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Microsoft caves to Google, pulls YouTube app from WinPhone Store

Back to the older version for now

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Microsoft will remove its revamped YouTube app for Windows Phone 8 from its store and revert to the earlier version until such time as it can meet all of Google's requirements for the app, advertising included.

This latest chapter in the ongoing mano a mano between Google and Microsoft over Redmond's YouTube mobile app comes courtesy of YouTube communications manager Matt McLernon, who wrote to let us know that the two companies are collaborating on a solution.

"Microsoft and YouTube are working together to update the new YouTube for Windows Phone app to enable compliance with YouTube's API terms of service, including enabling ads, in the coming weeks," the emailed statement explained. "Microsoft will replace the existing YouTube app in Windows Phone Store with the previous version during this time."

By "previous version," he means the old WP8 YouTube app – the one that earned scads of negative reviews for being little more than a packaged link to the mobile version of the YouTube website.

But according to a January blog post by Microsoft VP and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner, the fact that Microsoft's YouTube app didn't deliver the same user experience as the apps on other platforms was never for lack of trying. On the contrary, he wrote, senior Google execs had been deliberately blocking Microsoft from accessing the APIs it needed to build a first-class YouTube client.

"YouTube apps on the Android and Apple platforms were two of the most downloaded mobile applications in 2012, according to recent news reports," he wrote. "Yet Google still refuses to allow Windows Phone users to have the same access to YouTube that Android and Apple customers enjoy."

In early May, Microsoft debuted a new version of its YouTube app that seemed to address most of Windows Phone users' gripes. But that version quickly ran afoul of Google, which claimed the app violated YouTube's terms of service by allowing users to download videos to their devices and skirt around content restrictions – and by not displaying YouTube ads.

Redmond published an updated version of its app that addressed some but not all of Google's concerns on Wednesday. Apparently even that wasn't good enough, however, judging by the statement McLernon emailed us on Friday.

When pressed for comment – and a timeframe for when Redmond expects to reinstate the new version of its YouTube app – a Microsoft spokesperson told El Reg that what we had been sent was a joint statement from Google and Microsoft, and that Microsoft had nothing further to add. ®

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