ too. Gmail is next... Why?? Because I can... !!

And Google's slogan is "Don't be evil"...Isn't that ironic at this moment?

its_wasims says:

google is such an A** h***


deluksic says:

Just download metrotube..

ianberg says:

Hey Google, you've changed. You're evil now. 

Ryanz says:

As much as I love my Nexus 7 and am tied in with so many Google products (granted I've been with Blogger & YouTube since before Google owned them), I'm just getting sick of them.
This was a cheap shot with the app. But it doesn't stop there for me.
Many changes with Gmail I absolutely despise, and I find the mail is now worse.
The new/future Google maps is brutal. The current/original one is IMO perfect.
The last batch of changes with YouTube have me going there far less.
Laziness is keeping me from switching my blog over to WP.
Chrome updates are hit and miss. Some are great, some have me using Firefox.
I actually like Google+ (mainly because I hate Facebook).
The lack of a Google Drive app for Windows Phone has me using Skydrive on my Lumia 520, Nexus 7 and PC.
And lastly the search, which I didn't truly realize until today. I was searching for a product and simply couldn't find it on Google. When I went to Bing, they didn't find it initially, however had a suggestion on the side of alternative search terms, which found it instantly. When I tried Google again with Bing's suggested term, they still couldn't find what I was looking for.

terrokkinit says:

I remember now why I switched from Android to WP8, and this makes it more evident. Google is playing bully to competition, and is going directly against their own mission statement of openness and freedom of data with the Internet. Shame on you, Google, and go Microsoft!

jdominguess says:

Can you confirm if this source is real as Microsoft's answer to Google? http://bit.ly/17sN7Aj

jdominguess says:

Thank you Josh Harman.

We will see what Google has to say.


Ristogod says:

Agreed fuck Google.

kennny says:

509 coments lol never thought id see wp users so fired up

johnh3 says:

Now its the time to make a own video service bingtube or something:
Google will always try to make things hard for Windows Phone users.

Josh Harman says:

@google @youtube #donoevil @Microsoft @windowsphone

migueli2 says:

I'm glad MetroTube fit my needs :-) This way i don't have to spoil my Phone with Google things :-)

kadeep says:

All these are what MS want. 

WallOfShame says:

At one moment Google is fighting internet censorship and at the other it censure a certain community. How hypocritical? They have contradicted their own idea of free and fair internet access to everyone! That too for silly reasons. #disgusting

afgzee says:

this is a disgrace. its gone to a new low that they are happy to make their customers lives a misery.

Fendero Rede says:

Youtube/Google is enjoying an unnecessary monopoly. Microsoft should team up with Yahoo, or other big name to launch an alternative to Youtube. I think we the users deserve it. Maybe an unprecendented alliance with Vimeo might be the course of action.

orangecam says:

I am so sick of Google and their anti Microsoft attitudes. Microsoft made the effort to make an awesome YouTube app for Windows Phone and Google thinks it's funny to crush it. In my opinion, Google is scared of Windows Phone and it's future success and wants to crush it now before it really gets going. I have been using Windows Phone now for a few months and I have to say that the Windows Phone is awesome.

SMMinke says:

It's fun to watch the little petulant 6-year-olds at Google try to flex their "Search Engine Muscle" against Microsoft. Pitiful. Microsoft can end them at any moment by blocking Google's search engine on all Windows devices.

CFNG says:

All I can say is, use this https://adblockplus.org.

CFNG says:

All I can say is, use this https://adblockplus.org.

popmart1970 says:

Child's play at a high level!!
If you block 1 platform due to regulations.....let at least 2 others continue whilst all 3 are using html5....is beyond my comprehension!!!
Bring google to court for discrimination.....!!!!!!

suresh419 says:

Still no signs... App still broken...

Haha Win says:

This is silly and will backfire on Google.

tom5 says:

That's very interesting: if Google want's Microsoft to base the app on HTML 5, why don't they make a HTML app themselves for Android and iOS?

Yugiro says:

Greediness runs in the veins of Google.

marcwagz says:

wow what a dick move
ms should yank the skype app on android