There’s no love lost between Microsoft and Google: The two have been feuding for more than a decade, with Microsoft regularly calling Google out for anti-competitive behavior in search. As AllThingsD pointed out earlier today, one issue that’s cropped up again is the lack of a Windows Phone app for YouTube.
On Microsoft’s public policy blog today, Microsoft VP & Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner has an extensive post complaining about YouTube’s lack of support for its mobile platform, and how that affects its users. The gist is that Microsoft has been trying for years to get a proper YouTube app working, and has developed its own app to bring a high-quality experience to Windows Phone devices. But YouTube has prevented Microsoft from making the same features available to iOS and Android users available on its platform.
Microsoft has never been shy about building apps for its devices when developers don’t have the resources to do so, or its platforms are low on their priority list. It’s worked hand-in-hand with a number of developers to get their apps on Xbox Live (including YouTube), and has even built apps for companies like Twitter and Facebook to get them on Windows Phone. But according to the blog post, Google isn’t even allowing Microsoft to do that.
That’s likely because YouTube wants to control the entire app experience, something it won’t necessarily be able to do on the Windows Phone platform, especially if it’s an app built by Microsoft. It wants to be able to serve up ads and provide the same richness of experience that’s available on the other platforms it’s built apps for. That was part of the reason that it pulled support for Apple’s internally built YouTube app, and created its own version.
But for whatever reason, though, Microsoft believes the higher-ups at Google are dictating that a similar app shouldn’t be available on Windows Phone. 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.”
In the meantime, Google says that Windows Phone users will be able to access YouTube through the mobile web. The company has worked hard on building a robust mobile web presence for platforms where it doesn’t have an app or that aren’t app friendly. In a statement sent 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.”
YouTube recently updated its mobile HTML5 site for tablets that don’t run iOS or Android in a way that makes it more like the company’s web presence.