New YouTube app for Windows Phone blocked by Google, Microsoft working on a solution [UPDATED]

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: August 15, 2013

YouTube app Windows Phone 8

Microsoft and Google have a bit of a strange relationship when it comes to Windows Phone. One example of that is the platform's YouTube app, which Microsoft released earlier this year after claiming that Google was blocking it from creating a "fully-featured" app. Google took issue with some of the updated app's features, though, and eventually it was taken down. Microsoft and Google then pledged to work together on a new YouTube app for Windows Phone, and earlier this week the app made its debut in the Windows Phone Store.

That sounds like it should be the end of the story, but apparently it's not. Google today confirmed to The Verge that it has blocked Windows Phone's new YouTube app for violating the service's terms of use. "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," a YouTube spokesperson explained.

Microsoft has responded to Google's decision to block the YouTube app, saying that it's working with Google to resolve the problem. There's no word yet on when the app's functionality will be restored.

It's definitely a bit of a bummer to see Microsoft and Google continue to go back and forth about this YouTube app, especially since Google's decision to block the new app makes it more difficult for the Windows Phone crowd to use YouTube itself. Neither company has said why the app is now being blocked, but The Verge claims that Microsoft had reverse-engineered YouTube's ad code. Here's to hoping that this situation gets worked out quickly and that this is the last time that Windows Phone users have their YouTube app caught in the Microsoft-Google crossfire.

UPDATE: Microsoft has put together a blog post that gives its side of this whole YouTube app story. The company says that it complied with Google's request to remove video downloads and enable ads in its fully-featured YouTube app that debuted back in May, but that Google also requested that it build the app using HTML5. 

Because both firms recognized that creating an HTML5 app would take some time, and since neither the Android nor iOS YouTube apps are currently HTML5-based, Microsoft decided to relaunch its YouTube app earlier this week. The company says that it also committed to collaborating with Google on an HTML5 YouTube app in the long-term.

As this post notes, that new YouTube app is now being blocked by Google for violating YouTube's terms of use. Microsoft says that this complaint has to do with the fact that the app isn't based on HTML5. The Redmond firm goes on to say that Google is unhappy with the new app because of the way that it serves ads, its branding and the claim that it offers a "degraded experience."

Microsoft ends its post by claiming that Google is trying to prevent Windows Phone users from having the same YouTube experience as Android and iOS users, adding that it sees Google's complaints as "nothing other than excuses." The company goes on to say that it's willing to work with Google on any of its "legitimate concerns."

Via The Verge, TechNet Blogs