We all know how...unimpressive...the "native" YouTube app is on Windows Phone 7--it's basically just a browser for the site and pales in comparison to Android and even the iPhone. Why that is has always bothered users, but it looks like we may have an answer, or at least one-side of it.
In a blog post by Brad Smith, Senior Vice President & General Counsel at Microsoft, he blames Google directly for the Windows Phone situation. There's no if's and's or but's about it, according to Smith ergo Microsoft:
...in 2010 and again more recently, Google blocked Microsoft’s new Windows Phones from operating properly with YouTube. Google has enabled its own Android phones to access YouTube so that users can search for video categories, find favorites, see ratings, and so forth in the rich user interfaces offered by those phones. It’s done the same thing for the iPhones offered by Apple, which doesn’t offer a competing search service.
Unfortunately, Google has refused to allow Microsoft’s new Windows Phones to access this YouTube metadata in the same way that Android phones and iPhones do. As a result, Microsoft’s YouTube “app” on Windows Phones is basically just a browser displaying YouTube’s mobile Web site, without the rich functionality offered on competing phones. Microsoft is ready to release a high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone. We just need permission to access YouTube in the way that other phones already do, permission Google has refused to provide.
Microsoft, in response, is ready to fight against Google, ironically in Europe:
Microsoft is filing a formal complaint with the European Commission as part of the Commission’s ongoing investigation into whether Google has violated European competition law. We thought it important to be transparent and provide some information on what we’re doing and why.
This raises all sorts of questions for us, non-legal types who don't understand everything going on behind the scenes, for instance why can HTC and 3rd-parties create superior apps but Microsoft cannot? For example, SuperTube is quite impressive and adds all sorts of advanced features, including streaming in HD and saving files. Then again, in a personal note from developer Atta Elayyan, involved with LazyTube (which just hit 2.0), SuperTube evidently violates several of YouTube's Terms of Service, but Microsoft seems to have looked the other way during the app's Marketplace approval (get out tinfoil hats...now).
Whatever the exact details, gauntlet meet ground, as Microsoft has just thrown down some serious charges against Google. This could get interesting...