Just when we thought it was at last safe to view YouTube videos on our Windows Phones, Google has pulled the plug on Microsoft’s new app – for a second time.
The app was first launched in May but removed from the app store when Google threatened legal action, because it blocked their ads and enabled people to download videos.
When Microsoft relaunched the app earlier this week, it issued a statement suggesting it had complied with Google’s demands but now Google has blocked it again. “Microsoft has not made the browser upgrades necessary to enable a fully-featured YouTube experience, and has instead re-released a YouTube app that violates our Terms of Service,” Google says.
“It has been disabled. We value our broad developer community and therefore ask everyone to adhere to the same guidelines.”
This is in contrast to Microsoft’s statement of 13 August, when it said the app ‘provides the great experience our consumers expect while addressing the concerns Google expressed in May, including the addition of ads’. Microsoft also spoke of ‘Google’s support in ensuring that Windows Phones customers have a quality YouTube experience’ and that that it hoped for ‘continuing the collaboration’.
When Google blocked it the app a second time Microsoft published a blog post by its vice president and deputy general counsel, David Howard, explaining why.
According to Howard, Microsoft bowed to Google’s wishes by re-enabling ads, removing the ability for users to download videos, and also stopping them from watching ‘reserved’ videos on YouTube.
‘There was one sticking point in the collaboration. 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.’
Microsoft went ahead and re-published its non-HTML5 YouTube app for Windows Phone while ‘committing to work with Google long-term on an app based on HTML5’, but Howard says Google decided to block the short-term app nonetheless.
‘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,’ said Howard. ‘The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it.’