Microsoft just released an extensive response to Google’s decision to block a newly developed YouTube app for Windows Phone — contending that the search giant is arbitrarily holding Windows Phone to a higher standard than Android and iOS and coming up with excuses to shield its true motivation of hampering Microsoft’s smartphone platform.
“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 their objections are nothing other than excuses,” writes David Howard, a Microsoft deputy general counsel, in a blog post. “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.”
The response follows the news earlier today that Google is blocking the revamped Windows Phone app from playing videos, the latest twist in a saga that began when Google objected to the Microsoft-developed app back in May. In releasing the new app earlier this week, Microsoft had said it believed the app addressed Google’s complaints, in part by restoring ads.
The disagreement ostensibly revolves around HTML5, with Google saying in a statement this morning, “We’re committed to providing users and creators with a great and consistent YouTube experience across devices, and we’ve been working with Microsoft to build a fully featured YouTube for Windows Phone app, based on HTML5. Unfortunately, Microsoft has not made the browser upgrades necessary to enable a fully-featured YouTube experience, and has instead re-released a YouTube app that violates our Terms of Service.”
In his post, Microsoft’s Howard says Google isn’t being above-board with its complaint.
Google asked us to transition our app to a new coding language – HTML5. This was an odd request since neither YouTube’s iPhone app nor its Android app are built on HTML5. Nevertheless, we dedicated significant engineering resources to examine the possibility. At the end of the day, experts from both companies recognized 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.
For this reason, we made a decision this week to publish our non-HTML5 app while committing to work with Google long-term on an app based on HTML5. We believe this approach delivers our customers a short term experience on par with the other platforms while putting us in the same position as Android and iOS in enabling an eventual transition to new technology. Google, however, has decided to block our mutual customers from accessing our new app.
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.
We’ve contacted Google to see if it has a response to this latest Microsoft post.
This is part of a larger series of disputes between the tech giants, which have clashed over patents in particular in recent years. Microsoft is embroiled in a long-running patent dispute with Google’s Motorola unit. Microsoft has been able to get licensing fees from many of the smartphone makers that use Google’s Android operating system, based on Microsoft’s contention that Android violates its intellectual property.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign takes Google to task over privacy and issues related to email and other areas where they compete.