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Microsoft Says Google Trying To Undermine Windows Phone 476

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-to-blame dept.
First time accepted submitter Bent Spoke writes "In a bit of delicious irony, Microsoft laments Google is not playing fair by excluding access to meta-data on YouTube, preventing the development of the kind of powerful app readily available on Android. From the article: 'In a blog post on Wednesday, Microsoft VP and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner said the software giant has spent two years trying to get a first-class YouTube app running on Windows Phone, but to no avail, thanks to the Chocolate Factory's stonewalling. "YouTube apps on the Android and Apple platforms were two of the most downloaded mobile applications in 2012, according to recent news reports," Heiner wrote. "Yet Google still refuses to allow Windows Phone users to have the same access to YouTube that Android and Apple customers enjoy."'"
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Microsoft Says Google Trying To Undermine Windows Phone

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  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:12AM (#42459953)

    Microsoft, you have just experienced the concept known as "khama".

    • by YukariHirai (2674609) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:20AM (#42460001)
      Indeed. Given what Microsoft has done to undermine other operating systems and their vendors, it is amusing to see the same thing done to them and them crying foul.
      • by 1s44c (552956) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @09:26AM (#42460939)

        Indeed. Given what Microsoft has done to undermine other operating systems and their vendors, it is amusing to see the same thing done to them and them crying foul.

        I'll admit it's very amusing but I'm morally torn on this one. Is it right to do wickedness to wicked people just because they would do the same to you?

        They say turnabout is fair play but they also say be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.

        • by boorack (1345877) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @11:27AM (#42462093)

          They say "fight fire with fire". As soon as Microsoft would stop harrasing other Android vendors with their lawyers bringing bogus claims and "don't try this" attitude, I would assume your point valid. Yet I see Microsoft crying foul and AT THE SAME TIME doing way more cruel things to Android vendors than what Google is doing to them.

          If you read or hear on how to treat psychopats getting in your way, you discover that first thing is to do (besides avoiding them) set aside ANY moral issues you have. Otherwise you get instant disadvantage because psychopats - like sharks - tend to have no empathy nor moral constraints at all. I'm bringing this up because corporate entities are the ultimate psychopats (and we still hear everywhere that "corporations are people" crap). Especially those built on deception from the start, like Microsoft.

          People in the US of A have to learn what people in old communist countries leaned in their time. Double standards are forced upon us and if "we the people" don't adapt, we're in disadvantage. According to corporate executives and wall street money junkies we, ordinary people are all second class citizens. Why should we treat them differently ?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:21AM (#42460007)

      Khama, Sir Seretse |käm|
      (1921–80), Botswanan statesman; prime minister of Bechuanaland 1965 and first president of Botswana 1966–80.

      Quite the strange concept to experience NO DOUBT!

    • by MurukeshM (1901690) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:39AM (#42460073)

      I believe you mean 'karma'.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @08:19AM (#42460581)

      And Skype doesn't work on Android, and contrary to djsmiley's comment yesterday, a trivial search shows it doesn't work, these have been reported many times.

      This is nothing to do with Google, it's Microsoft that can't deliver that. Microsoft have not delivered even a basic youtube app, they could simply parse the webpage data, but they don't. I use things like MediaShare that does provide a youtube interface without all the incompetent whining.

      Copied from my posts yesterday:

      1. Video is upside down, if you rotate the device, then both the camera and video playback are upside down, but the other person does see you right way up in that case. Do a search [skype upside down video] and you'll see this has been reported to them lots of times.
      2. Video is landscape only & very fuzzy, but the camera video is not fuzzy, probably the compression?
      3. Audio plays back very very quietly even with full volume.
      4. Lag, lots of it. (I've been told they route all connections through their own servers in the US, which explains the new found lag).
      5. Occasionally Skype gets in a state where the Android tablet won't go into hibernation until you force-kill Skype. This really sucks down the battery juice.
      6. Call receive ring is very quiet, even with full volume.
      7. It doesn't handle timezones properly. It is 9am, a new event happened at 2am, it is not listed in the 'Today' section, it is listed in the 'Some time ago' section. What is listed in the 'TODAY' section is from 'YESTERDAY' at 18:48! (Does it get the timezone from somewhere other than the phone? Because that won't work now, the phone travels, desk computers don't, you can't assume a fixed timezone per user now).

      • by hcpxvi (773888) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @08:32AM (#42460647)
        Support for (traditional, non-Android) Linux is also dodgy in Skype, with the Linux versions of the software being a long way behind the Windows version. I am not naive enough to think that Google are non-evil, but if MS can get away with using Skype as a lock-in lever for Windows, I don't have much sympathy with their whine that Google are doing the same thing with YouTube.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @09:26AM (#42460935)

          Except Google are not doing the same. I thought there was some meta data missing (the keywords text), but when I checked the youtube webpage headers, no, Youtube puts it in the keywords header field! It's right there, grab a webpage and take a look.

          I see Bing already scrapes the description data, for some reason they don't index the keywords data, but they should, youtube keywords data is the data that users enter with their videos, not SEO spam.

          I see the Views Count is right there on the webpage, so they can even get the viewing rank if they want. It's even in a span labelled
          class="watch-view-count"

          So Microsoft gets *all* the metadata for the video, including all the stuff the user enters, description, keywords, views etc. and they currently use part of it already in Bing.

          IMHO, it's just incompetence. They just don't seem to be able to do *anything* these days. I remember the Microsoft whose products could be guaranteed to be technically excellent, and I look at the modern day Microsoft with despair.

          Their stuff is garbage, they have 100 times the programmers, yet they don't seem to be able to do anything.

          • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @11:55AM (#42462509)

            Actually, Google has an API registered developers are supposed to use. If you don't use the API, but screen scraping, the periodically mess with the pages to break you.

            Google did the same thing to Apple... And Apple PAYS Google big bucks for API access. But Google kept withholding features from Apple's developer API toolbox so Android would look better. Apple's fix was to stop making apps themselves using Google's APIs at all. That way Google can make the App. Google can access the OS like a normal app developer (no more favors) and Apple gets out of paying a six figure sum every month! Google owns those services... Let Google develop the apps!

            So the question is: can Microsoft drop its attempts at accessing Google's sites and raise enough suffering that Google writes an App for Windows 8 Mobile? Ha, ha, ha....

        • by bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @09:30AM (#42460979) Homepage

          And Windows users constantly claim that the newer versions of Skype are getting more and more annoying. They may just be assuming Linux customers are more discerning and like the classic simplicity?

  • 3 users (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:14AM (#42459963)

    I'm sure the 3 WP users are extremely upset over this.

  • by hugetoon (766694) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:16AM (#42459973)
    That's how it is called in French :D
  • by joeflies (529536) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:19AM (#42459991)
    Namely they already know what happens when you let Microsoft embrace your APis. They already know what happens next, and would like to avoid that future
    • Yeah Google does not allow Microsoft client access to their APIs because they are afraid MS can extend them... from the client.

  • by jbernardo (1014507) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:20AM (#42459993)

    Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft shouldn't be complaining so much when they block or use non-standard protocols on their devices, in particular WP ones:

    - Skydrive, the more or less standard way to get stuff in and out of Windows Phones, doesn't implement WebDAV in a open manner, making it difficult to use with Linux or BSD;

    - The hardware search button in Windows Phone is tied to bing, and users can't change it;

    - Windows Phone doesn't support standard protocols (standard MTP, USB file access) to access its filesystem, so it doesn't play well with Linux or BSD;

    - Windows RT and Windows Phone specify a locked bootloader, so that users can't install anything else on their devices;

    I could go on and on here, but these 4 examples should be enough... They really should fix their act before complaining that others aren't playing fair.

  • by 00_NOP (559413) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:20AM (#42459995) Homepage

    If Microsoft's allegations are true and there is no reasonably technical justification for it then there is nothing to celebrate here.

    Of course, my first reaction was "payback's a bitch" like many others, but in the end a monopoly based on Linux is still a monopoly.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:32AM (#42460051)

      but in the end a monopoly based on Linux is still a monopoly.

      There's no monopoly, and if MS really wants to bitch about it maybe they should launch their own video service just like they did with Bing. Or work out a deal and have google develop the app for them, just like they did with Apple. Note that the google-made iphone app only was launched a few months ago. If MS had a better phone with a better market share they'd probably be a more appealing target for a native app, but it's not like Google is going to dump time and money into supporting every last bastard child of a device.

      And you can still watch youtube using a web browser, assuming that MS actually has a standards-compliant browser on their phone. I've never found anything in the youtube app to be superior to just using the mobile site, in fact personally i never bother with the app and would remove it from my phone if it would let me.

      • by gigaherz (2653757) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:42AM (#42460099)
        I'm an owner of a Nokia Lumia 710 (Windows Phone 7.x) and you can browse and play back youtube videos just fine in the browser, without the need of any app. And in fact there are apps that let you browse youtube, but they may not have full permission from google to do it. What they are complaining about is access to the metadata content for the videos, not the playback itself.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Eirenarch (1099517)

        First of all the mobile version of youtube works on the standards-compliant browser on the Windows Phone.

        Second

        There's no monopoly

        Are you serious? YouTube is not a monopoly? Really?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Indeed, same happened with Apple licensing maps. Notice how youtube on iOS is a Google app, not by Apple any more, because Apple probably doesn't have access to the metadata either. Google has reached the point where it has enough power and now that others want to play with its toys he says "meh, I'm going home, you can't have them". Consumers will decide if that is good or not. Us techies can only watch and cry for the abstract concept of justice.

    • It may be that Google crunched the numbers and figured it really wasn't worth it to create a YouTube app.

      Perhaps they figure that:
      1 - There's always the mobile version of the website.
      2 - WP8 people are already "lost" to them. (Once you go over to the dark side, there's no coming back...)
      3 - If they're obligated to create a Windows Phone 8 version, they may feel that they're obligated to create versions for any old phone OS that comes along (ie: Blackberry).
      4 - Payback really is a bitch
      5 - It's a bit of lev

      • You got it wrong. MS does not want Google to develop a YouTube app for WP. They want Google to stop blocking them from releasing a YouTube app. In some (not specified) way Google are restricting access to the APIs for WP. They may be banning the user agent, or not issuing API tokens or simply threatening Microsoft with legal action if they release an YouTube app. In any way MS does not ask Google to do anything except stop blocking them explicitly.

    • a monopoly based on Linux is still a monopoly.

      It's not a monopoly because the source code is public and available for anyone to use.

      If Microsoft wants the full power of Android, they are free to create their own Android phone, provided they comply to the licensing agreement.

    • by jopsen (885607)

      If Microsoft's allegations are true and there is no reasonably technical justification for it then there is nothing to celebrate here.

      Of course, my first reaction was "payback's a bitch" like many others, but in the end a monopoly based on Linux is still a monopoly.

      Agree, but Google didn't open their APIs to Apple... They created a youtube app for iOS.
      I somehow doubt that youtube is profitable, and certainly not if an open API (without ads) is available, which is probably what this is all about.

    • Google have a perfect right not to open their APIs publicly. After all, does Slashdot have a public API?

      From what I understand, Google wrote the YouTube apps for both Android and Apple, and they use their own knowledge of their platform to do so. There's a public JSON API for YouTube that's available to all. If MS wants a decent YouTube app on their platform, maybe they should pay Google to develop one, or bolster their audience to the point we're it's actually desirable for Google to do so.

      Or, you know, pu

    • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@keirstea d . o rg> on Thursday January 03, 2013 @08:09AM (#42460517) Homepage

      Please explain to me how Google has a monopoly on anything, let alone how YouTube is a monopoly.

      Something being very popular does not de-facto make it a monopoly. People need to stop throwing around terms like this.

      YouTube has a ton of very large and viable competitors who could take it out in a second if Googe let their guard down, like Vimeo, DailyMotion, blip.tv, Viddler - not to metion Facebook and Bing themselves.

    • If Microsoft's allegations are true and there is no reasonably technical justification for it then there is nothing to celebrate here.

      On the contrary, if Microsoft made a claim that was substantially and meaningfully true about a major competitor, that would be something to celebrate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:21AM (#42460005)

    According to TFA:

    In the nearer term, however, Microsoft's complaints seem designed to urge regulators to increase their scrutiny into Google's business practices, at a time when US and EU watchdog agencies seem close to striking compromise agreements with the company.

    • by javilon (99157)

      This may have unintended consequences for MS. They are giving a high profile to the fact that their youtube app isn't up to snuff, compared to IOS or Android. Not very smart unless they are really sure they can get some action going in the antitrust front.

      If I were looking for a phone and I would come across this information, this would be another negative. If you add this to all of the other shortcomings of Windows phone, I would avoid it.

      • by Pieroxy (222434)

        Nobody's buying them, so in effect, they have nothing to lose. That's the upside of having no user-base.

      • Every WP user already knows that and it has been discussed multiple times in the WP forums and websites. There are third party apps for youtube that do not have as much functionality (because of the APIs) and often break when Google change something on YouTube. The only news here is that MS have its own (unreleased) app that is waiting for Google's permission to launch and that Google are officially denying them access to the APIs.

  • Irony? (Score:3, Informative)

    by clark0r (925569) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:22AM (#42460009) Homepage
    If Google are in fact doing this, then I can fully understand why Microsoft would be justified to complain. However given Microsoft's past tactics in trying to undermine the competition, perhaps they should eat humble pie. Anti-competitive browser tactics through bundling, non-compliant standards (IE6), deliberately making it hard for SAMBA to integrate with AD, these are just two things that have personally turned me against Microsoft in the past. More recently, launching Twitter campaigns to try and spread Android FUD and on the other complaining that Google aren't playing fair? Take a look in the mirror Microsoft.
    • Re:Irony? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gigaherz (2653757) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:45AM (#42460109)
      The problem, I think, is that Microsoft is just too large. Some parts of Microsoft are opening up, releasing loads of details about protocols and such, helping opensource projects and even supporting Linux development, while others work in walled gardens, patent wars, and everything else related to competing in the phone & tablet markets.
    • Re:Irony? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JanneM (7445) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:52AM (#42460143) Homepage

      "If Google are in fact doing this, then I can fully understand why Microsoft would be justified to complain."

      Why, exactly? You can use Youtube on Woindows phones just fine. They simply don't have an open API for anybody else to write players that interface to it.

      Does Twitter have a legal obligation to provide an API for third-party clients? Does Facebook have such an obligation? Does my bank? Does Microsoft have an obligation for its online Word service? Or provide API-level access to Echange servers? Does everybody with a web-facing interface have a legel obligation to provide API-level access for others to use?

      And it's not as if Youtube is a monopoly either. My banks online service is as much a monopoly in that case, or Twitter.

      • That's right! Does Microsoft have legal obligation to provide access to APIs they use for their browser on their desktop OS with a monopoly market position to competing browser vendors? Were they legally force to release the specification of their server protocols and document formats?

        Oh, wait...

    • Why should they eat a humble pie? Were they spared when they did this? They were taken to court, lost and forced to comply. Why should they allow their competitors a free pass if they are not allowed a free pass?

  • Lawyer? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:36AM (#42460059)

    Microsoft VP and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner

    What the FUCK is a FUCKING lawyer doing working as a FUCKING VP for a software company?

  • by vakuona (788200) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:44AM (#42460105)

    Apple just let Google create a Youtube app after they failed to agree on API access. the iPhone is way more popular than Windows Phone devices, so it made financial sense for Google to do so. So maybe MIcrosoft should offer to pay Google to create an app for Windows Phone.

  • Of course they are. It's called competition. As far as they stick with laws, it's all fair game trying to use tactics to "undermine" them.

  • A long time coming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrKaos (858439) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @07:06AM (#42460207) Journal
    Microsoft seems to be experiencing what it is like when someone plays their game on them. That whiney sound is the smallest violin....
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @07:10AM (#42460229) Homepage

    I feel a bit like most people here: That Microsoft deserves it. But it somehow also feels like the wrong way if this is indeed the case as Microsoft claiims.

    If Microsoft believes this is why Windows Phone isn't getting user adoption, they are mistaken. Google needs to give them less to complain about. But I have to ask why would Google let Apple do it but not Microsoft? Surely there is something different about Microsoft's approach to it. Didn't I read yesterday something about a patent infringement case between Motorola and Microsoft where Microsoft believess it has the rights to a video codec while Motorola says "no, we're not a member of the license pool" and Microsoft says "Google owns you and Google is in the pool?" I wonder if this is related somehow.

    I get that this meta data is the detail claimed to be at issue, but you know... it's not as easy to complain about actual things presently being decided by the courts. Also, in the article, there was talk about Google dropping support for a proprietary protocol in favor of open standards. Why Microsoft has to complain about that I don't know. Maybe perhaps because they believe they are still the ones setting the standards.

    • by NorQue (1000887)

      Surely there is something different about Microsoft's approach to it.

      Something seems to me like we're not getting the whole story here. Maybe it's something with Googles terms that Microsoft won't agree with, thus Google denying them access? I bet it has something to do with ad revenue...

      • by erroneus (253617)

        That is, after all, why Google exists... to make money... and why Microsoft exists as well.

        I think you're quite right -- something else is at play and we're not getting the whole story. Then again, while following many cases these days, I have found that Microsoft makes some pretty unreasonable demands and exhibits unreasonable expectations of others.

    • by pmontra (738736)

      But I have to ask why would Google let Apple do it but not Microsoft?

      They didn't let Apple use their API. The iOS YouTube app is made by Google https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/youtube/id544007664?mt=8 [apple.com] MS should ask Google to develop an app for their phones instead of complaining for the wrong reasons. Anyway I bet this is part of an ongoing negotiation so we shouldn't worry much about it.

  • by onemorechip (816444) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @07:11AM (#42460231)

    There are Windows Phone users?

  • by rusty0101 (565565) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @07:19AM (#42460275) Homepage Journal

    ...Google will write that app for the Windows Phone platform when they consider the platform to have enough adopters to make the effort worthwhile. Perhaps they should start with a Symbian based client. Follow that up with a WebOS based one as well.

  • The beginning... (Score:5, Informative)

    by XB-70 (812342) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @08:41AM (#42460689)
    So, let me get this straight: Windows 8 uses Unified Extensible Firmware Interface to block the installation of any other operating system. Microsoft Office ONLY runs (properly) on Apple and Windows, it has taken the Samba team some 15 years to figure out Active Directory, MS Office files are not 100% ODF compliant (and probably never will be), SQLServer only runs on Windows machines etc. etc.

    the bottom line is this: because of all the above, the migration away from this closed-shop monolith is happening - and the RATE at which it's happening is ramping up extremely quickly.

    In short, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the monopoly.

  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @09:37AM (#42461023)

    Microsoft has shown throughout their history that they are more than willing to screw any and all competitors, legally or otherwise. And now they are complaining because Google won't play nice? Well boo-frickin-hoo. I'm not trying to suggest that Google is any better. Or Apple. Or Oracle. Or Facebook. They are all just big evil silicon valley companies. None of them seem to be happy unless they are suing someone. It just seems to me that MS wrote the playbook for this type of behavior and now it's coming back to haunt them.

    Can't we all just...get along?

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