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The previous, disputed version of Microsoft's YouTube app
The previous, disputed version of Microsoft’s YouTube app

It’s been a long road for Windows Phone users wanting to watch YouTube videos in a native app on their phones, and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any shorter.

In case you’re just tuning in to this saga: Microsoft and Google-owned YouTube have been engaged in a protracted fight over the software, which most recently involved Microsoft releasing a version of the YouTube app that didn’t fit all of the streaming video giant’s demands and YouTube revoking Microsoft’s API access, followed by a war of words between the two companies.

Now, there’s a way forward for Microsoft and YouTube, but it sure isn’t pretty.

When you tap on the updated Windows Phone YouTube app, you’ll be taken to a web player, much like in the early days of Windows Phone’s support for YouTube. It’s better than an app that doesn’t function, but there’s not a whole lot else to recommend it.

While Microsoft has said that YouTube’s requirements for a mobile app are “impossible” to comply with, it seems YouTube has told Microsoft that compliance is the only way forward. There’s no word yet on whether Microsoft is working to build an HTML5-based app for YouTube in accordance with the streaming video company’s past request, or if this is the best Windows Phone users can expect moving forward.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on future plans, but referred to an earlier statement from Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel David Howard blasting Google for its hardline position on the Windows Phone YouTube app.

YouTube was not available for comment at press time.

Previously on GeekWire: Google blocks Microsoft’s new YouTube app for Windows Phone — the one that was supposedly OKMicrosoft: Google’s objections to YouTube on Windows Phone ‘nothing more than excuses’

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