Google executives are refusing to allow Windows Phone access to YouTube, says Microsoft

Youtube-LogoIn a post on the Microsoft on the Issues blog, VP and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner today fired another barrage aimed at Google, lamenting the apparent deal upcoming between the Federal Trade Commission and Google, and claiming that Google’s practices continue to be bad for business, specifically in an instance involving Windows Phone and YouTube.

In the post, Heiner reiterates that Microsoft has a “high quality YouTube app” ready (and has since at least March, 2011, when an earlier blog post complained about Google’s unfair search practices in Europe, but that Google won’t let it happen.  From that earlier blog post, as quoted in today’s post:

Unfortunately, Google has refused to allow Microsoft’s new Windows Phones to access this YouTube metadata in the same way that Android phones and iPhones do. As a result, Microsoft’s YouTube “app” on Windows Phones is basically just a browser displaying YouTube’s mobile Web site, without the rich functionality offered on competing phones. Microsoft is ready to release a high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone. We just need permission to access YouTube in the way that other phones already do, permission Google has refused to provide.”

In today’s post, Heiner goes on to assert that the refusal to allow Microsoft access to YouTube for its Windows Phone app is anti-competitive and harmful:

Google often says that the antitrust offenses with which it has been charged cause no harm to consumers. Google is wrong about that. In this instance, for example, 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.

Microsoft further asserts that although it has been working with YouTube engineers for two years, the refusal to allow access is coming from higher up:

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.

Google isn’t quite out of the woods yet with the FTC, and Microsoft is apparently looking to continue to apply pressure to Google, the FTC, and the Justice Department to force Google into opening up its APIs more broadly.  If it does, we may finally get a decent YouTube app on Windows Phone, and if not, according to Microsoft, we’ll know who to blame.