Google to Microsoft: shut down your YouTube app now!

Google says app violates terms of service by not allowing ads and allowing playback on all platforms

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
May 16, 2013
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Google and Microsoft getting ready to go to battle with each other over a YouTube app.

It all started when Google refused to let Windows Phone users connect to YouTube. In response Microsoft decided to build one itself.

Earlier this month, the app was redesigned with the ability to pin videos,  playlists, channels, and search queries to Start as Live Tiles for fast access; a new playlist design; and the ability to share videos to social networks, email and text.

Google was not happy about this development, and has decided showed its displeasure by sending Microsoft a cease and desist letter, dated May 15, 2013, asking Microsoft to "immediately withdraw this application from the Windows Phone Store and disable existing downloads of the application by Wednesday, May 22, 2013."

Google cited three specific issues it has with the app: it lets users download videos from YouTube, it prevents ads from being displayed in YouTube video playbacks and it plays videos whose owners have set to only play on certain platforms. 

 "These features directly harm our content creators and clearly vi olate our Terms of Service," Francisco Varela, Director of Global Platform Partnerships at YouTube, wrote to Todd Brix, General Manager of Windows Phone Apps and Store.

The lack of ads hurt content creators, she said, who "make money on YouTube by monetizing their content through advertising."

 "Unfortunately, by blocking advertising and allowing downloads of videos, your application cuts off a valuable ongoing revenue source for creators, and causes harm to the thriving content ecosyst em on YouTube."

As for the video playback problem, Varlea says it violates "specific decisions made by some content creators," which are often made because of "exclusive distribution arrangements those content creators have with third parties." 

 "YouTube’s agreements with creators give them choices in how their content is presented and distributed, and your application takes away that control."

Google also accused Microsoft of violating the YouTube trademark.

"In addition to violating those provisions of the Terms of Service, your application also uses YouTube's protected trademarks in ways that likely confuse consumers as to the source of the application and whether it is  affiliat ed with or approved by YouTube," Varela wrote.

Microsoft issued this official statement to ZDNet Wednesday, in which it called upon Google to meet it halfway:

"YouTube is consistently one of the top apps downloaded by smartphone users on all platforms, but Google has refused to work with us to develop an app on par with other platforms. Since we updated the YouTube app to ensure our mutual customers a similar YouTube experience, ratings and feedback have been overwhelmingly positive. We’d be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs. In light of Larry Page’s comments today calling for more interoperability and less negativity, we look forward to solving this matter together for our mutual customers."

Vator reached out to Microsoft and Google, but they were not available for comment at this time. The story was first reported by The Verge on Wednesday.

You can read the entire letter below:

Google letter to Microsoft

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