Microsoft updates YouTube app for Windows Phone, apparently surrenders to Google as web player returns

A few months ago, Microsoft and Google had a brouhaha over YouTube and Windows Phone. Microsoft appeared to play by Google’s rules in making an app for their customers, but Google said it wasn’t good enough. Despite the differences, Microsoft famously released the app anyway to see what would happen. As it turns out, Google was none too happy and remotely killed the app through its access key.

Fast forward to today, October 7th and the app has finally been updated to version 3.2. Unfortunately, the app has reverted back to its old web-player days, meaning if you click a YouTube link in email, MMS messages, etc. it will open YouTube in the browser. In fact, tapping the installed YouTube icon on your phone will simply redirect you to for that not so premier experience.

No more downloads, no more account management (without logging in), no notifications—just the barebones experience.

Google locked out Windows Phone users

From the looks of it, any discussions between Microsoft and Google may have broken down. As a result, we’re getting the most generic YouTube experience you can imagine on a mobile platform: a web player. If Microsoft is working on an official app, it may have to be in that HTML5 form that Google so desperately wants for Windows Phone (but not for iOS or Android). If that is going to happen, it could take months before we see it land on the Store, if at all.

For now, Windows Phone users are urged to use some of the excellent third-party options like MetroTube, myTube or PrimeTube to get a premium YouTube experience.

Head here to the Windows Phone store to get YouTube version 3.2, though we honestly don’t recommend it.

Thanks, Kevin B., for the tip

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.

  • I still have that one update notification. Guess it's time to move on
  • Hehe I kept mine for a long time but bahhh gave in a while ago now.
  • Come on! Lets give 1 fu*king star for that sh*t. A link to youtube on browser? You have to be kidding me!
  • That doesn't solve the problem. This isn't Microsoft's fault, its Google's for being a pain in the ass. All 1-Starring does is make it so when Microsoft does update the app again, making it a "premium experience" once more, it has awful ratings and hinders people with less decent app shopping skills to avoid the app. If anything, write to Google or delete your YouTube account if you want to do something drastic that could actually have an effect.
  • Wouldn't had mattered anyways since Google broke the link to it. I tried the same as well. Never worked.
  • Is it all that bad to watch the video in the web browser?  Doesn't bother me that there isn't a special app for it.  I don't spend much time on youtube, though.
  • There's more principles than just watching in the browser. Its a blatant disregard to MS because Larry Page has a hate for them.
  • Time scrubbing in the browser blows. Oh well, I have moved on to metrotube. Google can suck it.
  • Is that a subway station where metrosexuals hang out
  • The web player is OK, the main problem is that it doesn't let or read comments or anything else while watching a video.
    myTube is excellent though, and MetroTube is good too. But it stings not to have an official app.
  • I find no issues with the web experience and it's the same for FB when People hub cannot meet my needs.
  • I hope MS puts a stop to this after google has got it working smoothly. Like they did to the YouTube app :)
  • They won't Microsoft has no balls they should do it
  • MS has been rolling for everyone lately. MetroAg, Sky, Google....... Disgusting that one of the most powerful tech companies is giving up the world like this.
  • How can a google product work smoothly( I mean litrealy), dont be sarcastic :)
  • MS should screw Google and not allow Chrome to work on Win 8. Hell with Google. The previous pulled Youtube app was awesome, yet that gets scrapped for THIS weak web crap?!?!?
    MS, grow some balls and fight back.
  • Problem with that: Everyone in the world loves Google, while Microsoft is typically seen as evil. If Microsoft tries to pull that card, the media and everyone in the world will be up in flames about how anticompetitive Microsoft is, and order a mass exodus from their products and services. I know it's not right nor fair, but that's how things would end up. Just like how everyone had a cow when it was announced Windows RT browsers would all have to be based on the Internet Explorer engine. Windows RT is to Windows as iOS is to Mac OS X, yet does anyone flip when Apple requires all iOS browsers to run on Safari's engine? Nope, not at all.
  • Umm I hate google with a passion. More than my dislike for apple nowadays. So I guess not everyone in the world.
  • I agree with, the problem is, the vast majority don't. He media would absolutely slaughter and crucify Microsoft, and they would lose any hopes they had regaining market dominance. Hell, after the Microsoft vs. Google that would result, Microsoft would be lucky to avoid bankruptcy. So while I think Google is truly evil in their business practices, far more venomous than Apple ever has been, we kinda have to take it unless we want our favored company to die.
  • nope  just this very small insignificant crowd. this feels great to watch Microsoft struggle for a while. they've done so much harm to other businesses, especially open source.
  • Exaaaaaactly!
  • MS's youtube app would download videos.  This is against the youtube bylaws,,,  Imagine Google releasing an app that allows people to download netflix or hulu videos on an xbox.... The same would apply.
  • They removed that feature long ago and they added adverts which were the two things Google complained about. Then they complained it wasn't the right adverts. Google are just evil and out to kill MS.
    and Microsoft isn't evil?! do any of you Microsoft fan boys read up on Microsoft's history? Microsoft screwed a certain company to get to where they are today. they didn't stop there either. this is karma
  • Microsoft did some shady sh*t backaways, but they have had their a$$ kicked by various government bodies, paid massive fines and cleaned up their act. The MS of 2013 bears no resemblance to the one from the 90s and early 2000s and I like them as a company these days, whereas I never really cared for them, just used their software out of necessity in the past. I see things that Microsoft were fined for monopolistic practices back in the day and feel a lot of the things that Google do now are far worse, unjust and what's worse hurt us as a customers far more.
  • With bill gates as chairman and ballmer running the show now, how does it not look like it did all those years ago? Its not just that, but what they just did to nokia as well. That crap was clearly a setup. Also, it was quiet obvious that they told lies that Google prevented the company from making android handsets because nokia really was going to make the android phones but they were obviously stopped by microsoft. You can check out that whole Newkia thing. Then there is also the price that they ask for with their software. Im not even going to look at what they charge for new installs of their operating systems. lets look look at the once bundled office suite. Why the heck do they need that much for something so detrimental? It is something that most think they cannot do without. It even costs the same amount as some laptops. My mother went to college in the 80s and was made familiar with lotus through IBM. She decided to go back to college in 2005 i think and was forced to buy Microsoft office. That crap set her back $250. I think thats what pushed her to dislike microsoft, lol. I also don't want them to be back on top because when they get there they tend to become very lax, and start trying when it has become too late. This is what happened with vista and windows mobile. People either did not upgrade to vista or felt they had to downgrade, and this was on a massive scale. Remember, I'm only doing recent stuff. This lax attitude also put a lot of their oem partners at risk. Motorola was one of their victims of this behavior. Motorola even decided to never make another windows mobile phone again even at the expense of having to pay out to microsoft. They must have felt strongly about it to do that. Then there was HTC. They really tried hard. Remember touch flo 3d? People used to say that htc was just putting makeup on a pig. This behavior as you know can be observed even more recently as well. Nokia also was complaining that microsoft wasn't working fast enough as well. One other thing that I hate about Microsoft is that they never usually listened to their customers until they are in a tight spot. See, they are listening to you guys now arent they? They never used to. I remeber them not ever listening to user input and just pushing forward anyway. What i like about google is that they listen to their user base. They also continue to innovate even though they are on top. They also try to push their users forward as well. Microsoft saw that apple's ios was closed but successful. So what does microsoft do? Dump the more capable windows mobile in favor of the closed windows phone 7. Windows mobile needed fixing but windows phone 7 was not the answer. At least windows mobile felt like the powerful windows desktop os which even had file system support. I dont know how you guys find microsoft to be less evil than Google, i dont even know how you guys have come to like them but i think they deserve this and even more. All this hate over a youtube app. Think about what instagram and others do to third parties. If Google was truly evil, why do you guys still have metroTUBE and others?
  • Except that would be totally idiotic
  • Chrome is malware anyway I try to keep it off my network, but users keep installing it somehow even though they're on limited accounts I guess I am going to have to look into a group policy or something. Windows defender should just start killing it in updates.
  • Yeah i find that too and its extremely annoying. Also the pc's I've repaired that are plagued with viruses have chrome running with as their default browser. One wonders how they could have gotten in even with fully updated av running... But to be honest the average user is lazy (that's the biggest problem also some even disable their av and firewall to install programs! Lol...) they click anything that pops up, always accept without checking and click next to finish when installing programs. Which is why most end up with half a dozen tool bars and spyware on their system.
  • +1 then they say their computer got virus and slowed down. I need to fix for friends and family.
  • Some antivirus programs are pretty horrible... mcafee? At work I just went and bought a NAS to backup our computers due to our antivirus program. If I get a virus... Just restore from a previous day. Easier than calling IT and quicker.
  • Chrome default its installation in a user's home folder, which they have access to by nature, so limited accounts doesn't stop that.
  • Active Directory and App Locker will solve that.
  • Lol I have chrome but I have Norton so it kinda balances out.
    google just added a whole lot of crap though...ugh don't tell me Norton runs slow bec my computer can easily take it and I only like defender Win 8
  • Norton is slow anyway. Don't use it. At least if gaming on that system.
  • I use it for everything but my M14 x takes it like its running a word document.( Norton), uses very little resources to run, and I can still play crisis 2 on High or Bioshock on high. Norton hasn't gotten in the way yet :D
    (I also use my laptop for excel, not just for gaming :p )
  • Chrome installs by user instead of system-wide.
  • I have a chrome a long time ago, then I saw in the task manager, there are 9 processes of google chrome. So probably it takes a big amount of RAM and my PC slows down everytime I open that. When I use IE, it doesn't slows my PC down (but it slows down a bit when I use the Win8 version, not the desktop one).
  • Agree
  • Well - while moving away from gmail - why not from youtube as well? get over to vimeo already
  • Vimeo will not have the social quality as YouTube. To simply move doesn't matter if none of the video you want to watch are on in.
  • How many social places do people need?  I rarely use YouTube... and when I do... it's for the video, not the stupid comments people post on there. I'd say for Microsoft to build/buy their own... but yeah, people won't use it as much as YouTube.  I'm just glad Microsoft bought Skype before Google did.
  • BingBox:)
  • That's one bad autocorrect away from bangbus.
  • I think they should build there own - if for nothing else but a place to upload video to link and share elsewhere. That's all I do anyway. I'm not into the 'Youtube community'. I just upload vids and link to them on FB or other sites. Its just a video dump for me. MS could easily build that and it wouldnt matter how many people use it.
    I guess I could use Skydrive, but I dont want to eat up my space and embedded sharing is not so easy.
  • Youtube has "social quality"? Have you read any of the comments there? That place is a shit hole.
  • Microsoft should consider buying Vimeo so they can sink some money into it and help make it a suitable YouTube competitor
  • I prefer having Vimeo the way it is now, high quality.
  • I'm fucking agree with this man! God bless you!!
  • Youtube and Vimeo are quite different 
  • true.. one is for high quality videos and the other one is youtube :) 
  • Haha, awesome coment!
  • Whenever Vimeo has the few channels I follow on YouTube I'll switch immediately.
  • Yeah, pretty much.  YouTube is pretty much the one thing Google owns that you just can't find anywhere else.
  • Well if we already haven't heard it yet, maybe its time for wpc to review best third party YouTube apps. I have tried a few and enjoy my tube best for clean and simple interface, that's it. I also own a Gmail account and am not blinded by the WP bCrap, others expound!
  • I use YouTube HD and metrotube only. Very similar but YouTube HD seems more up to date meaning view counts are more accurate were as metrotubes aren't. At least from my end.
  • When Vimeo has the content I use YouTube for, I will gladly check it out
  • I would love to move away from YouTube but unless everyone else does, I won't be able to watch anything. It's not as simple as moving to Bing. I can use Bing because it is not as dependent on a vast social network.
  • Yeah, since Google getting sucks, I use vimeo over youtube! I think MS should buy Vimeo then make it free without limitation upload (no premium users) just like youtube did.
  • Remove the Skype from the androids!..
  • I agree
  • +1
  • Uh Microsoft just released Wordament with achievements today.