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Microsoft Lawyer Criticizes Google’s Actions over Windows YouTube App
On Thursday, David Howard, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Litigation & Antitrust made a post on TechNet flaying Google for double standards and for blocking the new Windows YouTube App on flimsy grounds. The post, titled The Limits of Google’s Openness describes in detail how Google’s actions are unfair to Microsoft and Windows phone users.
The post begins: You may be wondering what happened to the YouTube app for Windows Phone. Last May, after we launched a much improved app on our platform, Google objected on a number of grounds. We took our app down and agreed to work with Google to solve their issues. This week, after we addressed each of Google’s points, we re-launched the app, only to have Google technically block it.
Howard posts openly, (and mind you that’s documentary evidence that he knows Google has the right to use) “Google’s objections to our app are not only inconsistent with Google’s own commitment of openness, but also involve requirements for a Windows Phone app that it doesn’t impose on its own platform or Apple’s.”
In a nutshell, among other requirements, Google asked Microsoft to create an YouTube app for Windows users using HTML5, though neither Google’s own YouTube app, nor Apple’s uses HTML5.
Howard gave strong indications of what could happen next mentioning that Google’s actions contradict its commitment to openness and that may not be all good, “As antitrust enforcers have launched investigations against Google – some of which are still ongoing – the company has reiterated its commitment to openness and its ability to stick to its openness commitments voluntarily.”
What Howard left unsaid, but can be reasonably inferred, is that if Google is unable to stick to its openness commitments on its own, then proper authorities can compel them to do so.
Howard states that with Google’s commitment to openness as the backdrop, Microsoft took down their full-featured app for YouTube after Google objected last May. Then Microsoft complied with Google’s requirements. He says, “We enabled Google’s advertisements, disabled video downloads and eliminated the ability for users to view reserved videos. We did this all at no cost to Google, which one would thin would want a YouTube app on Windows Phone …”
Howard points out, that the real issue is that “Google asked us to transition our app to a new coding language – HTML5. This was an odd request since neither YouTube’s iPhone app nor its Android app are built on HTML5. Nevertheless, we dedicated significant engineering resources to examine the possibility. At the end of the day, experts from both companies recognized that building a YouTube app based on HTML5 would be technically difficult and time consuming, which is why we assume YouTube has not yet made the conversion for its iPhone and Android apps.”
So, after publishing the new, revamped non-HTML5 app, Microsoft found that Google blocking it.
Howard says, “It seems to us that Google’s reasons for blocking our app are manufactured so that we can’t give our users the same experience Android and iPhone users are getting. The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it.”
While Microsoft itself is not exactly the undisputed champion on fair play, at least on this instance they seem to have genuine grievances.