Microsoft resurrects YouTube-Windows Phone compatibility complaint

Microsoft resurrects YouTube-Windows Phone compatibility complaint

Summary: A more than year-old Windows Phone-YouTube compatibility issue is proof Google needs tighter antitrust scrutiny, according to Microsoft officials.


Google still has yet to address an alleged YouTube-Windows Phone compatibility issue, despite the fact it's under antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and abroad.


That's the latest charge from Microsoft, which seems to be trying to get ahead of the expected slight wrist-slap that Google could receive from the Federal Trade Commission this month -- if news reports about the likely outcome of a two-year-old Google antitrust investigation are correct, that is. (It's worth noting there's new evidence the FTC might be turning the screws on Google a bit tighter than originally anticipated.)

From a January 2 blog post by Dave Heiner, Microsoft Vice President & Deputy General Counsel:

"You might think that Google would be on its best behavior given it’s under the bright lights of regulatory scrutiny on two continents, particularly as it seeks to assure antitrust enforcers in the U.S. and Europe that it can be trusted on the basis of non-binding assurances that it will not abuse its market position further.

"However, as we enter 2013, that is not the case. Here’s just one example: We continue to be dogged by an issue we had hoped would be resolved by now: Google continues to prevent Microsoft from offering consumers a fully featured YouTube app for the Windows Phone."

Microsoft raised this same argument in 2011. Then, as now, the Softies cited alleged YouTube-Windows Phone compatibility issues as evidence that Google needed to be reined in more tightly by antitrust authorities.

Google bought YouTube in 2006. Microsoft claims since that time, the company "has put in place a growing number of technical measures to restrict competing search engines from properly accessing it for their search results." Microsoft officials claim Google has provided Android phones and iPhones with access to YouTube metadata that enables search for video categories, location of favorites, the ability to see ratings and other features that are blocked for Windows Phone users.

"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," said company officials in a blog post from 2011.

"Microsoft is ready to release a high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone," said the author of the 2011 post, Brad Smith Senior Vice President & General Counsel. "We just need permission to access YouTube in the way that other phones already do, permission Google has refused to provide."

Microsoft has been stepping up its anti-Google rhetoric as of late, a factor many attribute to Redmond's hiring of former political strategist Mark Penn last year. Predictably, Google's been doing its part to retaliate in the PR/marketing wars.

Not being much of an app person or a YouTube fan, I haven't been bothered by any YouTube-Windows Phone compatibility issues, myself. Anyone out there feel it's been a factor in deciding whether or not to "Bing it"?

Topics: Legal, Android, Google, iPhone, Microsoft, Windows Phone


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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  • Simple solution

    I actually think that Google is totally within their right to not comply with Microsoft's request. I ALSO think that Microsoft is totally within their right to release a patch for Windows that makes accessing Google and YouTube IMPOSSIBLE. You don't like it, run a different operating system.
    • Why would Microsoft do that?

      That would be akin to them shooting themselves in the foot.

      Same with Google, don't want to play nice with other platforms? Fine, I won't buy Android. Microsoft at least plays nice with other services.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • is it April already ??

        "Microsoft at least plays nice with other services."

        Is that a serious comment ???????????

        Like Windows Phone support of CalDav for example ????? or do they just support their own closed EAS protocol ??

        That's Microsoft ruled out for you too now, how about upgrading to Bada ???
        • And yet

          Microsoft has apps on iOS and Android.

          They play nice with others.
          Michael Alan Goff
          • oppp

            We were talking about open standards here not apps................
          • No

            This article is about apps, if you'd bother reading it.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • Nope

            No, this is about Microsoft whining that Google isn't making official and Native Youtube app using "Modern UI Language" for Youtube WWW service, because Google doesn't want to use UI design what Microsoft forces everyone to use cause it doesn't work well at all.

            Microsoft on services and APIs are not open and accessible by everyone, contrary to Google what use only standards what everyone can use, even Microsoft (and what it doesn't do and whine about it as well).

            The topic is Microsoft whining, not about apps.
          • Please provide your evidence

            I'll provide some counter evidence while we wait for you to provide any backup to what you wrote.

            "this is about Microsoft whining that Google isn't making official and Native Youtube app"

            But MS has an app written and ready to go so I don't think that you are right. Of course, if you have any counter evidence, please share it:
            "Microsoft is ready to release a high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone"

            "Google what use only standards what everyone can use"

            Then MS should already have permission to release the app they wrote:
            "We just need permission to access YouTube in the way that other phones already do, permission Google has refused to provide."

            So why is Google refusing to provide permissions that you are promising us are available for everyone to use? Sorry Fri13, I believe Google here, not you. Unless you can post some evidence?
          • MS App


            I have written an App for the MS Store called 'Microsoft Skydrive.' I have requested multiple times for Microsoft to release this App but for some reason they will not!?
          • No

            This is about Google refusing to allow Microsoft to make their own YouTube app. As in... they are working against a Microsoft-built app.

            This is about apps, genius.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • google refusing Microsoft...

            How is this any different from Google refusing Apple for years proper their YouTube, Maps etc services and only when Apple decided to remove the half baked apps they had ... then did Google provide native apps with proper API access to their services.

            It is apparent that Google does not want others to have direct API access to their services. But how is this any different from what Microsoft has been doing for decades?
          • not different at all

            from Microsoft endeavor for years. What goes around comes back around. Don't like to play nice? Expect reciprocity.
            That's life
            What is interesting is how things have changed. Who had thought, few years back, that the bully of those days, would be crying foul in a near future?
            Because, if I have to chose, can I live without Microsoft, or live without Google, I will choose not to live with Microsoft. In fact, I eradicated MS from my life a few years back, and life is good. I compute at work with W7, but most Windows stations are phased out, replaced with macs (far better ROI, among other benefits). I explain this to highlight my point: you can live outside Microsoft ecosystem, but you cannot live without Google -search, music, maps, CODE, android, MARKET.

            So yes, the tables have turned. Look who is complaining.
            (...and a big thanks, to Steve Ballmer)
          • @Theo_durcan

            "I eradicated MS from my life a few years back, and life is good."

            Actually, you eradicated MS from your "personal" life. You are yet to eradicate MS from your work life which funds your personal life.

            "but you cannot live without Google"
            I think we can manage.

            Search - Yahoo, Bing are there(not as good as Google's; But still we can manage)
            Music - Is it still alive? I never used it buddy
            Maps - Heard about some company called Nokia? For Open source alternative, what about OpenStreetMaps? Or wait for a few years and Apple Maps will be as good as Google's
            CODE - Should I argue?
            Android - No thanks for a copy cat crapware
            Market - Same as above

            Speaking of your words, at least you agree that Google is becoming more like the MS before the Anti-trust. The stupid governments are not aware of this though.

            Anyway, we can live without MS; without Google; without Apple. If we really choose to. Computers existed before these companies and I am sure that Computers exist even after these companies.

            Ever heard of Richard Stallman? The guy who is "somewhat known" for open source initiative and all? He lives out of all these companies in this era. So never say you can never live without MS or Google or Apple. Better say, you never wish to live without ___ (whatever company dude)
          • No

            This is about Microsoft whining and accusing Google of using their own tactics.
            Not hard to understand, no need for a Phd.
          • Clearly this is intentional.

            WP8 will likely eat into Androids market share first and Google knows this. What's messed up here is Google's choice to hurt consumers by playing this game. I personally don't use YouTube, but there are millions that do and not all of them want an Android or Apple device!
          • More proof you're brain dead...

            "this is about Microsoft whining that Google isn't making official and Native Youtube app using "Modern UI Language" for Youtube WWW service"

            No it's not. Get an education moron.
          • Chill down, cowboy

            you may try to improve your multitasking skills, to better think, and write at the same time!
          • Not so

            Go read it carefully. This article is about an app that **Microsoft** wrote for YouTube (Google did not write it). Then Google refused to give Microsoft permission to use the private API's that the iPhone and Android apps use. Google seems terrified of Windows Phone as of late.
          • You got it all Wrong!

            Google made the apps for both iOS and Android and Apple had integrated it into their iOS. Microsoft developed their App independent of Google without so much as requesting any permissions for site specific access to developer API's. To say this is wrong is like saying Microsoft should allow Google use of it's dot NET API's!

            If Microsoft wants to use Google's proprietary API's, let them pay for the License like Apple did!!!

            Terrified? lol.... yeah like as if nobody should be terrified of a company that secretly used "Embrace Extend Extinguish" tactics to kill their competition from the inside out. That was already decided what was going on in the US vs Microsoft Anti-Trust lawsuit!

            Proprietary API's are just that PROPRIETARY...... and the creator has a right to grant or deny use of them. Especially in this case where Microsoft refuses to pay a license like Apple did!
          • @KronJohn

            Is that so? In that case, MS also has everything within it's rights to not to let any one install any other browser other than IE right? Well, MS is not going to write browser app for Chrome or Safari or any other. Stupid Analogy. It is my machine and if I dont like something atleast I must have an alternative.

            "If Microsoft wants to use Google's proprietary API's, let them pay for the License like Apple did!!!"
            It is very funny. Apple paid not for the APIs. It paid to have the Youtube as pre installed App. And iOS 5 & 6 doesn't have it. My iPhone 4S doesn't have it pre installed after the update. Still I can install YouTube as another App. The problem here is that Google is not allowing MS to access the API which is allowed freely for Apple.