Google Calls On Microsoft To Remove YouTube App
May 16, 2013

Google To Microsoft: Remove YouTube App From Windows Phone Store

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

It is the battle of giants and video is at the center of their conflict.

No sooner did Microsoft update its YouTube app for Windows Phone, then Google -- the parent company that owns the popular video sharing service -- issued a cease and desist letter, instructing the software giant to remove the YouTube app from the Windows Phone Store.

Google has demanded that Microsoft remove the app within a week´s time.

“We request that you immediately withdraw this application from the Windows Phone Store and disable existing downloads of the application by Wednesday, May 22, 2013,” the Google letter to Microsoft read.

What is at the core of this matter? The Microsoft YouTube application contains no ads, which Google claimed impacts those content creators that are paid via Google´s partner program. Google further alleges that this is a violation of the YouTube API terms and conditions.

“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,” the letter added. “We were surprised and disappointed that Microsoft chose to launch an application that deliberately deprives content creators of their rightful earnings, especially given that Windows Phone 8 users already have access to a fully-functional YouTube application based upon industry-standard HTML5 through the web browser.”

Microsoft had launched the YouTube app for Windows Phone on May 8, and while the Microsoft Windows Phone Store does not disclose the number of downloads for the app, the YouTube app was reportedly reviewed by more than 9,000 users and, as of this week, was the fifth-most-downloaded free app in the catalog.

“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,” Microsoft said via a spokeswoman. “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.”

This is just the latest salvo between the two companies, which has heated up in recent months but began in earnest last fall when Microsoft challenged Google over which company offers the best search engine. It picked up steam when Microsoft launched a pre-holiday campaign for Bing that accused Google of being Scrooge-like.

The dust ups between Mountain View, Calif.-based Google and Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft goes back to 2006, when Google acquired YouTube. Since that time, Microsoft has alleged that Google had barred access for search engines such as Bing, giving Google´s own search engine control over video searches. More recently the battle has shifted to mobile.

“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,” wrote Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel for Microsoft in a March 2011 blog post, indicating that these problems aren´t new and likely won´t be resolved anytime soon.