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

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.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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.


Editorial standards