Google and Microsoft have been feuding for more than a decade, with Microsoft regularly calling Google out for anti-competitive behavior in search. As AllThingsD pointed out today, one issue that has come up is the lack of a YouTube app for Windows Phone.
On Microsoft’s public policy blog, Microsoft VP and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner has written an extensive post about YouTube’s lack of support for the Windows Phone platform, and how that affects users. In short, Microsoft has been trying for years to get a proper YouTube app up and running, but YouTube has prevented Microsoft from doing so.
Microsoft has never had a problem with building apps for developers who don’t have the resources to do so, or who prioritize other platforms over Microsoft’s. It has worked closely with a number of developers to get their apps on Xbox Live (including YouTube), and has built apps for Twitter, Facebook, and others to get them on Windows Phone. But according to the blog post, Google isn’t allowing Microsoft to do that.
This is likely because YouTube wants to control the entire app experience, something it wouldn’t be able to do on the Windows Phone platform, especially with an app built by Microsoft. It wants to be able to serve ads and provide the same rich experience that’s available on the other platforms it’s built apps for. That’s one reason why it discontinued support for Apple’s native YouTube app for iOS, and created its own version.
But Microsoft believes that Google execs are dictating that a similar app shouldn’t be available on Windows Phone at all. Heiner writes:
Microsoft has continued to engage with YouTube personnel over the past two years to remedy this problem for consumers. As you might expect, it appears that YouTube itself would like all customers – on Windows Phone as on any other device – to have a great YouTube experience. But just last month we learned from YouTube that senior executives at Google told them not to enable a first-class YouTube experience on Windows Phones.
Google says that Windows Phone users can still access YouTube through the mobile web. In a statement to AllThingsD, a spokesperson wrote:
Contrary to Microsoft’s claims, it’s easy for consumers to view YouTube videos on Windows phones. Windows phone users can access all the features of YouTube through our HTML5-based mobile website, including viewing high-quality video streams, finding favorite videos, seeing video ratings, and searching for video categories. In fact, we’ve worked with Microsoft for several years to help build a great YouTube experience on Windows phones.