Is Google trying to impede Microsoft's Windows Phone?

Summary:Microsoft isn't best impressed with Google's behavior, it seems.

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The Window Phone may not work seamlessly with every application on the planet, but who do we blame? Google, it seems.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Dave Heiner, Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft, wrote that as part of Google's anticompetitive practices, Microsoft's Windows Phone has been impacted -- something which needs to be changed not only for the good of the Redmond tech giant, but for "thousands of smaller companies whose businesses depend on a competitive search marketplace."

Google is currently under investigation by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and European Commission over allegations of anticompetitive behavior. Competing firms claim that how products are placed in Google searches, content copying with permission, agreement "exclusivity" based around advertising and the flexibility of AdWord campaigns all impact competition, and overal search "bias" hampers rival companies.

Whereas Heiner writes that Google believes these antitrust "offenses" cause no harm to consumers, Microsoft disagrees. Instead, he argues that antitrust complaints brought against the firm are far more than "sour grapes," and instead, both consumers and competitors are being "scroogled" on a daily basis -- something which comes from Google allegedly abusing its market position.

Heiner continues, saying that one would think "Google would be on its best behavior" considering the FTC and EC's investigations into possible antitrust practices, but "this is not the case." The main example? Microsoft's Windows Phone.

The VP admits that Microsoft has been "dogged" by issues over the introduction of a fully-functional YouTube app for the Windows Phone -- thanks to Google's stonewalling practices and "misconduct."

"YouTube apps on the Android and Apple platforms were two of the most downloaded mobile applications in 2012, according to recent news reports." Heiner writes. "Yet Google still refuses to allow Windows Phone users to have the same access to YouTube that Android and Apple customers enjoy."

Heiner believes that these types of restrictions are obvious examples of Google committing antitrust sins. Furthermore, he accuses the tech giant of blocking Microsoft's Windows Phones from operating properly by restricting the operating platform's access to metadata, and this in turn prevents the app from offering the same functionality as Android or iOS variants, which includes the ability to search for video categories and find favorites.

"As a result, Microsoft's YouTube "app" on Windows Phones is basically just a browser displaying YouTube's mobile Web site, without the rich functionality offered on competing phones." Heiner commented.

"Microsoft is ready to release a high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone. We just need permission to access YouTube in the way that other phones already do, permission Google has refused to provide."

Something which, if true, no doubt frustrates Microsoft based on the video streaming website's popularity -- and the basic expectation consumers have to be able to access it on their smartphones. However, the accusations run fast and thick, as Heiner continues on to say Redmond recently learned that senior executives at Google have been told not to enable a "first class YouTube experience" on Windows Phones.

These types of accusations are serious, and the results of both the FTC and European Commission's investigations remain to be seen. However, in the meantime, Heiner finishes with a Happy New Year message to Google:

"Hopefully, Google will wake up to a New Year with a resolution to change its ways and start to conform with the antitrust laws. If not, then 2013 hopefully will be the year when antitrust enforcers display the resolve that Google continues to lack."

Topics: Microsoft, Google, Windows 8

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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