Google to Microsoft: Remove your YouTube App from the Windows Phone Store [Update]

Last week the official YouTube app for Windows Phone received a major overhaul. Version 3.0 of the app brought some awesome Windows Phone 8 features like the ability to play under Lockscreen, download videos for offline play, pinnable channels and more. It went from web-wrapper to awesome with the recent update. Google now wants the app removed from the Store for violating YouTube’s API and Terms of Service.

Francisco Varela, YouTube’s Director for Global Platform Partnerships, sent a letter to Todd Brix. The latter (attached/linked below) asks for Microsoft to remove the YouTube app from the Store by Wednesday, May 22. Not just remove the app, but also disable existing downloads of the app. Aka, the “kill switch”, which (as far as we can remember) has only been used once before.

Here are three strikes against Microsoft according to Google.

  • Allows users to download videos from YouTube
  • Prevents the display of advertisements in YouTube video playbacks
  • Plays videos that our partners have restricted from playback on certain platforms (e.g., mobile devices with limited feature sets)

Here’s a choice quote from Varela specifically about removing ads from YouTube videos:

“Content creators make money on YouTube by monetizing their content through advertising. Unfortunately, by blocking advertising and allowing downloads of videos, your application cuts off a valuable ongoing revenue source for creators, and causes harm to the thriving content ecosystem on YouTube. In addition, your application overrides specific decisions made by some content creators to keep their content from displaying on certain types of devices, which in many cases are due to exclusive distribution arrangements those content creators have with third parties. YouTube’s agreements with creators give them choices in how their content is presented and distributed, and your application takes away that control.”

It’s understandable for Google to be upset at Microsoft for circumventing their ad revenue, but it would be nice for the two tech giants to play nice eventually. This isn’t the first time Windows Phone users have been shafted by the Mountain View company not willing to develop for the platform. We could list a dozen other examples, but the today we’re focused on YouTube. Earlier this year we learned that Microsoft has put the ball squarely in Google’s court to give a decent YouTube experience on Windows Phone.

Update: Microsoft is sending out a standard PR response on the matter, tossing the ball back into Google's court:

"YouTube is consistently one of the top apps downloaded by smartphone users on all platforms, but Google has refused to work with us to develop an app on par with other platforms. Since we updated the YouTube app to ensure our mutual customers a similar YouTube experience, ratings and feedback have been overwhelmingly positive. We'd be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs. In light of Larry Page's comments today calling for more interoperability and less negativity, we look forward to solving this matter together for our mutual customers."

You can view the letter right here.

Source: The Verge


Reader comments

Google to Microsoft: Remove your YouTube App from the Windows Phone Store [Update]



Fuck Google, a rotten company. Never going back to Gmail, Vimeo before Youtube, every other search engine I can possible find...

Might just shut down my Gmail account, which exists for the sole purpose of recovering my Live account's password in case of a security breach (though I have several other of Microsoft's security features in place so that such a thing will be merely a last resort). I can just make another Outlook account for the sake of that.

By keeping google mail, you giving google ammunition for proof Gmail has millions of users. Close it down and open yahoo mail or use your work mail.

Google pointed out that WP lack user base, hence there was no need to develop an offcial app.
since there is no user base, there is no lost revenue, ur  words google..

I was done with Google years ago. Here are some alternatives to Google:
Gmail -> Yahoo, Outlook
YouTube -> Vimeo
Blogger -> Wordpress, Tumblr
Google+ -> Facebook, Twitter
Google -> Yahoo, Bing
Google Music -> Spotify
Anything else?

Google Code -> Github, Bitbucket
Google Docs -> Office 365
Google Drive -> Skydrive, Dropbox, Box
Google Calendar -> Outlook, Yahoo
Google Maps -> Bing Maps, Map Quest
There is a lot more I'm sure but I can't think of anything else. At this point I only use my google account for YouTube and Google Code.

Microsoft could leverage Skype since it owns it and make a pretty good Google Voice competitor. And I could see that being a possibility in the future. As for Google Fiber, currently that's the best option in that department, so kudos to Google for that.

Outside of the US, so neither of these are relevant to the vast majority of users, thpigh there are other VOIP and ISPs in the world.

Completely understand the reasons said by Google. Hopefully this will lead to an update version of the app which follows these rules before May 22nd.

It won't work.  Side loaded apps look for the app in the store to see if you have the rights to install it.  The exception may be if your phone is developer unlocked, but I haven't tried that.  If I could get the USAA xap, I'd try it, because I'm getting a 928 tomorrow, and I'll lose the USAA app that's on my 822, but is no longer in the store.  BOO!

Google needs to get over it. All of it. Support Windows Phone platform for your millions of gmail & google+ users who have Windows Phones

I like the Battle, it's good competition so ms will invent hopefully more of its own en let's rule the market. Recently i ditch gmail. I like where ms is going.

The most comical part is where they suggest Windows Phone users should be using the HTML5 webpage as opposed to an official YouTube application. Google just doesn't seem to get it.

Wait a minute, wasn't Larry Page on a rant today during I/O that the tech giants were not working together to make things a better experience? Saying Microsoft added google messaging to outlook, bit Microsoft not doing in kind?

Yeah, pretty much proves them a hypocrite... who do you think adding Google Talk to benefits more... Microsoft or Google? Oh yeah, Google, because people don't need to leave GMail. How long before Google implements the same Skype federation on Google Talk? Oh wait, that won't happen.

he forgot to point out during his rant that the open standard microsoft is using to use chat is being killed. Google is leaving XMPP in the dust with their new chat. 

Because they need to be distributed in a way that everyone gets a fair chance. Including content creators who make a living off of YT ads that are blocked by MS's app.

So glad I moved to and ditched Gmail. I am google free in my life and couldn't be happier. They can kill this app but I will just continue to enjoy ad free YouTube on Metrotube. Just another reason for me to never support google. Bring us an official app or stfu.

That's Microsoft fault. They agreed with the Terms of Use of YouTube API. Don't play dumb now. Get the app fixed.

They've already tried playing nice, and asking, but Google won't play, so I'm guessing that they did this to push Google into doing something.

I'm sure you'd all be asking for blood if Google were using Exchange ActiveSync without paying Microsoft?

Not only are MS depriving Google of their bread and butter money, they're also taking it from the content creators of the very videos watched on the app through the inability monetise other creations with the lack of advertising dollars..

I'm sure these people don't deserved to be shafted, do they?

That's why they should officially support windows phone with their own app or pay something to own the ms built one and add advertising to it

Everybody seems to be very happy suggesting as a substitute to the horrible Facebook app. I'm glad someone realised webpages suck.

However their API is flawed if it allows blocking ads or downloading when it shouldn't. This is googles fault not Microsoft's.

I'm calling your BS here, because it in no way represents the actual situation....

There is a level of metadata that YouTube made available to Apple so that APPLE could make native app for iOS, before Google started building it themselves.

This data isn't available to any other 3rd party developer.

To enable ads, MS needs Google to either build the app themselves or allow the MS app to access this metadata.

It would cost Google nothing to allow MS to access this data, and it would enable ads on WP devices, as well as allow MS to build a native WinRT app that would-be more engaging than the website, while serving up the ads so YouTube content creators rely upon for revenue.

What a load of crap. Go watch a video on you tube, then the same one on iOS or Android...guess what? Ads on you tube, no ads on either app. Also, need we get into the hundreds of third party apps that block ads and allow you to download? Spare us the self-righteous indignation.

Nothing made up here. Neighbour's iphone? No ads. Brother's Galaxy SIII? No ads. Look down about 9 posts or so and you'll see Sam experienced the same thing. Have fun in your little world of make believe.

FYI: YouTube ads don't play on EVERY video. Check the odd one and you'll likely not see a single one. The facts are there if you want to believe (I.e, pull your head out of yours, or Steve Ballmers arse and you may learn something).
If the screenshot I provided of an Adidas asdon the YouTube iPad app isn't enough, how about this YouTube article?
Ads do exist in videos provided by the YouTube app. That is a fact no fanboyism can deny.
 Think I'll call it quits with you though. You seem too much of an ardent WP fan to see otherwise.

So let's see...liar, arse, fanboy...can you think of any other schoolyard insults to use? Not once did I insult you and yet here is what I receive. I think you've shown your true colours and I actually quite pity you. I love when people say 'I'm done with you,' 'tis to laugh. One, I don't care, be done or not <shrug>.  I have bag sweat that means more to me than your opinion. Two, why respond if your done? A complete contradiction to the statement. Anyway, once again, have fun in your little world where it appears you need to create fiction in place of facts in order to satisfy some internal desire for smug gratification. Have a crumpet and smile, it might make you feel better :)!

I can agree with the Points Google made but Microsoft should just remove downloadable video feature. Sadly.

Just goes to show that there is concern about how big the windows phone platform will be it is growing very fast and it has already got a massive following but seems that google won't play nicely. Maybe its time to build a youtube alternative or buy one and make it bigger n better.

Fuck Google! MS please send out a fix so that no google products work on Windows. For a few hours. I use some google services but seriously google, give ms access or shut the hell up.

Imagine if ms sent a c&d to remove all google code from Ms products... they would have government yelling at them so fast. But google can do the reverse.... Hmmm

Then what about all the other YT apps for WP? Will the ask MK to kill all of them as well?
Also, does the HTML5 mobile site display ads inside video?
Does the iOS version of YT display ads? And what about the Android version? I mean, one of the 28472947 different YT apps available for iOS and Android...

Interesting point. The other day when this came up I tried a video online had an ad. That same video did not have an ad in the iOS YT app. 

Sam please remind me when was the kill switch used in the past? I know it was around Mango but cant remember what app that was!

I didn't know it wasn't the officially app from google self. But instead of asking if they would change the app so it won't violate google's terms, google is playing hard. Why? It is a nice app!

I think we need more light shed on this issue. Seems both are not playing nice with each other but in the end the consumer (us) end up losing. Microsoft and Google really need to set their competitive nature aside to some degree to give their consumers the best experience.

Agreed but whereas Microsoft is offering its services on other platforms, Google aren't in some cases (ours). Not saying Microsoft are saints but where would Google be now if Microsoft had stopped their service being used on Windows? I know it isn't quite the same, just trying to make a point.

Yeah I agree on that as well. Funny how Microsoft can get fined for making Bing the only usable search engine on WP, yet Google can pull this nonsense.

They did, but Google said "no" and Google also said that they weren't going to publish their own official app either. Microsoft must have become fed up with Google's bullshit and just published the app anyway lol

Read the article before,but it's weird that Microsoft went ahead and did this knowing full well that Google would call them out.

they are asking google from long time... but google is not permitting for unknown reasons. lol
too paranoid of competitions. LMAO

I am glad I have slowly moved away from Google services. The only thing I have left is Picasa. Google are well within their rights on this occasion but as mentioned above, why don't they just create an app that will work the way they want it to then? If it isn't worth their effort due to market share then stopping Microsoft from creating one shouldn't be worth the effort of stopping them. They are just being dicks because they can. Who is evil? So ironic.

This looks a little bit more like sabotage on the platform. If they were really worried about lost revenue, wouldn't they just work with Microsoft to have the app show ads? Heck, had they made the app themselves, they would've saved themselves from all this trouble.

Wtf since when did adds appeared on mobile phones? I had a iphone for 4year and never saw one and now google are saying this bullshit

It sounds like Google is really exercising their monopoly on the platform. They own the video market, but they are denying anyone the ability to license it properly. Those who do get licensed and use the available API's get punished. Sounds like the workings of an antitrust lawsuit to me.

i was gonna say the same. Could MS have almost baited google into this with the app? They must have know that Google would make an issue of it?

So yet again WP users suffer resulting from Google/MS bickering. Thanks a lot assholes. Have fun with your millions of dollars and yet again say "screw you" to the common-folk

I hate to say this, but I would have to side with Google. The problem is, what Microsoft did was violated Youtube's TOS. The biggest problem here is removal of ads. Let's not forget that Google is not the only one who gets revenue from ads. Uploaders who have adsense also get revenue and by removing ads, Microsoft basically showed a middle finger to Google and the power uploaders.
Redesign the damn app to not violate TOS and be done with it.

Except that it contradicts what happens on other platforms, and Google doesn't say anything about these downloaders or other apps everywhere else.

Thats the main Problem: Google is a drug dealer giving the uploaders Spam ads to earn money. But youtube is now a ugly platform full of Spam. One question. Dies Google interest in my terms of privacy?

I was thinking since I got the app that people's videos I watch won't get a cut of the ad revenue..
But as everyone's said Google's stance is full of double-standards.
On one hand they won't make any official app past Search because they say the market share is too small, but then say that the lack of ad revenue from said market share is harming all the partnered YouTube channels.
Google you can't have it both ways, keep to one clear stance please by either making official apps yourself like you do for iOS or let Microsoft keep the one they made.
I'd prefer an official one as my favourite youtubers get their cut from my views!

While I actually agree with google being pissed and wanting the app removed, MS should just say F U make a real app and we won't need to make one ourselves

The question I have for all the major plays (BB, Apple, Microsoft, Google), do we really want to resort to the legal system to enforce a policy that the user will determine the fate of a platform by adoption, not by artificial limits set by a vendor to limit or otherwise constrain how other vendors interface with their platform? Case in point, Microsoft getting slammed by huge legal penalties for the way they embedded IE into their OS. One could argue from a legal perspective, this is an unfair business practice by Google that falls in line with similar practices such as backbone providers prioritizing their network traffic over a competitor, or perhaps the investigations that Google has faced prioritizing their product ad's over others creating a biased search result in favor of Google. Wasn't it Google that made the statement: Don't be evil when talking about other vendors compared to the supposed openness that Android and Google were to bring to the marketplace? It would seem that in the pursuit for more money, even with best intentions, companies are demonstrated a lack of desire to allow competition to compete and have the consumer be the ones to make the ultimate decision. I'll use Android as an example. Prior to Android, there was Blackberry (formerly RIM) and Apple. The fear at that time was with closed ecosystem models and vendor forced design that choice was missing for consumers. Along came Android and all of it's fragmented friends, and we see that the playing field is not evening out as consumers pick based on their preference instead of picking based on a lack of alternatives. For folks like myself and others on WPCentral, our choice has been to evaluate the playing field and make a conscious decision that WP is a better platform for us. In that choice, to have vendors such as Google acting in practices that are at their core evil by not allowing other vendors to interface with commonly used products such as YouTube, means that the only recourse we have is the legal system or waiting for the legal system to enforce business regulations designed to prevent or disuade businesses from behaving in this very way. 
So don't be evil Google, and scroggle us non-Android lovers. Just like you don't discriminate access to Youtube based on the type of Browser you choose to use, don't limit what platforms can develop apps for Youtube. And Microsoft, don't play the innocent one and conform to other apps and allow advertising to be displayed. If we want a similar user experience across similar smartphone platforms on a free service like Youtube, we all get that we are going to be subject to advertising. Trust me, we get it that when a service is free, the user is the product =/.

First, Microsoft didn't block the ads. It's google who didn't allow Microsoft to read the metadata, which will be used to show the ads. Google is the one who play innocent about the ads thing. If anything that Microsoft fault, it's the ability to download the video.
Second, about Don't be evil thing. I bet that the complete sentence will be, "Don't be Evil! Because I'm the Evil one!" :)

Fuck Google.. Just ridiculous.. YouTube experience on Windows Phone has been horrible, except for a few third party apps like Metrotube.. iOS has a massive install base and an App.. WP has smaller base and no App (from Google).. :-/

I am a WP fan but i think Google is right and should just replace the app with thier own official app with adds or allow Ms to enable ads on the app in question. Thats fair. I think we might start to see apps go exclusive to platforms.

I agree with you. Google pulled youtube apps from the playstore that violated their TOS. They also pulled adblockers as well. I'm not surprised they want MS to pull this one for violating their terms of service.

Hey Googledorks, I don't need your stinking YouTube anyway, and I don't need anything else associated with you, so suck on that!

it isn't youtube, its the higher up guys at google. the guys at youtube wanted to make an app for WP long ago but were told not to by the big boys over at google. 

Me personally dont give a fuck about you tube app..i use METRO TUBE.
BUT!!! msft should not mess with Google... Period...

The ironic thing is that I used the MS developed Youtube app on my Windows Phone to unsubscribe from all the subscriptions that have anything to do with Android, that and I'll be selling my Galaxy Nexus.

My thoughts exactly. If the BBC have shown they can give a damn about WP by release an iPlayer app, and I use the term app very very loosely, then surely Google can.

i really hate google now, such a nasty jealous company, will be removing google chrome from my system. i think Microsoft will either respond by changing the app so it doesn't violate the terms, or they will leave it as it is and make google huff and puff some more. 
I really hope google goes down hard one day. 

Today in Google IO larry page mentioned on how companies should work together and not be negative. I don't think Google and Microsoft are ever coming to terms on many things which is sad. 

Can't MSFT just update the app with video ads, remove the download functionality and make it so videos play on the specific platforms? Fix the three problems and good deal? 

They might be easily remove the download ability. But for ads, they can't. The don't have access to the ads API. The ads thing is up to Google, not Microsoft.

Seriously set the f*ck out Google, you are bas*t*rd.

what the he*l with u are ?

for such as deceive company u are not deserve do that, where is the freedom.

so for the win win solution mst will allow ads and remove download ability in Exchange remove all of u tube apps on android store which can download and remove all addfree apps.

well im glad finally i can confess my badd a*s word, fuihhh
#in doing wipe my sweat as beautifully


So either Microsoft releases an update and fixes all these issues or we say goodbye to the awesome YouTube app because google will never make an official windows phone app.

Hmmm...and this from a company that is supposed to do no evil. I really hate google and try to avoid it as much as I can.

Why is everyone here blaming Google? Why don't you blame poeple at Microsoft for not reading the Guidelines? And all the time I read comments on this site, everytime I get the feeling like you are always the victims of capitalism, monopoly and unfairness. You know, you went for a new platform that's not there yet. Put your things together and either wait for things to improve or move on.
And keep in mind, Microsoft would have done the same thing, it's just Microsoft is not currently in that position.

go to hell would you fool. im sure you use ad blockers on your computer, you dont care then. Google doesn't give a crap for anyone except themselves, all they want to do is sabotage windows phone. 

why should i have to use when there is a perfectly good youtube app available for me to use? 

You mean the crappy version of the mobile website that hardly works, yeah that's a great solution.

what do you mean by working all the time? you mean a message on almost every vidoeo saying its not available on a mobile device?

It's WPcentral, dude... The worst cesspit of simple-minded fanbots you will ever find... Logic and common sense never apply to anything here.

Bullshit.  MS has been and still is king in many markets and does not treat their competition in any way like Google does. Please review your history on Office for Mac, etc.
Google is trying to strongarm MS plain and simple.  However, I fully agree that MS needs to update the app to be fully in compliance with the terms of service.  Ads should not be skipped and downloads should not be allowed.  But once that is done Google should definitely allow the app to exist, given that they are purposely witholding making one on their own.

But that's exactly the point.  MS makes their software for other platforms and makes their money by being a "fair" business.  They drive people to their platforms by making the best product they can.  This is what's best for users, and what's best for them.
Google tries to strangle all support for WP in the hopes that their services are key enough to users that they won't switch to the superior platform because it lacks proper YouTube/Gmail/GCalendar/GCrap support..  This is the evil way to do things... why not make your products the best and get people to use them because they want to?

Exactly, I wonder why there are no Microsoft products on other relavent platforms like Linux GNU. I understand that Windows leaves Microsoft with over 90% of the market, but does it make Linux GNU less relavant? I think all this talk only makes sense to you because you want it to happen, but this is not the way companies look at it. They need to invest alot of resources and time in to the product, which in this case Google decided, it's currently not good for business.

does your simple mind not understand? Microsoft cannot show the video ads even if they wanted to as google has not allowed them access to the ads API.

My goodness.  Not sure who your rant is directed at, but it certainly does come across as quite "assholeish".
Why would someone have a simple mind because they don't know something that only a YouTube app developer would know?  IF that is true, then MS should publicly respond with that piece of information, which would then lay the blame purely at Google's feet.
But I would suggest toning down your responses so that your interractions with other humans work out better for you... it's awful lonely out there for people who can't play nice.

No Google had the app months before it was released, they approve it so it could be released. Maybe they didn't pay attention to the features, but still that's there fault.

I wanna go to Google I/O and show them Middle Finger!! :/ You(Google) Son of Bitches, MS has done so much for you and this is how your repay?? I'm very Dissatisfied from your Attitude Assholes!! If Microsoft blocks Youtube accessing from "Windows", YOU're gonna be in SooooOOOoo much trouble.. I wish MS Should do it.. The Whole world rely on MS Windows :) I think Google has forgotten the Power of Microsoft. :-/

that would be the biggest joke in the tech world if microsoft did that. google would be so fucked up getting under the table to give pleasure to everyone for their services to be restored! mofos! 

UC Browser and sm other browsers are already there... it's just that firefox n chrome aren't interested in developing .. they r selfish bastards... they wl make it only fr Highly popular devices :-/ also, i dont have any problem wd IE in wp... :-)

MS and Google have been 'at war' since the beginning.
They have had dust ups before. Google IS worried. It is actively trying to block apps and service for the WP platform. G Mail syncs being one.
Without MS, Google wouldn't really have a platform. They are only a search engine provider underneath all the BS. Android is basically Linux, so...
MS was here before Google, and will be here long after Google has been bought out by someone else.
Fuck 'em!!!!

When is google going to be bought out, and by who? They have as much if not more influence than MS. Its a cheap move but MS broke the ToS, so google is in the right.

You keep thinking that....
If MS didn't write Windows, there wouldn't be a platform for Google to exploit. MS may have broken the ToS, but to ask foir the app to be 'pulled' is just silly.
If they asked MS to modify the app to include ads, fair enough, but this is the action of a company who IS worried about WP, but would never say so..

Actually Android is nothing more than a s%$&*£ JVM called Dalvik that runs on top of a Linux Kernel.

So google cries about Microsoft bundling IE with Windows and gets the EU involved. But when its their turn to do something for other platforms they puss out. That's my I will never be a Google customer in any way. I personally couldn't care less for the official YouTube app. But its the new comers and non tech savvy people that would get put off and give WP a bad rep


Couldn't agree more. Show the bias towards MS. Apple bundles OSX with only Safari, do they get fined....NO. Only MS does.