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Microsoft Accuses Google Of Blocking YouTube Windows Phone App

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Convicted monopolist Microsoft complains to EC about Google

Microsoft claims that Google is blocking attempts to get a native YouTube app running on Windows operating systems, and has taken the issue to the European Commission, which is already looking into Google’s alleged anti-competitive activities.

Windows Phone, despite its slowly growing popularity, remains without a YouTube app and Microsoft said it has raised concerns with the EC and the US Federal Trade Commission, as it believes Google is favouring its Android mobile OS by not allowing Windows Phones to operate “properly” with YouTube.

YouTube © bloomua Shutterstock 2012Much of the YouTube functionality available in apps for Android and Apple’s iPhone, is not open to Windows Phone users.

YouTube upset

“Despite government scrutiny, Google continues to block Microsoft from offering its customers proper access to YouTube. This is an important issue because consumers value YouTube access on their phone,” Dave Heiner, vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, said in a blog post.

“Microsoft has continued to engage with YouTube personnel over the past two years to remedy this problem for consumers. As you might expect, it appears that YouTube itself would like all customers – on Windows Phone as on any other device – to have a great YouTube experience.

“But just last month we learned from YouTube that senior executives at Google told them not to enable a first-class YouTube experience on Windows Phones.”

Microsoft welcomed the European Commission’s decision to open an investigation into potential anti-competitive practices in the search industry in 2011. It has been claimed Google gives its own services priority in search results – something Google staunchly denies.

It is believed Google and the EC are now close to reaching an agreement, as chairman Eric Schmidt met with officials last month. But the US FTC rejected a settlement proposed by the tech giant over search issues and the investigation now looks set to rumble on in 2013.

“Hopefully, Google will wake up to a New Year with a resolution to change its ways and start to conform with the antitrust laws. If not, then 2013 hopefully will be the year when antitrust enforcers display the resolve that Google continues to lack,” Heiner added.

Google said Microsoft was effectively lying to people. “Contrary to Microsoft’s claims, it’s easy for consumers to view YouTube videos on Windows phones,” a spokesperson said.

“Windows Phone users can access all the features of YouTube through our HTML5-based mobile website, including viewing high-quality video streams, finding favourite videos, seeing video ratings, and searching for video categories. In fact, we’ve worked with Microsoft for several years to help build a great YouTube experience on Windows phones.”

Microsoft has been asking the EC to look into a variety of Google’s practices. In February last year, Microsoft filed a complaint against Motorola Mobility – now owned by Google – with the European Commission, claiming the mobile manufacturer was using FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) patents in its attempts to block rivals’ product sales.

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