Microsoft: Google is sabotaging YouTube on Windows Phone
A Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) legal representative has alleged that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is deliberately stifling the company's efforts to build a full-featured YouTube video application optimized for its Windows Phone mobile operating system.
Dave Heiner, Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel, wrote Wednesday that Google has failed to develop a Windows Phone version of YouTube in an effort to undermine the consumer appeal of the Microsoft platform. Microsoft contends that Google has ported YouTube to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS but not Windows Phone because Apple does not offer its own competing search services. Heiner adds that Microsoft has been attempting to build its own YouTube app for the past two years, but he maintains that Google is refusing to license the necessary coding information.
"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," Heiner writes. "Google's refusal deprives consumers who use competing platforms of a comparable experience in accessing content that is generally available on the Web, almost all of which is created by users rather than by Google itself. And it's inconsistent, to say the least, with Google's public insistence that other competing services, such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), should offer Google complete access to their content so they can index and include it on their search site."
A Google spokesman disputed the allegation. "Contrary to Microsoft's claims, it's easy for consumers to view YouTube videos on Windows phones," he said. "Windows phone users can access all the features of YouTube through our HTML5-based mobile website, including viewing high-quality video streams, finding favorite 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."
YouTube is the largest source of mobile data traffic across all international markets, accounting for more than 25 percent of total network data in some regions, according to a report issued last year by broadband equipment vendor Sandvine. YouTube generates 27 percent of all North American data traffic, Sandvine adds. Google recently announced that YouTube mobile views have quadrupled during the past 18 months and mobile devices now generate a quarter of all traffic across the video platform.
Heiner's post also expresses disappointment that Google is reportedly close to an agreement to avert a potential antitrust lawsuit spearheaded by the Federal Trade Commission. Multiple reports indicate Google will implement a series of voluntary changes to satisfy FTC concerns over potential abuses of its market position in Web search. The Wall Street Journal adds Google is expected to sign a consent decree in a separate probe into its handling of mobile patents acquired when the company purchased handset maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in mid-2011.
"Hopefully, Google will wake up to a New Year with a resolution to change its ways and start to conform with the antitrust laws," Heiner writes. "If not, then 2013 hopefully will be the year when antitrust enforcers display the resolve that Google continues to lack."
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