There is quite an interesting stare down occurring between two tech giants, YouTube and Google. The focus of the tussle appears to surround an “official” YouTube app created for Windows Phone. Initially Microsoft released an official YouTube app on behalf of Google but in doing so circumvented some critical functions that included blocking ads that Google push to consumers. The app was remade and released to more closely resemble the YouTube apps that are currently enjoyed on iOS and Android. However, Google immediately blocked that app again. David Howard Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel for Microsoft had this to say:
You may be wondering what happened to the YouTube app for Windows Phone. Last May, after we launched a much improved app on our platform, Google objected on a number of grounds. We took our app down and agreed to work with Google to solve their issues. This week, after we addressed each of Google’s points, we re-launched the app, only to have Google technically block it.
We know that this has been frustrating, to say the least, for our customers. We have always had one goal: to provide our users a YouTube experience on Windows Phone that’s on par with the YouTube experience available to Android and iPhone users. 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).
When we first built a YouTube app for Windows Phone, we did so with the understanding that Google claimed to grow its business based on open access to its platforms and content, a point it reiterated last year. As antitrust enforcers have launched investigations against Google – some of which are still ongoing – the company has reiterated its commitment to openness and its ability to stick to its openness commitments voluntarily.
With this backdrop, we temporarily took down our full-featured app when Google objected to it last May, and have worked hard to accommodate Google’s requests. We enabled Google’s advertisements, disabled video downloads and eliminated the ability for users to view reserved videos. We did this all at no cost to Google, which one would think would want a YouTube app on Windows Phone that would only serve to bring Google new users and additional revenue.
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…
We think it’s clear that Google just doesn’t want Windows Phone users to have the same experience as Android and Apple users, and that their objections are nothing other than excuses. Nonetheless, 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.
I am really confused as to why Google is pushing new standards onto this fledgling operating system. It would seem that as long as the ads are being shown they stand to make money on YouTube as a service. Google has done a fantastic job of marketing themselves as a company that does no evil while simultaneously being as cut throat as every other company out there.
UPDATE: The new YouTube app for Android does not appear to be coded with HTML5.