Google Kicks Microsoft While It's Down

Earlier this month, Apple kicked Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) while it was down, opting not to develop a version of iTunes optimized for Microsoft's ambitious new "Metro" interface. The Mac maker likely felt that it wouldn't be missing out on much, especially since the desktop version of iTunes could still be used in Windows 8, while Windows RT was the platform really getting left out in the cold.

Now Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  )  taking a shot at Microsoft by hindering the software giant's app availability, except this time we're talking about Windows Phone 8 as opposed to Windows 8. The search giant has been subtly trying to sabotage Windows Phone in various ways, including the refusal to make a native YouTube app for its rival's platform. As one of the most popular video content sources on the Internet, YouTube's official absence is a blow, even though there are unofficial and third-party apps available.

That's also in stark contrast to Google's stance with Apple, since it promptly released an official YouTube app for iOS shortly after Apple removed its own pre-installed version last year. It's a good thing for iOS users too, since Google's versions of its apps are actually better than the Apple-made ones anyway, including Google Maps.

Microsoft decided to take matters into its own hands and made its own unofficial version, tapping into available YouTube application programming interfaces, or APIs. Perhaps out of spite, Microsoft also went ahead and blocked all ads, which is YouTube's primary revenue source in the first place. Needless to say, Google was not impressed.

Big G has now sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Redmond giant, which The Verge got a hold of, requesting that Microsoft take down the app and disable existing installs. The ad revenue helps content owners monetize their content, so blocking ads hurts the entire YouTube ecosystem. Without a vibrant community of content creators posting videos, viewers and the world at large could be deprived of discovering the next Justin Bieber. That would be a tragedy.

In response, Microsoft has said it would be "more than happy" to include said ads if Google provides it with the necessary APIs. It seems that Google could theoretically continue blocking a Microsoft-made YouTube app by withholding these APIs, but Larry Page did call for the industry to stop being so negative toward each other, saying that's now how progress is made.

With Microsoft's YouTube app for Windows Phone, the ball is now in Google's court.

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  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2013, at 8:52 PM, toph36 wrote:

    You almost have the facts straight. It is the lack of access to YouTube APIs that are the reason why there are no ads in the WP YouTube app, "out of spite" like you assumed. If Google just did the right thing and either made the app themselves or opened the API to Microsoft, this wouldn't be an issue. This is on Google.

  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2013, at 9:30 PM, Azzras wrote:

    Good play by MS. Google CEO just basically said 'why can't we all play together'. MS is now calling them out on it. Well played MS, well played.

  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2013, at 9:48 PM, xgboix wrote:

    I really think this planned by MS all along and Google bit it.

    My next guess is MS will force Google to sue them to send developers a scary message that Google is much like Apple a lawsuit maniac. MS will definitely loose on the lawsuit but will have an effect on future app developers.

  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2013, at 10:38 PM, spinod wrote:

    Why is Microsoft not being blamed for their own issues? Why is Microsoft focusing so hard on other companies products to make their own product work right? Honestly. If Microsoft wants the apps etc.... THEN PAY FOR THEM.

    It's not like Google is sitting there going "nope, we will not allow it." Microsoft simply doesn't want to pay for it and is pulling the "look at them, they are the bad guys, not us" like usual.

  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2013, at 11:46 PM, prd0000 wrote:

    Errr.... Microsoft is trying to badmouth Google here.. Their request for API is illogical, and stupid at the same time. Sure, average joe doesn't realise why, and would fall right into M$'s trap. But every single people that develop software knows that youtube api is floating freely on the internet without the need to request Google specifically.

    For everyone else here, be informed, that youtube API is available freely here:

    https://developers.google.com/youtube/v3/docs/

    And samples how to use them here:

    https://developers.google.com/youtube/v3/libraries

    including example how to code in M$'s own .NET.

    There are version 2 and 3 of API available for free. They are using JSON notation, and OAuth 2.0. Oh.. I forgot.. Microsoft doesn't like Open ecosystem like google, so is it possible that they've sent a cryptic message saying that they wanted a specific closed API that only M$ can use, and nobody else?

    To reach those APIs, M$ would only need to open a browser, and google "youtube api" and the first link is (surprise surprise) youtube's api documentation. Or perhaps, bing also blocked youtube api website as well?

    It is clear here, that they have different way toward us. MS doesn't used to get everything for free since they don't like to share theirs, while google doesn't even think that M$ doesn't know that, since they usually share theirs for free.

    So, no.. It is not on google. It is more like a question, why M$ doesn't even type "youtube api" on google search to get those API.

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2013, at 12:46 AM, spinod wrote:

    @Mylove4life, or perhaps I'm not brainwashed by a major company with the ability to get this if they put the effort in?

    Blame Google all you want, not all of us are stupid and blindly following Microsoft. Perhaps if their product had a respectable install base people would actually care.....

    It's just another PR scandal for their PR's and lawyers to mess around with. Evey thing Google does is bad in MS words. Open your eyes and stop letting them feed you BS

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2013, at 6:45 AM, brike2001 wrote:

    Of course, this is a game between the two giants. Apple has played the same game all along, and no one seems to care. MS could easily include the ads, but Google could easily include an app for MS phones too. It is all a matter of who will bleed first. I have a feeling that G will, because ads are their main source of income. The user couldn't care less, as long as they could see Youtube videos. Personally, I love Android, but I hate Adobe's decision not to support Android in the newer versions of Flash.

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2013, at 10:48 AM, ScamuelJones wrote:

    Here's a poem for Google:

    Rah, Rah, Ree, kick them in the knee!

    Rah, Rah, Ras, kick them in the other knee!

    Go Google, kick Microsoft POSs to the kerb!

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