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Microsoft tweaks WinPhone YouTube app to fix Google gripes

Vid downloads blocked, but ads still not possible

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Microsoft has issued an update to its YouTube app for Windows Phone 8 that addresses some of Google's concerns over the earlier version, but not all of them.

Google's streaming-video division sent Microsoft a takedown request for the earlier version of the app last week, claiming that it violated YouTube's terms of use by allowing users to download videos and bypass publishers' content restrictions. Even worse, Microsoft's app didn't display YouTube ads, a big no-no.

YouTube's letter gave Microsoft until May 22 to take down the older version of the app and to disable the app for customers who have already downloaded it. Microsoft has now replaced the app with a new version, but it hasn't done everything YouTube asked.

Redmond is being fairly tight-lipped about the whole affair, but it did issue a statement, which a spokesperson sent to El Reg via email:

Microsoft updated the Windows Phone YouTube app to address the restricted video and offline video access concerns voiced by Google last week. We have been in contact with Google and continue to believe that our two companies can work together to hone an app that benefits our mutual customers, partners and content providers.

See what they did there? Microsoft says it has addressed the issues of downloading videos and bypassing content restrictions, but there's nary a word about displaying ads, which presumably is a more immediate financial concern for YouTube.

In earlier statements, Microsoft has claimed that the reason it didn't include ads in its custom-built WP8 YouTube app was because Google has blocked it from accessing the APIs needed to do so. In January, it even went as far as to allege that senior Google execs have shut Microsoft out of key APIs as part of a deliberate attempt to undermine Windows Phone 8.

"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 Reg.

In the second half of the statement emailed on Wednesday, Microsoft cheerily observes that it can't want to roll up its sleeves and pal around with Google some more:

We're earning new customers every day, with IDC reporting recently that Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year gain among leading operating systems. We look forward to working with Google to maintain a great YouTube experience for the growing number of people who rely on both of our respective products.

Microsoft will not comment beyond this statement, we were warned. But it's heartening to know that, although Google CEO Larry Page says his company has "struggled" with Microsoft in the past, Microsoft is choosing to take the high road in this current tussle. Or that's how it wants it to look, at any rate.

Per usual, we asked Google for comment on Microsoft's YouTube app and whether the new version meets its requirements, but it has not responded to our request. ®

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