Microsoft lashes out at Google for poor YouTube experience on Windows Phone

The war of words between Microsoft and Google have rung in the new year with Microsoft’s Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Dave Heiner lashing out at Google for not providing a good YouTube experience on Windows Phone. In a blog post, Heiner accuses Google executives of stopping the YouTube team from “enabling a first-class YouTube experience” on Windows Phone.

According to Heiner, Google does not let Microsoft access YouTube metadata that would enable them to create a YouTube app for Windows Phone where users can see video categories, ratings and much more. However, it gives access to this data not only to Android devices but also Apple’s iOS devices. Microsoft’s Windows Phone devices, on the other hand, have to make do with a browser-based YouTube app devoid of all the frills.

Despite government scrutiny, Google continues to block Microsoft from offering its customers proper access to YouTube. This is an important issue because consumers value YouTube access on their phone: YouTube apps on the Android and Apple platforms were two of the most downloaded mobile applications in 2012, according to recent news reports. Yet Google still refuses to allow Windows Phone users to have the same access to YouTube that Android and Apple customers enjoy. 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.

On its part, Google has previously announced it won’t develop any native email client or any other app for Windows Phone till the time the platform doesn’t have more users. Google also announced it will withdraw Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support for Gmail, which would impact Windows Phone users. However, that should not stop Google from providing metadata access to Microsoft if they want to develop their own app or provide a better YouTube experience to its users.

Heiner’s ending shot is almost a threat (or rather a curse) when he hopes either Google falls in line this year or faces the wrath of antitrust enforcers. “Hopefully, Google will wake up to a New Year with a resolution to change its ways and start to conform with the antitrust laws. If not, then 2013 hopefully will be the year when antitrust enforcers display the resolve that Google continues to lack,” Heiner writes.

If Apple and Samsung defined drama in tech space last year, it will be Google and Microsoft in 2013. The shots have been fired, ensure you have an unlimited supply of popcorn.


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