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YouTube Caught In the Middle of Google-Microsoft War on Windows Phone

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Microsoft and Google have both been fighting a very public Cold War ever since Google announced that it won’t be releasing any official apps for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform and discontinued ActiveSync so Windows Phone users won’t be able to synchronize contacts and calendars from Gmail, and now the latest battlefront has shifted over to YouTube.

Microsoft had recently released an updated YouTube app for Windows Phone that provides an experience similar to the first-party YouTube app for Android and iOS, allowing users to sign in and have greater control of the app than the older YouTube experience on Windows Phone. However, the problem with the Microsoft-developed app is that it doesn’t support in-video advertising, and Google had recently sent a cease and desist letter to Microsoft.

imagesAccording to The Verge, Google is demanding that Microsoft ”immediately withdraw this application from the Windows Phone Store and disable existing downloads of the application by Wednesday, May 22, 2013.”

“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 ecosystem on YouTube,” the letter continues.

Google makes money off of the in-video advertisements embedded within the videos, and shares a portion of the revenue with the video owner in many cases.

However, Microsoft has responded to Google’s grievance about the new client not displaying ads. According to the Redmond, Washington software giant, Microsoft is more than willing to embed ads in the videos if Google would share the APIs on how to do so.

“We’d be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge.

Beyond advertising, another area where the Microsoft-made app differs from other YouTube experiences is that it allows Windows Phone owners download videos that they don’t necessarily have the rights to do so.

Microsoft is using Larry Page’s closing remarks at the Google I/O keynote presentation to try to force Google’s hands into being more open about sharing the APIs so that it could deliver a better YouTube experience to Windows Phone owners, rather than be forced to take down the YouTube app all together.

“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.”

We’ll have to wait to see how all this unfolds on May 22nd for both companies, and hopefully Windows Phone owners won’t be caught in the crossfire.

Tech enthusiast in Silicon Valley enjoying the possibilities of ubiquitous connectivity, information sharing, and collaboration enabled by mobile broadband. You can contact Chuong on Twitter @chuongvision or search +chuongvision on Google+.

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