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The Windows Phone YouTube app just can’t catch a break. After Microsoft rereleased the application yesterday with concessions made to Google, the search giant has blocked the app yet again.
Google says the app “violates our Terms of Service.” Translation: Google apparently has demanded that the app needs to be written in HTML5, but it is not.
But Microsoft is now taking a strong stand against Google, saying that Google is making unnecessary, difficult requests. First, building a new app in HTML5 would be difficult, and two, Google isn’t providing the ad information it needs to serve the right YouTube ads.
David Howard, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, writes in a blog post (we’ve bolded the most damning bits):
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.
Google claims that one problem with our new app is that it doesn’t always serve ads based on conditions imposed by content creators. Our app serves Google’s advertisements using all the metadata available to us. We’ve asked Google to provide whatever information iPhone and Android get so that we can mirror the way ads are served on these platforms more precisely. So far at least, Google has refused to give this information to us. We are quite confident that we can solve this issue if Google cooperates, but fixing Google’s concern here is entirely within Google’s control. If Google stops blocking our app, we are happy to work with them on this, entirely at Microsoft’s expense.
Google also says that we are not complying with its “terms and conditions.” What Google really means is that our app is not based on HTML5. The problem with this argument, of course, is that Google is not complying with this condition for Android and iPhone. Again, we’re happy to collaborate with Google on an HTML5 app, but we shouldn’t be required to do something that apparently neither iPhone nor Android has successfully figured out how to do.
We think it’s clear that Google just doesn’t want Windows Phone users to have the same experience as Android and Apple users, and that their objections are nothing other than excuses. Nonetheless, we are committed to giving our users the experience they deserve, and are happy to work with Google to solve any legitimate concerns they may have. In the meantime, we once again request that Google stop blocking our YouTube app.
We’re hearing from a well-placed source that this whole mess should be cleared up within a day’s time, so we will see if Microsoft and Google can get this sorted out.
Until then, Windows Phone users will just have to continue living without a decent YouTube app.