YouTube App for Windows Phone Blocked by Google

3 minute read
Anthony Myers avatar

YouTube App for Windows Phone Blocked by Google


A Microsoft Windows Phone version of the YouTube video app was finally re released this week, but Google has once again forced it back into the shadows for violating its terms of service.


Terms of Service Just a Whitewash?

Google can site terms of service as the reason it won't allow this latest YouTube app version to go live, but it's almost certainly for another reason. Microsoft took the app down itself back in May because it didn't meet Google's standards, something it wouldn't have even had to do if Google would simply build a YouTube app for Windows Phone.

It builds apps for iOS, so why not Windows Phone? In 2012, Google hinted it didn't want to build a Windows Phone YouTube app because the platform was simply too small. Really, at this point, Google is just making excuses. 

"Google asked us to transition our app to a new coding language - HTML5," David Howard, Microsoft corporate VP and deputy general counsel, litigation and antitrust wrote in a blogpost in response to the blockage.

"The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it."

Why would Google want Microsoft to build its YouTube app with HTML5? Neither the Android nor iOS versions are built with HTML5, so it does sound like Google simply doesn't want a competing company to have access to YouTube. We really can't be sure the complete reasoning, and it could even have to do with the fact Windows Phones use the Bing search engine as a default instead of Google. 

Learning Opportunities

Metadata Google Provides Not Sufficient, Microsoft Says

When Google originally rejected the Windows Phone YouTube app back in May, it did so in part becuase it didn't serve ads. Microsoft felt it had fixed this issue, and that is why it re released the app this week. It lasted all of one day before Google blocked it.

It seems the ads didn't always serve properly, and that is a legitimate excuse. The only problem is, Microsoft doesn't have all the metadata it needs to pull the ads off properly, something iOS devices don't have a problem with, Howard noted.

The last charge filed by Howard was that Google said the app gave users a degraded experience, but that it had been doing so since 2010, and Google never complained about it. Now that the re released app had a much improved experience over the old app, Google had a problem with it. Convenient.

Regardless of what Microsoft says, the onus is on Google here since it didn't spend any money on the app, and is just blocking it. Howard indicated Microsoft would be willing to work with Google on an HTML5 based app long term, but because it's an apparently difficult and time consuming task, the present app should be allowed as a place holder in the meantime.

Come on Google! Give the 3.3% of smartphone users out there on Windows Phone a chance to enjoy one of the most popular apps in the world. Be the good guy for once.