Microsoft calls out Google for poor YouTube on Windows Phone

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: 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

Whatever the exact details, gauntlet meet ground, as Microsoft has just thrown down some serious charges against Google. This could get interesting...

Source: Microsoft on the Issues (opens in new tab); via I Love Windows Phone!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Just learn to share google,this doesent make me want a Android phone with those practices Google...
  • Do no evil....
  • Couldn't superior 3rd party YouTube apps not being blocked have anything to do with the fact that Google is authorizing 3rd party developers access to the YouTube API while blocking Microsoft? The 3rd party apps, like Apple, do not own competing search services, so Google doesn't see them as a threat, and is giving them access. Microsoft, on the other hand, owns Bing, the direct competitor.
  • That's the argument MS raised, that Google is blocking MS specifically because they also compete in Search etc.
  • While they're on it, please also blame them for not releasing a nice Google Maps app. Bing Maps just sucks here in Europe and Google Maps is the only thing I'm really missing.
  • Sorry Microsoft, downloaded lazy worms update last night. It delivers all the functionality I could want without these permissions. Its a phenominal effort.
  • And that just adds questions doesn't it? Why can LazyTube get access but not MS? If this really is the case I think MS has a valid complaint on their hands here.
  • LazyWorm simply ignores the API restrictions clause in the Terms of Usage Agreement. MS ont he other hand, doesn't want to violate this and then get sued in return. I applaud MS for doing this. I wonder if LazyWorms app will be removed from the Marketplace though. I truly hope not.
  • Google's attitude is really disappointing. This is not fair competition at all.I now understand why Google are still not providing Google Maps for WP7. Which is a real problem indeed, because Bing Maps really sucks in Europe.Nonetheless, Microsoft shall also do some more efforts for the YouTube application. See RealTube, see SuperTube, see the HTC YouTube app, see LazyWorms. They are all better an at least do better than just bringing you to the mobile website.Samely Microsoft has now to wake up and make Bing Maps a decent service. It is a real shame that such a major global company is still unable to provide a GPS map application that works properly in Europe. Maps provided by Bing Maps in France are just NOT ACEPTABLE.
  • I think MS doesn't want to just make another native YouTube app. I think they wanted/want to add Youtube support directly into the media player just like how they have facebook in the people hub. That means when you start the music+videos hub you'd have a direct YouTube link you'd hit and then the experience would be just like you were browsing your local media on the phone but on youtube etc. This is a clearly better way to do it for WP7 compared to just another YouTube app imo.
  • I agree. And thats probably what has Google worried. But this should be an example to us all on how the two value their customers. Microsoft wants their customers to have the best experience not matter what platform they are using. Take Bing for example. We have all read how great and rich Bing maps is on Andriod and iPhone. Microsoft could have taken the Google approach and given them a crappy experience, but the took the hight road. Good job Microsoft. I know some will say, but hey they left us WP7 users behind. Well for now. I think they have something brewing for Bing on WP7. It will probably give a much better experience on WP7 because its a much richer platform with the Metro UI.
  • And Microsoft proposes better services for the other platforms (Android and iOS) than for WP7 itself.WP7 customers are definitely not rewarded.
  • Patience young Skywalker. :-)
  • Oh the irony. Microsoft fighting back against their app being "blocked" but when customers fight back against the carriers blocking updates, they stayed mum until recently. How about they call out these carriers for poor treatment of their OS?
  • MS needs official carrier support far more than official Google support.
  • On the other hand, Microsoft have absolutely no excuse for providing such a mediocre Bing Maps outside UK/US. Seriously.This time this is not Google's fault, whose Google Maps is so efficient in my country.I don't want to wait for Nokia device in 2012/2013 to get a deceny GPS navigation app.
  • I found about Metrotube somehow... Seriously, it fucking OWNS both Android and iOS apps.