Is Google trying to impede Microsoft's Windows Phone?

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

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140 comments
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  • whining always help

    MS is multi-billion $ company. And all they do is whining how bad competition is. Give me a break. MS with its monopoly on all MS Office file formats has hindered consumers for years to get an equally good product form a competitor.
    Their totally incompatible internet browser (IE 6) slowed HTML and internet development for years if not decades.
    This company has done more harm to common software development than any other company before. Windows itself is a prison with no way to escape.
    EnticingHavoc
    • Wow!!

      I've never heard a dumber remark on ZDNet ...
      roteague
      • Sure you have from

        Linux XXXXXXX - whever it's name is at that moment.
        ScanBack
    • IE6?

      What year are we on again?
      live.tiles
      • IE

        IE6 had a stranglehold on the market for years. It wasn't until the Mozilla group made a viable alternative, with added features (Firefox) that MS seriously decided to upgrade the browser.

        They were happy just extending IE6 with proprietary Active X controls.

        Yes in 2013 MS is competing by creating new browsers and generally keeping up to date, but EnticingHavoc is correct in saying that MS held back the browser, and it would be more advanced today if they didn't.
        wiseoldbird
        • So what you are saying

          is that Microsoft is responsible for the lack of competition to force innovation in IE6?

          Did the MS monopoly stop Mozilla from entering the market or did Mozilla do so well, because Microsoft let IE6 become vulnerable to competition and Mozilla to scoop up marketshare?

          Sounds like the free market working how it should...
          Emacho
        • Total belony, at every level

          MS has historically released new browsers at the same time that new OS's were being released. Witness the fact that XP came with 6, Vista with 7, and 7 with 8. Server 2008 coincided with V9, and we now have V10 with Win 8 and Server 2012. I think wiseoldbird may not be old enough to remember this.
          rock06r
    • Great While It Lasted.

      Yes. MS Office is and has dominated and, for the most part, so has Windows. But this has not been a really bad thing for consumers and IT people like myself. It's not like MS has been gouging the consumer for these products. I remember the day when there was Word Perfect, MS Office, Lotus Notes, Windows computers Macs, dumb terminals and more. It was soooo much more difficult to support the end user because you had to learn the ins and outs of ALL the different products and systems that people were using. I've enjoyed the last several years where I have been able to concentrate my efforts on supporting Windows and Office only. Now, I'm finding myself having to support iOS, Android, and possibly even Linux soon (OUCH!) along with Google Docs Star Office and all the other software competing with Office. The end users will suffer in the long run because no one support person can possibly master everything. So now all you MS haters have had your way and pushed them aside and lobbied hard for your new and, in my opinion, sub-par systems and software. Now, you might find that you have to eat the cake you baked. ENJOY!
      MCTronix
      • This is

        so damn true!
        Slartibartfass
      • I wouldn't say the others pushed them aside

        it's just that if IT is going to support BYOD, then there are rules (ones we've set ourselves at work)

        We'll support your work email, but if you can't open a .docx on you tablet or phone, it's not our problem - "these are the tools we use, and that's it".

        If you want to use Google docs or iWorks on your phone or tablet, that's on you.
        William Farrel
      • Then you need a career change

        Rather than whine that everyone does not want Microsoft, learn what i means to be valuable, rather than a Microsoft "click monkey".
        Troll Hunter J
      • Couldn't DISAGREE more

        The pain of supporting Windows is finally coming to a close.

        I've been supporting Windows and Linux servers. Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android devices (I count as a device everything from desktop computer to phone).

        Oh sure, when windows is working, it's wonderful. But that's not what we usually have to deal with is it?? It's when Windows decides not to update the prefetch data with a newer version of a program. Or when I have to deal with Outlook misbehaving because they decided not to have some sort of clean-out period for the image caching for email messages. Windows server becoming obsoleted, not because of the hardware, but because there are some incompatibilities between a new version of the client and the server. Rediculous.

        The Linux servers I run are a dream to administer. Now, it's not that they are bullet proof, they have their problems too. But when there is a problem that I'm not sure how to deal with, it's usually a quick search, copy-paste of some code to run a few commands or scripts, and we're back up and running. As far as devices, yes, android and ios have some little quirks to them as far as settings. But that's it. They just work.

        Office... oh please. Once we get Microsoft out of the way, then real standards can make my life so much simpler. Right now Microsoft has made the word and excel "open" formats (docx and xlsx) such a mess that currently nothing but MS Office can properly conform to it. If everything were using ODF (odt and ods) then it would come down to price and features of the office suite, instead of "that's just the way we've always done it".

        Honestly, I do think Microsoft does make some fairly good quality software, but they are burdened by marketing and management and are focused mainly on trapping consumers into their ecosystem. If they have a few good hard FAILs, then we might just see MS turn the corner and start actually contributing to the computing world, instead of leaching on it.
        Technical John
      • Amen.

        to that.

        I date from the time you needed printer drivers for every single application.
        And they all worked so good (NOT).
        Erwin
        Erwin.Craps@...
      • Would you like some cheese with that whine?

        If trying to learn and support more is too much for you then maybe it's time to get out of the business. You are absolutely correct that we can't expect all support personnel to be able to support anything and everything but I am sorry, you come across as a whiney little bioch. If the organization you work for is going to support all these devices then they need to make sure they are staffed to do so. It's not the fault of the users that want and prefer something other than what you are comfortable with, it's the fault of your employer for allowing these devices you don't want to support without additional help. The fact that you love all MS does not mean that everything else is sub par or that those that prefer the other options are in any way MS haters.
        non-biased
    • Microsoft Refuses to Adopt Web Standards

      The issue is that MS refuses to adopt new web standards again. Remember just a couple years ago when Netflix first started and wouldn't work on any web browser except Internet Explorer because of Microsoft's monopolistic push for Silverlight? This is the same issue all over again.

      MS is refusing to join the rest of the planet and throwing a tantrum because they can't ignore W3C web standards on their craptastic new device. Obsolete mind set.
      Shaky Pete
      • Huh?

        Microsoft is trying to actually work with the W3C.

        It's 2013, not 2003.
        Michael Alan Goff
        • Meh.

          "Microsoft is trying to actually work with the W3C."

          Meh. What about IE browser on Windows 8 vs Chrome or Firefox in terms of system access. Or Ms applications that default to IE instead of the default browser. How is that different than what MS is accusing Google of? Not to mention that MS could have YouTube functionality if they developed the API from scratch, it's just not being handed to them.
          Socratesfoot
          • You really don't know how it's different?

            Microsoft hasn't said that Google can't use Windows 8 APIs. Google has been refusing to give Microsoft permission to make their own app for YouTube.

            Also, why don't we just have every browser make their own APIs to work with Windows in that case? That'd be stupid.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • There are lies, darn lies, and Socratesfoot posts

            You can run Chrome and Firefox on windows 8. I don't know who declared that you can't. Maybe the apps won't be on MS's app market, but so what? Is internet explorer on the android market or the Itunes store? Tit for tat. You're actually complaining that MS does the same thing that everyone else has been doing for years.
            Creating API's from scratch? You obviously don't know a thing about programming. API's are supposed to interface to an existing layer, and protect the owners of that layer from 3rd party software. It allows one to keep code proprietary and protected while still allowing others to hook into it and use it. Creating your "own" API's just isn't done - for the simple reason that the programmer would have to know the vendor's base code to begin with. DUH. You learn that programming 101 these days. Guess you're still learning about where the "ON" button is located and the difference between "I" and "O" in I/O. Maybe next semester....
            rock06r
          • You can on W8

            I use Opera on Windows 8. Its only RT.
            Stephan Sevenyoln