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]



Even if they do, download the xap from your computer and you can sideload it if you have a xap manager and dev unlocked phone :D

Removed from the store. Microsoft (afaik) cannot remotely delete individual apps on devices. Meaning, it will work untill a: the api it uses changes, or b: you uninstall the app/get a new phone/do a full reset

Way I see it, if Google wanted revenue from Youtube vidoes on Windows Phone, they would of had an offical app out on day one. Instead they been missing out snice 11/8/2010, why care now?

MetroTube seems to be within TOS compliance based on my usage of it. This isn't about Google not wanting YouTube on WP, they just want it on their terms.

Exactly. All they want here is to screw over people who use Microsoft platforms. They don't care about anything else at all. Especially content creators.

I know right? You really think the 200 people that have windows phones really make a difference In the add revenue? WP is such a small userbase. It's not even 1% of people who use YouTube.

Is a small market, but is way larger than 200 users.  Something tells me Microsoft does not want to play by Google's terms (since they own youtube, gmail, google+ and others).  If Microsoft wants Google apps, do it the right way.

Its not Microsoft, google doesn't want to make its apps on WP, which is why MS took matters into their own hands with this app.

Google's response would be understandable if they were willing to provide a solution (an app with all the iOS features). We don't particularly mind if it plays ads or not.

The part where google becomes unreasonable is where it essentially says it is giving content providers the option to block their videos on WP, while no doubt allowing them on the other platforms.

The problem is that google won't develop an app and they won't give Microsoft access to the same APIs android and iOs get to make their own app. Sounds like google is abusing their monopoly on free internet video to prevent the success of WP.

Here's what I encourage you all to do. Watch YouTube on metrotube for WP/windows 8 or use adblock addon for Firefox. Don't watch another YouTube ad until google gives us a satisfactory solution. You could also use adblock/IE10s inbuilt blocking to kill every google ad if you're feeling inclined.

Yeah that makes sense right, so a person like me who has a partnered channel would never see a dime of money if people did that and it's already difficult now with how bad Youtube has become.

Invalid point 1 youtube has a mobile version in jtml5 that works with almost anyphone or platform. This also invalidatea your third point. On the note of your see edd cond point that its okay for microaoft to do what they did, what your saying is its okay for microaoft to steal code? Like they dos with linux code? Pther platforms you say do yoy even know that content providers block mobile as in windows, ANDROID, ios and others. IOS has a youtube app yes but do you rmember when they didnt? Someone custom made one until google made their own but they followed the rules. Agaon even in your last linea USE THE MOBILE PAGE. And as a not by ypur definition anyone shpuld ne able to steal microsoft office becuase its over priced and yoy need it to veiw files all the time. 

I think you don't fully understand the situation... most of your arguments are strawmen.

MS has had a full featured app ready since the beginning of WP7.

Google merely needs to allow MS to access the metadata in the same way they allowed Apple to access it, but haven't for two and a half years.

MS goes ahead and uses the same method 3rd party apps on all mobile platforms.

Google doesn't like this BECAUSE it's Microsoft, and no other reason. Evidence for this can be seen in the fact that 3rd party YouTube apps on all the platforms operate using the same methods as the MS one.

Google is opening itself up for antitrust here, because it's potentially leveraging it's dominance in online video delivery in an anticompetitive way against a competitor in another market.

This has NOTHING to do with software piracy.

PS: is Johnson5 REALLY your last name?

"what your saying is its okay for microaoft to steal code?"
Unless I'm mistaken nearly every manufacturer of Android devices have agree to pay MS for each device sold because Andriod ignores MS patents. Who is doing the code stealing?...

look up internet explorer tracking protection lists, should bring you to a MS site with click-to-install lists. Install AdBlock, Fanboys, and Abine lists.
You should see most ads disappear (or at least unable to load images in some cases)
It's a great, light, built-in feature, and speeds up the web quite a bit.

It's exactly this reasoning that I find SOME kinds of music "piracy" acceptable.  Generally, I believe artists should be paid for the work they do.  However, there are COUNTLESS older albums that are no longer in production and you can't buy them anyway.  In fact, many vinyl projects never made it to CD, or did for such a ridiculously short run it was as if they never were on CD.  If someone chooses to makes something for a limited set of customers or not at all, then I have no problem getting it through a third party.  The very argument that groups like Google use for attacking Microsoft or other third-party developers is "lost revenue".  The fact is they can't lose what they never intended to sell.  If the refuse to make a WP version, then they can't claim potential revenues.  They therefore lose nothing when a third-party works up an app.  Instead of being ignorant and evil and LAZY what they should do is BUY the best of the third-party apps and rebrand it for themselves.  The typcial complaint from these mental midgets is that the cost of developing a WP app for "so few users" is that it's cost-prohibitive.  Well, then buy one that has already been created!

You are correct. If MS would have made the app and complied with the terms, there wouldn't be an issue. All MS needs to do is allow ads to play and remove download. I think either the dev team at MS was trying to show Google up on how an app should be made or they are purposely pushing Google's buttons to see what kind of reaction they get.

Not true because MS went around Goople to have the app run. Since goople doesn't want to give MS the APIs to have it work properly. If I was MS I wouldn't give google any API on Windows and see how chrome and all there crap would work then.

I dont think its a matter of MS not allowing the ads. Sounds like its Youtube not allowing MS access to the APIs to allow the ads, then demanding the ad be pulled because it doesnt show the ads.

Go into the Youtube App(The app in question). Go to Settings<About<Privacy Statement. It says the app was created used API's made publically available by Youtube. Why do so much people say MS is not allowed access to the APIs?

I hope you are aware that there are many APIs invovled and MS is not given access to a lot of them. Heck they even released a statement saying they do not have the API that allows them to show ads so there you go

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.

google not willing to give the advert api for microsoft to add the adverts and ms can disable the download anytime so what seems the problem? Problem is with google refusing to make a app for wp8 and now Ms make one to satistfy customers but Google just doesn't want them to have it at all

Since Google doesn't see WP as a lucrative market, due to small userbase. Yes, 200 sounds about right. :P

I think this is a sign that Google does feel threatened by WP. If they didn't, then I doubt they would have been so prompt in sending a cease and desist with a date as well as demanding them to use the kill switch. Just my opinion though.

Google doesn't neccesarily feel threatened.  They just have beef with Microsoft.  MS get's a percentage of every Android device sold.  I'm sure Google doesn't like that and they'll do everything within their power to aggrevate MS.  If I were Microsoft I'd ensure Skype was unplayable on all Android devices, or provide them a watered down version.  Also I wouldn't make any Office products available either.  But I'm sure those are money makers for MS so they wouldn't go that route.  But I would.

They get a cut out of every Android device because google decided to provide features on Android which are patented my Microsoft without licensing them from MS. That way they left it on the OEMs to pay for it instead of themselves. Nothing wrong with microsoft getting the money. Now if google has a grudge just because MS holds those patents, I would say there is nothing more childish than that...

no one should return stupidity with stupidity, ms make apps for android and ios some times even faster than they do for their own products, google just got the big head google still make most of it ad money from ms win 98, win 7, win 8 etc there probably wouldn't have even been a google if they didn't make money off ms, their just being silly, even if it was just 200 people they should still support it cause they are a search engine, and YouTube before they brought it was on every platform that's why they are a success.

You are absolutely ON POINT Electric Jack. Absolutely.  Google is already worried about the Samsung juggernaut. They don't want to share ad revenue with Sammy as it is and they are looking at Microsoft's share of the Smart Phone market of which they gets NO ad revenue.  Its BALMER TIME!

Its BALMER TIME!!!!!!!!! EPIC!!!!!!!!!!! I don't care about anything else you said but that. THANK YOU MAKING MY DAY

Saying that there are only 200 Windows Phone owners makes me ignore the rest of your comment and disregard it as useles.. Sorry but you can't expect to be taken seriously with comments like this.

go away troll. We are talking millions of people here so yes it would make a difference to revenue from ads.

201, my Nokia Lumia 920 arrived this week. Also, if you're so anti- Windows Phone, why are you on a Windows Phone site? Sorry, I shouldn't feed the trolls.

Who said I was anti-MS? I'm actually a big MS fan. I always try to get people to get a WP and Xbox. If you can't make fun of yourself, then you shouldn't be able to have an opinion, because you are already one sided to begin with. People need to ease up on the fanboyism and look at things from the other side of the fence sometimes. Live a little. Laugh a little.

at almost 7% of the market within 6 months of being released i would say you know nothing and should actually get a windows phone 8 device and check it out. I am still an android fan comparing android to the iphone but Microsoft has done something special here and if you have not tried it you are missing the future.

MS knows a thing or two about being on the receiving end of antitrust complaints. Look for that to be the counterargument.

It's really no different (from my point of view) than a user embedding videos on their site... I don't recall ever seeing ads that way, so what's the problem? If your API allows it, then it can't be a problem.

Embedded YouTube videos does show ads. If Microsoft was to change those three things I wonder if Google would still ask for them to remove the app or maybe Google is working on their own WP8 YouTube app (I doubt it.)

The things is I don't even think MS is able to show ads in their app. No other YouTube app on the marketplace can and neither does the mobile site.

We need petitions to urge the EU and US government to have Google investigated by the anti trust regulators. Their behaviour is worse than Bell System and 1990s Microsoft.

Really? Thats what your going with microsoft wold'nt evem allow people to veiw their own documwnts if the didnt pay let alone one other systems. You cam still use a mobile veiw on get ready;

Not with every video though, was going through the site a few days ago and kept getting "This video isn't available mobile - Add to playlist to watch it later on a PC." while the app doesn't give that warning, it just plays without any problems.

Actually Microsoft offers web versions of Word, Excel, etc.  These work on any device with a web browser.

the whole point. mr. know it all, is that microsoft isn't running on open api's. google does hence open source. now google has a ios app and android app and even a blackberry app but no app for wp. you see where this is going don't you? exactly, you're right blackberry marketshare is less then wp, but they have a youtube app. but for wp google says we can get to it from the mobile browser.

the whole point. mr. know it all, is that microsoft isn't running on open api's. google does hence open source. now google has a ios app and android app and even a blackberry app but no app for wp. you see where this is going don't you? exactly, you're right blackberry marketshare is less then wp, but they have a youtube app. but for wp google says we can get to it from the mobile browser.

Look into the api's, google hasn't made them available for use on WP, so m$ can't implement them, hence them not being on any of the other 3rd party apps

it isn't, cause they keep flip flopping over how important WP market share is. It's not important enough to support the platform, but important enough to cause material revenue damage? Because if this isn't material to them, all their doing this for is to simply slow down the WP platform

The revenue damage is towards the content partners. To them it doesn't matter what the market share is. If their video is being played without an ad when it should be, they have the right to complain to Google. Google has no choice here apart from making an app themselves.

Opportunity cost damage is just as much of damage to them as revenue damage, but something tells me google likely ignores one and listens to the other. If google made an app, these partners would have been making even more money, do you really think not a single content partner though about that? Once again comes down to the marketshare argument

Bull sh*t! It's revenue damage toward the advertisers, which is Google Ads driven, therefore it only really hurts Google when the advertisers take their business elsewhere.

Maybe you're unaware of it but a lot of people make a living out of their YouTube videos. That is only possible if their videos have ads on it.

You mean Google employees? No one gets money from ads but Google. Youtube is introducing subscription services soon, so no - ads aren't the only way to keep it free vs all that user data they sell can probably buy USA with that money.

Wrong! Publishers can make money by placing ads in their videos just like you can when placing ads on your website.

Not from a publisher's pov no, but it's their products so they pull the strings. The problem is that their is nothing that even comes close to being as good as AdSense. We need more competition in the web ad business. All other alternatives available to small businesses are pathetic.....but that's a different story.

No, there are lots of regular people out there whose jobs are making YT videos. They are essentially unemployed and out of a salary if their video ads are blocked.

You're kidding me right? Have you heard of VEVO? Or Linus Tech Tips? Or the million other channels that earn tons of money through their videos

1. No app, or app with no ads, either way they're not making money from WP marketshare, if Google has content providers' best interests at heart they would have released an app for WP, allowing content providers a larger audience and more revenue.
2. Other youtube apps on WP that dont' have ads have not received C&D. 
3. There are apps that specifically block ads on other platforms, including Android and iOS, they once again take away money from content providers, but Google did not block those from at least the Android store.
If you think Google is doing this with content developers' best interests you are being naive, because if they did, there would simply be a youtube app by them for WP platform. 
This once again shows how Google flip flops. WP is too small yesterday, today it's significant. Microsoft Youtube app hurts content providers, but all other apps with the same functionality or apps that sole function is to block ads and takeaway revenues from content producers are fine. This isn't about two wrongs not making a right, this is about Google having double standards, and from what it looks like the sole purpose of this is to undermine the WP platform, nothing more, nothing less.

Their hope is for people to see that things aren't available on WP so they will choose another platform.
Which is why I don my conspiracy theroy hat and say that they are behind instagram ignoring WP so far. IG's CEO (or owner?) is a former google employee.

i doubt that, since Instagram is owned by facebook, I believe MS still has a stake there, so there is a connection as well, not to mention that Facebook and Google are direct competitors.

"No app, or app with no ads, either way they're not making money from WP marketshare"
Nope - no app means you use the mobile website, which has adds. The Microsoft YouTube app is effectively a circumvention device and probably runs afoul of the DMCA.

I'm perfectly aware, but if Google had their way NO ONE on Windows Phone would be viewing the YouTube video so there is no legitimate claim to "opportunity costs". Your arrow is aimed at the wrong target here. Google cares more about blocking Windows Phone than ad revenue for their content creators. They could EASILY build an app or provide the proper APIs for Microsoft to build it themselves. They've chose NOT to.

Maybe you are unaware that if a YouTube viewer is not available for Windows Phone users that those people still won't be getting any ad money to make their living. Go yell at Google/'s on them.

Wrong again it effects everybody that posts on YouTube. See windows is allowing downloading of videos which you can't even do on android. This affects the content producer every time you just rpeat the video or show it to a friend that friend should have to watch the ad and yes every time you veow it you should have to see an add or else you would have to pay for permanent copies like DVDs and it may suck.

You are telling me there is NOT ONE app out of 6000000000000 apps that Android boasts, that will let you download Youtube videos and block ads? I don't buy that idea.

you're constantly trying to justify one wrong act by comparing it with another wrong act. microsoft violated Google's 'terms of agreement'. It's as simple as that. YouTube isn't a charity.

it is if its running on chrome with adblock though right?
also as far as I know the whole downloading issue is a little blown out of proportion. I  don't think you have the file actually stored somewhere to the extent that you can copy it and redistribute. I think its just caching for offline view, not downloading.

I was of the same idea. As much as I hate this stupid rivalry, blocking ads is literally taking away a primary source of money. Heck, that's how google really makes their money.

Curse my conscience for siding with Google . . .

If your conscience is bothering by siding with Google you can pay retribution by choking yourself :-P

But if google were interested in WP for its ad revenue surely google would make their own YouTube app. No, they're only interested in damaging WP.

+1. It's rather because they 'black-goated' Windows Phone as the competitor OS long ago, unlike the iOS. I don't know why they 'black-goated' it.

you are very right  my friend, google don't want wp8 to succeed. no youtube, no google apps, no instagram, no official facebook apps. but i think in a couple of years they will surpass android os in the mobile market. just as long as ms will not be complacent.

...and then why they sold Androids to many vendors? Is that their main source of gaining their finance?

Google has no choice here apart from making an app themselves.
That's not true.  Google could easily allow the MS app access to the same metadata as iOS and Android, with not cost, and the MS app wpuld be able to show ads.
By not allowing this access, Google is cutting off it's nose to spite it's face.  So much for a company that believes in the open web.  Plain and simple.

What's the difference between this and an ad-blocker for regular browsers going to YouTube?  The difference is... Google sees Windows Phone as a legitimate future threat.

Keep in mind too that their own android and chrome OS has ad blocking apps that do the same thing, but they haven't done anything about that either... Let alone chrome browser...

Actually they pulled off every ad blocking app on the play store. But adblock for chrome is still there...

That's it. We see that Google supports ads to be shown in the page, which makes some people (including me) frustrated. I'd like the way WhatsApp doesn't sell ads.

No it isn't. Ad blocks have been around for years. Even on Chrome AND Android. They don't pull ad blockers on Android do they?

They should pull those first! Android is 70% market share. Even if 10% of that is blocking ads on phones, that's DOUBLE the WPs that maybe currently blocking ads!

Yes like if the device is off for a few days will it still kill the app after the phone goes back online.

Worse than the next Xbox being always on, is the idea MS or any company can delete my digital purchased or free goods from my phone or PC or game console or pmp.

That isn't new though. Amazon did the same when they sold an unlicensed version of 1984. Killswitch is a last resort.

It is there probably for more than just these reasons, but two of them are security and piracy. Every app has a security certificate, and the app won't work without it. If MS determines that an app is malicious, they revoke the cert. Likewise of an app violates law. I'm sure they have other cases, but these are the two that come to mind now.

So let me get this straight google wants Microsoft to shutdown the YouTube app and they haven't even hinted at making one for us. If I were making the decisions at Microsoft I wouldn't remove it. Let them cry all they want....

If there's a Legal Battle - All that will happen is we will Legally find out that Google is an Evil Company, then be forced to either make an app themselves or allow MS more access
Either way is will hurt Google more than anything else.

Google would certainly be steering into antitrust waters, something that most people with XKCD avatars and coding usernames would normally be concerned about, except they've bought Google's "don't be evil" BS hook, line and sinker.

public api googles whole adroid is based off them linix , unix, etc as is ios, if ms was stilling google api we wouldnt have this problem be cause their trying to wait on google is why we have this problem

Haha I also thought that. First I even didn't know the app was not from Google. Because most of the apps which are made by Microsoft and the company of the app (like Facebook) are published by Microsoft themselves. But what google does is outstanding. They could have asked if they would change the app so it won't violate there terms, but no. Google is playing the hard way...

You think they don't do that already? Where do you think the colors in the logo come from??? haha
I kid of course, I actually would like them better if they were gay. They would be nicer. :P

And yet none of the Youtube apps I've used on Windows Phone have played ads. Go figure.
Do the iOS and Android versions of Youtube play ads?

yes they all do, MS can circunvent Google's acusations by not allowing user to download the videos (there are other apps for that anyway) and just let the viedos show with the ad like iOS and Android version does.

The problem with your comment is assuming that MS is DELIBERATELY blocking YouTube ads with their app, which is far from the truth.

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.

That's the real issue here.

This past winter I put auto-reply on my "human" gmail account, telling people of my new email address. My non-human gmail account continues to accrue spam, as I never check it anymore.

Well if Google weren't dicks and Actually released an app themselves this would happen
(i personally Don't use YouTube but this surely affects almost all Windows Phone 8 users)