Google and Microsoft have been slugging it out over the Windows Phone YouTube app for the better part of 2013. The war seems to have come to a conclusion this week; unfortunately, it looks as if Microsoft has officially raised the white flag.
Shots were first fired when Google threatened to take legal action after Microsoft refused to remove an ad-free YouTube app that also let Windows Phone users download videos and watch them offline. In response, Microsoft issued a fairly scathing response claiming that Google had been completely uncooperative when asked to develop the app. More words were shared, then just as things were coming to a head, it looked like a truce was being ironed out — until August.
After releasing a YouTube Windows Phone app, which users believed was a joint project, it was discovered that YouTube was claiming no responsibility in the development process and consequently blocked access to videos. Apparently, YouTube was upset due to the fact that the app was not built on HTML5. Microsoft shot back with a brutal open letter and that’s where things remained until an updated Windows Phone app was released earlier this week.
The new app is simple, painfully simple. Solidifying total defeat, the Windows Phone app has dropped almost every unique feature it once had and instead reverted back to, well, nothing really. Once a video is selected, the app simply takes users to a browser version of YouTube, which almost entirely defeats the purpose of using an app.
It’s a brutal struggle between two tech giants who both seem unwilling to compromise. While some speculate that Google is simply trying to sabotage Microsoft, all that we can really be sure of is that Windows Phone customers are paying the price for what seems like a petty squabble. Then again, there aren’t that many Windows Phone users to begin with, so maybe, to Google, it just doesn’t matter.