Microsoft and Google agree to build YouTube app for Windows Phone 8

Microsoft and Google agree to build YouTube app for Windows Phone 8

Summary: After a public tussle, Microsoft and Google have agreed to jointly build a native YouTube app for Windows Phone 8, which will be released within a few weeks.


Microsoft and Google seem to have found common ground in their recent skirmish over YouTube on Windows Phone 8.


The pair announced on May 24 that they are going to build together a version of a native YouTube application for Windows Phone 8 that will meet Google's terms of service. The new app will be available in the Windows Phone Store in the "coming weeks," according to a Google spokesperson.

A quick play-by-play recap for those new to the latest Google-Microsoft feud: On May 8, Microsoft fielded a YouTube application that it built itself for Windows Phone 8. The problem: The app violated Google's terms of service by not serving ads and allowing video downloads. Google sent Microsoft a cease-and desist; Microsoft just yesterday updated its app, ceasing video downloads but still not serving ads.

Neither company would say yesterday what their respective next moves would be in the matter.

On May 24, I received this joint statement from Google and Microsoft:

"Microsoft and YouTube are working together to update the new YouTube for Windows Phone app to enable compliance with YouTube’s API terms of service, including enabling ads, in the coming weeks. Microsoft will replace the existing YouTube app in Windows Phone Store with the previous version during this time."

In the interim period, while the two companies develop the new app, Microsoft is going to replace the Microsoft-developed YouTube app that it released on May 8 (and updated yesterday) with the older, not-so-functional-or-pretty HTML version of the YouTube app for Windows Phone.

Microsoft has been complaining that Google has been withholding access to application programming interfaces (APIs) it needed to create a fully-functional YouTube app for Windows Phone. This is Google's public API for mobile app vendors wanting to build YouTube mobile applications. I've asked Google and Microsoft whether this is the same API the pair will use to jointly develop the new app. No word back so far.

Google, for its part, has made it clear that it intended to be the one developing any native YouTube apps for mobile platforms. (Users of mobile platforms Google didn't support were supposed to use Google's mobile YouTube site. Google also made it clear it planned not to release many applications for Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8, citing low market acceptance for the platforms as the cause.

I'm not sure what happened behind closed doors (and would love to know), but as a Windows Phone user, it's nice I'll have the choice of using a native YouTube app or YouTube's mobile site in the coming weeks. 

What's your take, readers? Who blinked? Any guesses why?

Update: For those asking whether today's agreement means Microsoft and Google will also jointly develop a YouTube app for Windows 8/Windows RT, a Google spokesperson told me there was nothing to share on that front today.


Topics: Windows Phone, Google, Legal, Microsoft, Software Development


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Wow

    Win for MS?
    x I'm tc
    • Credit to Google for doing the right thing

      But hopefully we will see the app continually supported with regular updates otherwise this is just a token gesture to obscure Google's malfeasance. An app that is never updated or updated slowly is almost as bad as one that doesn't exist.

      BTW, somebody tell Google to fix the YouTube app on Xbox 360, the latest version is terribly buggy and poorly designed.
      • exchange

        youtube to WP in exchange for office for Android and iOS!

        would be fair!
        Henrique Dourado
        • How would that be fair?

          Youtube is a free service, paid for by ads. Office is paid productivity software. Now if they offered it for free if you had an office subscription that would be a different story.
          Sam Wagner
          • Google knows....

            ...that WP is gaining traction within the consumers and cannot afford missing the extra revenue they can generate by allowing YouTube to be run on Windows Phone.

            I think this is a sign of the two and so companies accepting the reality on the ground: the siege wall surrounding the windows 8 and WP is cracking and the negative media is on its way of losing its credibility.

            The on going saga about Windows 8 and WP looks like a rerun of how Netscape was defeated by IE and Sony Play station was destroyed by Xbox. Truly, competition is good for consumers, but negative media run by hired known bloggers is obvious that it would never win the over all war. In the old tough days, the communists tried to scare people out of wearing jeans. No matter how many negative campaigns the communists run against jeans, at the end, they lost and everyone in the East started freely putting on pair of jeans.

            Surely, in Q3, we will note more consumers carrying WP phones. And note that it is not only Google recognising in pain the power of WP phones, but also BBC Iplayer accepted in crashing defeat the reality that they should not be missing riding the pending success of WP - you can now run IPlayer on WP phone.
          • about the jeans

            Not only not true, but there were government run factories that manufactured jeans. Lots of them. Whether those factories paid any royalties to the likes of Levi Strauss is a different story.

            But, you might have heard the tales that when you put on jeans, your man xyz will shrink.. Or perhaps you heard it in reverse and thus badly wanted jeans.
          • If you read history...

            ...the issue of negative media on jeans within the communist countries had nothing to do with health issues or something important to male population would shrink. The reality of the negative campaign was simply to get people runaway and not trust democratic countries. It was kind of scaring masses, as they were considered in that part of the comminist world, away for using any thing that we produce in free world.

            The same campaign has been launched by the two and so companies that feel Microsoft is invading their territories against Windows 8. However, the good news is that now the reality is becoming apparent. Google wants to ride the success of WP and Windows 8. BBC is now learning the same thing and created an IPlayer for WP.

            Just think about the madness surrounding the Start button. Why would I want to have Start button on my task bar, while I have many other ways of accessing it. Won't I like to have other important application's icon pinned on where I used to have the Start button?

            To be honest with you, it is maybe good to have the overheating Android phone during the cold winter period. But I do not need it during the summer. All I need is a stable smartphone that can allow me to do work and also consume the content on the web.
        • How does that even make sense?

          A native YouTube app is going to take "a couple of weeks". It's a simple program. It isn't anywhere near as complex as Office.

          Besides, it isn't as if Microsoft isn't making/maintaining apps of their on Android already.
          Michael Alan Goff
          • Yup, MS has a few apps for Android

            Such as SkyDrive and (former

            So, what did MS asked in exchange to write these apps?
          • Plus they are still updating Skype for Android (N/T)

            N/T = no text
  • It didnt take that long

    For google to buckle i supposed.
  • This is great news!

    Finally some mutual cooperation. However, I'm kind of inclined to not accept any further updates to the application too... even if an app update notification drives me insane. I like what Microsoft is done, and I hate the YouTube ads.
    • re:

      Yep. I installed the unrestricted version when I heard about it and did not update it when the no download version update was done. It works and, until it doesn't, I'm not updating it again.
      Sir Name
      • How do we know it's not an attempt by Google

        to embrace and extinguish by releasing the crappiest Youtube app ever?

        Good for MS to say this will be released "jointly" and not "Google agreed to create an app for us"
    • I suspect....

      Someone on high at Google (perhaps Larry himself) and directed the YouTube directors to cooperate simply because they realized they wouldn't win any serious battle. Both Google and YouTube are practically monopoly status, they were purposely restricting access to Microsoft to the API's, and Microsoft was using API's that publicly exist from Google, so they didn't really have a leg to stand on regardless of their terms of service. Especially since (at least publicly) Microsoft has gone on record to say, "We're trying to do the right thing for consumers and Google."

      And let's face it... Microsoft did this to call Google's bluff and force their hand on the matter. Hook. Line. Sinker!
    • Finally some mutual cooperation...

      It is a start...

      MS Exchange webmail is still very limited on non-IE browser. Spoof the browser header to trick OWA and poof!! full functionality!!!

      To me they are both playing stupid games and making fools of themselves.
      • maybe your exchange is not up to date

        Because Exchange 2012 works perfectly fine with Chrome, just sayin
        • There is no such thing as Exchange 2012

          Allthough Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013 both exist and indeed offer the same across IE, Firefox and Chrome.
  • Yay!!

    Customers WIN!!! =D
    • Debatable...

      I mean, let's face it... we are going to be subjected to ads now. But yes, cooperation is a good thing, and I'm guessing that Google ultimately realized that it was in their best interest.