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