Windows phone users who want to watch funny cat videos on YouTube won’t be able to do it any time soon. At least not until Microsoft and Google find a way to solve their long-running dispute over a Windows phone YouTube app.
The bitter row between the two giants began earlier this year and escalated last week when Google blocked a new YouTube Windows phone app just two days after it was released. Google, which owns YouTube, said the app violates its terms of service.
Google said the decision was made because Microsoft has not made the changes required and did not build a YouTube app based on HTML5, as instructed. Microsoft responded that neither Android nor iPhone apps are built on HTML5, so Google’s accusation was clearly manufactured.
A lawyer for Microsoft, David Howard, said Google’s action clearly shows that the search engine giant was deliberately trying to hinder the Windows phone platform by denying it access to YouTube.
Howard insisted that Google’s requirements are impossible to meet and are inconsistent, since the company is not asking the same of its own Android platform or Apple’s mobile operating system. The reasons cited by Google seem manufactured, so that Microsoft cannot offer Windows phone users the same experience as other mobile platform users are getting, the lawyer said.
Google in turn defended its decision and said Microsoft failed to make the necessary browser upgrades for the YouTube Windows app. Instead, the company re-released the same Windows phone app that was already rejected by Google earlier this year, for violating its terms of service.
Back in May, Google asked Microsoft to take down its YouTube app from the Windows Phone Store because it did not allow the display of advertisements. The two companies found common ground on the matter and announced that they would work together on developing an app that would respect the video website’s terms. The Windows app Google blocked last week is presumably the result of the collaboration.
It’s unclear what will happen now, but what’s for certain is that Microsoft needs access to YouTube for its smartphones more than Google actually needs the relatively small number of Windows phone users. Windows phone is currently the third most popular mobile OS, after Android (79% of the market) and iOS (at 14.2%). The Windows phone holds 3.3% of the smartphone market.
What do you think may happen? Will Microsoft retaliate with a lawsuit, as some analysts suggest? Or will they just play nice and do whatever it takes to get their Windows phone YouTube app unblocked? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
[Image via wpcentral]