Microsoft responds in detail to Google’s blocking of YouTube; cites HTML5 and unfair treatment

Last night, Windows Phone Central broke the news about the new Microsoft branded YouTube app essentially breaking. We investigated the problem and concluded that it was due to a revoked developer key. Such a scenario could only happen if Microsoft forgot to update it or if Google yanked it.

That latter situation implies that Google did not authorize the app and was taking direct action of their own by disabling the video player on all Windows Phones. Indeed, just a few hours ago this was confirmed when Microsoft said as much in a note to the press.

Now, David Howard, Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft, has taken to TechNet, Microsoft’s blog on legal and public policy. Needless to say, the nearly 1000 word statement is chock full of information and more details on the matter, making an excellent read.

HTML5, branding and unfair requests

Presenting Microsoft’s side, which of course is expected to be biased towards themselves, Howard finally gives the details behind the current situation with Google.

It’s noted that for a few years now, Microsoft has been striving for a comparable YouTube experience that is found on the iPhone and Android—something for which we see as reasonable. Redmond reiterated that claim earlier this year soon after Windows Phone 8 launched. Google, however, was reportedly not willing to share certain data with Microsoft on to make that happen. As a result, up until April 2013, Microsoft had a much inferior YouTube experience.

This past spring, Microsoft released their version of a YouTube app and it was very well received by the community. However, Google took issue with it and asked that it be removed. Microsoft obliged with the condition that they can work with Google to release an app of comparative performance with their competitors (iOS and Android).

Microsoft agreed to Google’s terms and in version 3.2 of the YouTube app, released earlier this week, they had enabled Google’s advertisements, disabled video downloads and eliminated the ability for users to view reserved videos.

But there was evidently one more thing Google wanted: the app to be coded in HTML5.

"It seems to us that Google’s reasons for blocking our app are manufactured so that we can’t give our users the same experience Android and iPhone users are getting. The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it." - David Howard
Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

Microsoft notes that this was an unusual request since iOS and Android are currently not encoded in HTML5 and moreover, after investigating whether it could be done both companies agreed that making an HTML5 app would be technically difficult and time consuming (and perhaps that was Google’s intent).

This was the breaking point as Microsoft decided to release the non-HTML5 version of the app with the intention of returning to the matter later with Google.

Other lingering issues

Other problems that Google cites are ads “based on conditions imposed by content creators” aren’t always displayed. Microsoft claims that they need more data for this, something for which Google reportedly won’t share.

Finally, Google evidently now has a problem with the branding i.e. it seems like an official Google app when it’s made by Microsoft. Another reason is that according to Google, this new app provides a “degraded experience”, something for which most users have not objected too, making it vacuous.

Where to next?

It is clear Microsoft is ratcheting up the PR war by releasing this statement. From their perspective, Google has set prejudicial requirements for Windows Phone that iOS and Android are not obliged to meet. To that end, especially the request for the app to be in HTML5, it does seem that Google here is behaving rather dishonestly.

However, we should note that Google has yet to go into as much detail and surely they have their side as well. Regardless, this dispute has clearly crossed a line and Windows Phone users are suffering at their expense.

Source: TechNet


Reader comments

Microsoft responds in detail to Google’s blocking of YouTube; cites HTML5 and unfair treatment



I love the windows OS on my phone, but once I get my upgrade, I don't know if I'll be keeping it. Its a great platform for phones but its just becoming too much of a hassle not being able to do things that I can very easily do on an iPhone. I will not be getting an android phone if I do end up switching though.

I am on the same boat as you.
Android is a big joke, so no questions theere... I love WP, but with all these tirades from competition, the pains of being an early adopter is becoming more and more manifest. iOS suddenly become even more stable than it already is. Congrats, Tim Cook!

That would be pretty cool if all google services got blocked on pc's hahaha I'm not really a part of the google eco system either way i only use YouTube

I figured that Microsoft forgot to do something, obviously not the case. Google are real SOBs. Shame on them for forcing Microsoft hand and pulling this garbage. Microsoft probably should have just put out the press release without re-releasing the app, but having Google block the app obviously made for a bigger news story and makes Google look bad. I was never a big Google supporter, I never setup a Gmail account or anything, and I don't really use YouTube much directly, but I am done with them.

I love it how google said trust us with your information and everything should be open for everyone. I'm happy Microsoft is making more on android then google is. I hope people start realize how full of sh.. Google is.

Its very obvious why Google is manufacturing these hollow requirements. They genuinely see MS as a threat and will do everything in their power to prevent any growth from them in the smartphone market. If MS gathers momentum Google knows they're fucked.

Apple has a grip on the high end smartphone market, MS has a firm grip on the desktop and enterprise market. Now Nokia and WP seem to be going after the low to mid smartphone market, something that was previously android's bread and butter. Google sees MS as threat with the full ecosystem of devices, services and software that MS offers.

Come to think of it, YouTube is Google's only weapon against Microsoft.
I mean, Microsoft products are now way better than the Google products we all had in the past (take Outlook.com's premium-feeling webmail to Gmail for instance).

Since Google clearly doesn't want me to use their YouTube product, I have decide to block YouTube.com on my router. Seems fair.

Looks like Microsoft is now getting Scroogled... LOL... but seriously, Google is really behaving like children! it begs the question... why? Could it be fear of a soon to be very competitive opponent??... mmmm

It's really looking like Google are Scroogling themselves. They'll eventually be an official, working Youtube app on Windows Phone. By hook or by crook. Google are really just looking like assess for delaying the inevitable. And then all would ask, wtf did they gain by it??

YouTube letting Google buy them was probably the dumbest shit they could have ever followed through with. They really haven't benefitted the platform at all IMHO

I've wanted to do it for years but this finally gave my the guts too. Google account for YouTube deleted. Free at last! Free at last!

What an embarrassment Google. At first it seemed like fair game tactics. Now, your making yourself look more and more despicable the more lame excuses you come up with. Seriously, WTF is going on?? The feds need to step in and slap them with an antitrust before it's too late.

Burn Google. I hate you so much right now.. I use Chrone for my p0rn sessions (don't want to degrade my classy IE) but it seems I'm switching to Opera now! All kidding aside though, fuck you. I don't like swearing but this is ridiculous..

Microsoft never works well with others yet expects everyone else to comply.
Unfortunately the users suffer, but ms crying fowl is pure hypocrisy. MS has always bent the rules, threw out standards, and played hardball with competitors. This is nothing more than a song and dance.

Go back to your Droid site.

Last I checked, Microsoft products work near universally.

If you can't see the fault of Google here, then you are too blinded by your fandom.

I've never used a DROID, in fact my first smartphone was a windows phone, you know what they say when you assume you make an ASSout of you.

That said Microsoft products don't work well universally they work well on their platform and sort of on an other platforms. Not only that their halo apps only work for the xbox and windows

What Halo apps, you mean the single game Spartan assault? HALO Waypoint is available for both iPhone and Android. Either way, that is a completely different matter.
If a Microsoft product isn't working well on another platform then its probably that platforms fault.
Microsoft apps are often better with more features on iPhone & Android, case in point - Skype.
You would have to be blind or ignorant to not see Google's fault in this situation.

So first Google just told Microsoft to take down their app because it had too many features and too few ads, which is dickish but not altogether odd, and now that they've collaborated on the new app, Google has rendered it useless just to irritate Microsoft (especially when they didn't comply with their counterproductive demands)? This has crossed the line from anti-competitive tendencies to full-on corporate bullying. Get bent, Google.

Lots of folks commenting on here about there not being another service like YouTube. I have seen mention of DailMotion. What about Vimeo? Of Viddler?
As important as Goog is to tech advancements / R&D, etc., there is LOTS OF LIFE TO BE HAD WITHOUT THEM.
I have also seen folks comment that there is even a YouTube app for BB10. Just curious - anyone know if it is just a port of the Android app?
Anyway, BOO GOOGLE, and please MSFT - PLEASE - keep your head. Don't retaliate and get into a PR nightmare with the general public. There are still sooo many tech consumers that have no clue - they just know / use what they hear is good or they can get for cheap, and I gotta say - there is waaay too much anti-Microsoft press out there.
Let's go MSFT... don't lose momentum with the WP platform!

It would be nice if someone would remove those stupid web wrapper apps clouding the view of any decent apps that don't run solely through a web frame. You'd get people using these stupid apps that are just a shortcut to m.youtube.com versus using something decent like metrotube.

Well damn.  I never knew MS went through so much trouble for us.  Thank you Microsoft!  This app, while a failure, does show that you care about us.  Also sticking myTube in the future. 

Microsoft should take off the skype from google play. Just saying.
I'll stop to use Chrome, Internet Explorer is now good  enough for use.
And in the 8.1 IE8 has synchrony of favorites, so it's enough for me, I don't use extensions, so it simply.

I never liked google...ever. Any company that touts so loudly about doing no evil immediately sounds off alarms for me. Google was never about being a kind and friendly company, it a pr ploy that worked very well.

I never liked google search, I always seemed to get more spam in my Gmail account, google maps was ok, and never really used any other service from them. You can't tell me the google doesn't favor sites over others. And it really bothers me that google tracks everything I do on their services and the sells that info.

The funny thing is Microsoft got in to huge trouble with the EU because it didn't offer a customer a list of browser options when windows was installed. Which was really stupid considering Microsoft never blocked installation of other browsers. And lets not forget the whole windows 98/me mess here in the us. Microsoft has done some shady things in the past, but they never outright blocked an application.

So far google has been made if Teflon, nothing has stuck yet, they already got off with a handslap from the EU. But, I suspect this will soon change.

This is so pathetic, I can't believe Google is still doing this kind of crap. I can't stand it. We should boycott them and drop all of their services altogether. It was indeed bad news when they bought YouTube. Google is the cancer in todays technology world.

Microsoft should do the same to scroogle...
block outlook.com to all chrome broswer... ask google to make a lot of change to there broswer and then, ask for more...
and why not, blocking all android device form using skyp...
if Microsoft play the same game, Scroogle mith understand some day..

That is not the best way to get at them. The best way is to make Chrome break in the next set of security patches. Ask them to write Chrome using JavaScript app that runs inside IE to get Microsoft approval!

Google shows everybody that they are OpenSource, etc... but they are they real EVIL trying to be a Angel in front of Apple and Microsoft. Lying to the customers...

Microsoft needs to break all of Google's apps/products on Windows (maybe just for 24 hours). Show 'em that Google needs Microsoft to survive. Kill all their stuff on Windows, again, maybe not permanently, but just for a little while. Until they cave...

I'm sorry but I have to blame MS for this one. The app worked great right before Google had a fit. They were pissed because it was the best YouTube app on any platform. That's the version I had. Then came the update. Revert the damn thing back to when Google started crying. Then sabotage the Google PC search engine and make everyone use Bing. Lets sit back and watch like they do us.

I use Windows Phone and Windows 8, but taking sides with Microsoft over Google? Not happening, at least not in this case. I have Gmail and a YouTube account. I have not been Scroogled. Microsoft, on the other hand, is Scroogling itself purple with delusional advertising, and now they want a functional official YouTube app? It's going to be a while. Google is in no hurry.

I believe when this first started Google said they haven't programmed one for Windows Phone because there aren't enough users... But apparently a 0.0002% market share is enough for them to keep programming for Chrome OS.


Uh, wut?

First, Windows Phone doesn't run HTML5 apps natively, which I'm sure Google know (and this is probably the reason they chose this specifically). Sure you can use Phonegap or something similar, but I'm sure (educated speculation) that Google would have an issue with those too.

Second, HTML5 experiences are 99% of the time largely inferior to native experiences (again, I'm sure this was also a factor in requesting it). They just don't work, and HTML5 is still a long way from being a viable development platform for high quality mobile apps (I speak from experience).

Lastly, where in Google's developer ToS does it state that an app must be built in HTML5? They even offer non-HTML5 libraries (albeit none in C#). They can't revoke a developer key unless the ToS have been violated, hence why they have given the vague issue of 'some videos don't play ads' which sounds intentionally vague as to slow down any resolution as much as possible.

Bless me, father, for I have sinned.
I read the AndroidCentral post about this hoping they'd have something on Google's reply (I got nada). Then I scrolled through the comments section and could not contain myself, so I JUST HAD TO COMMENT TOO. Now, I feel as if I have opened the gates to hell.

Fuck Google. They have become the new apple of the internet. Don't be evil, sure Google sure. I hope they choke to death

Seriously, coded in HTML5?! What's going to be different from watching from I.E and watching from the app??? This is insane.

Microsoft needs to go back and re-release the older version of the youtube app (the one that they voluntarily pulled a few months back) that blocked the ads and allowed users to download the videos until Google stops acting like a little bitch.

Google is JEALOUS.. I wonder if Samsung,apple have something to do with this..
Ok I know that most people are aware of YouTube app problem on WP, but that shouldn't stop people from buying a WP.. Hahahaha
Download metro tube its a lot better than the MSFT created.. Ad free

Thats why I hate google...Its like Hitler is reborn in the form of google founders...They block anybody who's making money or is ambitious.they ruin and sabotage small company by imposing thier own rules and criteria,let alone big companies..this is how cheap they are..

For me, Lumia900 wp7.8 none of the YouTube apps seem to work. I normally use Metrotube with limited success and it stopped now just as the MS Youtube app, and TubePro also refuses to play video. Only the mobile website seems to work.

I moved from android to windows phone because google was giving me the shits, and now, they're still haunting me!

I won't forget how petulant they are acting. If I ever have to leave Windows Phone, I will choose an iPhone over an Android handset.

I use Youtube. There are things that I like and dislike about it. However, I am a Windows Phone user. I am not going to get upset that Google has blocked the Microsoft developed Youtube app from functioning on my platform. That is their choice to do so. I am a consumer and I also have choices. I will just find another service that works for me on my chosen mobile platform. However, it is downright sad when your competitior offers a genuine helping hand to promote your product to the consumers on their platform and you turn around and block them. Strong message sent there. We don't need you and we aren't concerned about our users on your platform. Then...to Microsoft....maybe you need to work with other companies interested in users of your mobile platform? Vimeo...dailymotion....etc? Just my cent and a half. :)

Very interesting to see the way Google treats their customers. Quick shocking really.
I hope this influences people to decide whether to use Google's software at home, school and office.  Seems to me they just plain can't be trusted.  Then again, we all already knew that.

I say return the favor on the desktop.  UNLOAD GOOGLE CHROME. And get to the hidden crap they install as well.
In Windows XP it will be installed in
C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome
Local Settings folder is a hidden folder, to see hidden folder go to tools -> Folder Options -> View tab -> and make sure show hidden files and folders is checked.
In Windows Vista it will be installed in

AppDataLocal folder is a hidden folder, to see hidden folder go to tools -> Folder Options -> View tab -> and make sure show hidden files, folders and drives is checked.
In Windows 7 it will be installed in
AppData folder is a hidden folder, to see hidden folder go to tools -> Folder Options -> View tab -> and make sure show hidden files, folders and drives is checked.

 They will make me use bing ffs... I hate Google cause they punish WP users not MS. Microsoft was only try a here and now solution and Google proved they are douchebags

What happened to the good old days when you could run your Microsoft products with Google services just fine? This is fucking stupid. Nice try Microsoft, Fuck you google. 

Yeah... Google can kiss my ass. We're moving all of our private domains away from gmail and google docs, and over to Microsoft. I refuse to buy ANY Android ANYTHING. And the new Google Maps?  What a bloody POS!!!  HATE IT!!!
Remember when Microsoft and Bill Gates were the bane of the world? Now Microsoft allows and even encourages "hacking" of Windows smartphones, while Google and Apple sue anyone and everyone.

Bill Gates is now one of the world's greatest philanthropists. Apple and Google are now the shameless greedy bastards. 

I think we're all forgetting recent history here.  
Wasn't it Microsoft who went after *every single* Android OEM with patent infringement suits, like the neighborhood mob enforcer visiting a local business establishment?

Google with all its philantrophic balloon internet shit, can't allow another company to develop a good app. That's BS.
No more using Google from now on, only Bing. This is war people.

Google said Microsoft hasn't made the upgrades necessary for the app... Sounds to me like they want Chrome on windows phones.

Am I missing something here? How come MetroTube can deliver functionality that Microsoft doesn't seem to be allowed to?

They want to kill windows phone and ms themselves who for the first place led them to popularity. Greedy they are one day they fall. MS is willing to offer xbox and office to non wp users and yet others are just unfair.

Personally don't use Google, G+, Docs, Drive, Voice, Chrome or any other G product because of their autocratic attitude toward users: Google : "We'll share your info with anyone we see fit" "We don't care a fig about Windows Phone users, because Android must succeed at all costs". The latter attitude merits regulatory action at the anti-trust level...

Maybe Microsoft should make their cloud services in search & video better so that Windows Phone users do not feel compelled to use Google? Nokia HERE maps are almost as good as Google Maps & Navigation, so that's taken care of. But Bing is not even close to being as good as Google Search and Youtube literally has no competition. Google is going to strangle the life out of Windows Phone if they can.

Huge disappointment from both companies. It should be about making the users happy, but no they are all acting like children. Same as in the patent war.

Scroogled ads?
Going after Android OEMS with patent infringement suits?
I mean, really, come on.   For Microsoft to cry now about unfair tactics is a bit absurd and hypocritical.

The Scroogled ads might leave a slightly bad taste in the mouth but they do make important points that the majority of the public are sadly unaware of. As for paying for patents, why should Google be treated differently than anyone else? If I was to launch a product that used someone elses intellectual property I would expect to pay for it.
Microsoft are far from perfect but Google are just plain evil.

I think if Microsoft wants this turn things around they need to wake up and smell the coffee. They need to work harder and make WP an undeniably awesome platform for users and developers. They need to address all the shortcomings and pay attention to their eco system and not just the competitor's. Eventually things will fall in place,.

I don't know what to say, i thought google were not this evil. Perhaps it's the right time to say FUCK GOOGLE!!

Well, as a result of this bitching around I'll use Bing as my primary search engine. I don't want a company tell me what plattform I should use, to use their shit 'cause they make it unsable on one plattform, even thought I could use the Internet Explorer to watch videos there, but the app is 100x times better than the shit mobile site of YouTube. But thought I can't give up on YouTube, 'cause there's nothing which could really replace it, which is sad.

Makes me even more determined to never own an Android phone or anything google. They obviously don't give a shit about other platform users. I've got better things to do other than look at YouTube anyway. Goodbye Gmail...

I have an android tablet and now I'm going to use it as a Frisbee for my cat. That's right, my cat. That shows you how useless I think Google is. Screw them.

What revenge? Google used Microsoft's abandoned patents for improving Android and they were sued to pay for using them.
What if you created a software product and someone else used patents you abandoned and claimed that you no longer used them? Of course you'll sue that someone to pay for these abandoned patents! Patents, whether they're used or abandoned always belongs to the patent owners (in that case Microsoft) and nobody or no other company can use them without permission or payment.
So it's not truly Google taking revenge against Microsoft, but Google going against Microsoft and us the Windows Phone users and don't think that Google can patent the name YouTube and the associated app, YouTube is a public video service and cannot be patented.

If Microsoft blocked google and other google stuff in all windows PC, GOOGLE would be shitting their pants and crying for Microsoft help.

Probably 90% of people use windows in their PC so...

The comments for M$ to pull or disable every M$ service or license from Google are not only thinking with their emotions, but obviously do not work in this very competitive business.  With M$ at the bottom of many of these services and products (with little market share in the phone community), it would be disasterous for them to pull such a knee-jerk reaction.  Furthermore, the media would have a field day.  Many of them are still very anti-M$, regardless of how much Google has started to be seen as a tech bully.
The best thing to do is stop bitching here and voice your displease at google; be it Twitter, Facebook, email support, blogs, whatever.  If YOU use a google service, tell Google to stop the immaturity.  YOU are the customer.
In the mean time, stop using YouTube and use services like DailyMotion, Blip.TV, Vimeo, ZippCast, or Metacafe.

Shouldn't there be a class action law suit against this kind of thing.  The whole idea of open standards and services is that we should be able to consume information in any form we choose and any platform we choose.  Google's behaviour is attrocious and they need to be taught a lesson.  Unfortunately, it's the public who have enabled them and only we can stop them by not investing in there technologies if it's too restrictive. This is the same beast that Microsoft was 15 years ago... and I'm glad to see how Microsoft have changed to become more supportive of open standards. Now we just need Apple, Google, and others to do the same!
In the meantime... I'd like to see the Youtube unblocked by Google immediately or I will most certainly move away from there services and won't be recommending them to anyone.  Alternatively, most quality videos these days tend to be on Vevo anyway - and there's an app for that already.

MS should start MyTube. Forget YouTube (GooTube). Make it GoTube. People will eventually add content to it. Give a better ad profit share than Google. People will definitely post their content.

As much as I love my Nexus 7 and am tied in with so many Google products (granted I've been with Blogger & YouTube since before Google owned them), I'm just getting sick of them.
This was a cheap shot with the app. But it doesn't stop there for me.
Many changes with Gmail I absolutely despise, and I find the mail is now worse.
The new/future Google maps is brutal. The current/original one is IMO perfect.
The last batch of changes with YouTube have me going there far less.
Laziness is keeping me from switching my blog over to WP.
Chrome updates are hit and miss. Some are great, some have me using Firefox.
I actually like Google+ (mainly because I hate Facebook).
The lack of a Google Drive app for Windows Phone has me using Skydrive on my Lumia 520, Nexus 7 and PC.
And lastly the search, which I didn't truly realize until today. I was searching for a product and simply couldn't find it on Google. When I went to Bing, they didn't find it initially, however had a suggestion on the side of alternative search terms, which found it instantly. When I tried Google again with Bing's suggested term, they still couldn't find what I was looking for.

I remember now why I switched from Android to WP8, and this makes it more evident. Google is playing bully to competition, and is going directly against their own mission statement of openness and freedom of data with the Internet. Shame on you, Google, and go Microsoft!

At one moment Google is fighting internet censorship and at the other it censure a certain community. How hypocritical? They have contradicted their own idea of free and fair internet access to everyone! That too for silly reasons. #disgusting

this is a disgrace. its gone to a new low that they are happy to make their customers lives a misery.

Youtube/Google is enjoying an unnecessary monopoly. Microsoft should team up with Yahoo, or other big name to launch an alternative to Youtube. I think we the users deserve it. Maybe an unprecendented alliance with Vimeo might be the course of action.

I am so sick of Google and their anti Microsoft attitudes. Microsoft made the effort to make an awesome YouTube app for Windows Phone and Google thinks it's funny to crush it. In my opinion, Google is scared of Windows Phone and it's future success and wants to crush it now before it really gets going. I have been using Windows Phone now for a few months and I have to say that the Windows Phone is awesome.

It's fun to watch the little petulant 6-year-olds at Google try to flex their "Search Engine Muscle" against Microsoft. Pitiful. Microsoft can end them at any moment by blocking Google's search engine on all Windows devices.

Child's play at a high level!!
If you block 1 platform due to regulations.....let at least 2 others continue whilst all 3 are using html5....is beyond my comprehension!!!
Bring google to court for discrimination.....!!!!!!

That's very interesting: if Google want's Microsoft to base the app on HTML 5, why don't they make a HTML app themselves for Android and iOS?

Utter rubbish both arguments are lame, to code a video player in HTML5 is not as hard and time-consuming as Microsoft is trying to make it out to be! I mean, they make Windows, Office and other crappy software so why would making an HTML5 Youtube video player be so hard for them? Rubbish on that claim right there! I could make it for them if they wanted and free to boot!

Now, Google is being a dick (as usual) for pulling that one on old MS, but their position is a bit more defendable, they want to slowly phase out non-HTML5 Youtube players so 'every new player that comes out has to be HTML5' is an argument they can use to support being the dicks they are over there at Google! Talk about 'being evil.'

Wonder what Firefox OS is like - gonna get me a phone that runs it when me Nokia E71 (running Symbian) stops working. I am steering clear of iOS, Android and Windows phone - all made by horrible irresponsible companies who view users as dollar bills.

maybe its time for a monopoly commison to look at you tube and googles ownership of it.  Its definatly cause windows phones issues and well business.  Maybe theres a presedent for both these issues, either way time to sort it out not only for microsoft but also any future companies that google might prevent haveing you tube, after all you tube really belongs to the internet or at least should.