Google and Microsoft kiss and make up over YouTube spat

The two companies will work together to make a Windows Phone YouTube app compiant with Google's TOS

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
May 25, 2013
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Well, that's one potentially ugly feud that has now been averted.

A little over a week after Google sent a scolding letter to Microsoft, demanding that it take down its unauthorized YouTube app for violating Google's terms of service, the two companies are now doing the right thing and coming together to fix the issues that Google had with the app.

“Microsoft and YouTube are working together to update the new YouTube for Windows Phone app to enable compliance with YouTube’s API terms of service, including enabling ads, in the coming weeks,” Microsoft and Google said in a joint statement to TheNextWeb. “Microsoft will replace the existing YouTube app in Windows Phone Store with the previous version during this time.”

The app will probably be developed using YouTube’s iFrame API, which Microsoft could have used in the first place to avoid this mess entirely, and could be released within the next week.

The problem began when Google refused develop an app for Windows Phone, which would have allowed those users to connect directly to YouTube. In response Microsoft decided to build an app by itself, without Google's permission.

Googe was, of course, unhappy about the development, and so Francisco Varela, Director of Global Platform Partnerships at YouTube, wrote a scathing letter to Todd Brix, General Manager of Windows Phone Apps and Store, demanding that Microsoft to take the app down by May 22nd.

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

"These features directly harm our content creators and clearly violate our Terms of Service," Varela wrote. 

Not allowing ads to run in videos hurt creators moniterily, while the video playback problem violated specific agreements some of them had with third parties.

"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 affiliated with or approved by YouTube," she said.

On the deadline, Microsoft did take care of one of the three issues, releasing an updated version of app with the ability to download removed. Now the two will most likely be working together to solve the other two issues raised in the letter. 

So what does this mean for Windows Phone users who want to watch YouTube videos directly from an app? Well, they are going to have to sit through advertisements to get their videos, which is not the worst thing in the world.

Of course, if it is a big deal, users could simpy choose to not update the app, but I would think that both Microsoft and Google will make sure that Windows users only get their videos from the official app.

Google and Microsoft could not be reached for further comment.

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