Earlier today, the Microsoft-built YouTube app for Windows Phone was unceremoniously disabled by Google. These kind of little inter-corporate kerfuffles happen from time to time, and usually resolve themselves without screwing too many users. But boy, Microsoft didn't take it quietly.
In a screed published on this afternoon, Microsoft explains the whole ordeal, and it doesn't paint Google in the kindest light. You see, like a lot of companies, Google doesn't actively develop for Windows Phone because it figures Microsoft's mobile platform doesn't have enough users to make it worthwhile. And it doesn't help that Microsoft's a major competitor in multiple areas of Google's key business interests.
So Microsoft does big G a solid and builds a YouTube app on its behalf. And then Google pulls the plug. And then the fun starts:
We know that this has been frustrating, to say the least, for our customers. We have always had one goal: to provide our users a YouTube experience on Windows Phone that's on par with the YouTube experience available to Android and iPhone users. Google's objections to our app are not only inconsistent with Google's own commitment of openness, but also involve requirements for a Windows Phone app that it doesn't impose on its own platform or Apple's (both of which use Google as the default search engine, of course).
Google has never played fair with Microsoft. But it maybe went too far when it demanded that Microsoft code its Windows Phone YouTube app in HTML5. Microsoft looked into it, but decided it was too much work:
At the end of the day, experts from both companies recognised that building a YouTube app based on HTML5 would be technically difficult and time consuming, which is why we assume YouTube has not yet made the conversion for its iPhone and Android apps.
Not only do Google's engineers agree building the HTML5 app would be too difficult, they haven't even done it themselves on their other apps. So Microsoft said screw it and published the non-HTML5 app, which Google promptly disabled.
Google alleges that the app needs to run HTML5 so that it can properly serve ads. Microsoft thinks that's all hot air, and says so with more candor than we're used to seeing from multibillion pound public corporations:
It seems to us that Google's reasons for blocking our app are manufactured so that we can't give our users the same experience Android and iPhone users are getting. The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it.
And that's why 4.63-per cent of mobile gadgets lost their YouTube app today:
We think it's clear that Google just doesn't want Windows Phone users to have the same experience as Android and Apple users, and that its objections are nothing other than excuses. Nonetheless, we are committed to giving our users the experience they deserve, and are happy to work with Google to solve any legitimate concerns they may have. In the meantime, we once again request that Google stop blocking our YouTube app.
Hopefully the two companies will sort this out soon so that Windows Phone owners can get back to their videos of cats playing keyboards. In the meantime, they'll just have to make due with the catfight happening on corporate blogs. [Microsoft]