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Microsoft YouTube App Strips Ads; Adds Download 381

Posted by timothy
from the when-companies-compete dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft appears to be sticking a finger in Google's eye with the launch of its new YouTube app for Windows Phone. The app, ReadWrite has confirmed, strips out YouTube ads when it plays back videos and allows users to easily download video by way of a prominent 'download' button."
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Microsoft YouTube App Strips Ads; Adds Download

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  • Google will block it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by laing (303349) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:10PM (#43691695)
    Give them a day. I'll bet it stops working tomorrow.
    • by dclozier (1002772) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:16PM (#43691741)
      They just need to move to VP8 delivery only. Microsoft said it wouldn't support it - then we'll really know for sure!
    • by DJ Particle (1442247) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:17PM (#43691753) Homepage
      Wouldn't Google have to block Win 8 completely? ;) As much as I admit they are popular features, it seems like MS is shooting themselves in the foot yet again.
      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:51PM (#43692025) Journal

        it seems like MS is shooting themselves in the foot yet again.

        They did that long ago when they refused to participate in other software ecosystems, and concentrated on locking competitors out by locking customers in.

        Now their locked-in market is failing, and the world is bypassing their restrictions. They don't have time to develop good, competitive software, all they can do is assault competitors with any tools they have at hand.

        It's an ugly, desperate thing we're seeing here.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, 2013 @10:20PM (#43692201)

          because it worked so poorly for Apple too. they locked everyone in, a company that was about to fold, and then all hell broke loose. audio files that couldn't play on any other device are what killed the iPod's early years, and iTunes, and a phone that can only have apps that are bought through a closed store, of which the developers have to share money with Apple and can't have payments not through the store... it's just obvious that be being closed they strangled the industry. the app boom never happened, the smart phone market failed, and digital music services never took off.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ozmanjusri (601766)

            "Apple's share of the global smartphone market fell from 23% last year to 17% share this year, the largest year-over-year decline in the iPhone's history." According to Sanford Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi, "if Apple does not introduce a new iPhone or lower-priced phone in CQ3 [Apple's fiscal Q4], it is quite possible that iPhone's smartphone market share could drop into the single digits."

            http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/tag/toni-sacconaghi/ [cnn.com]

            • by Dorianny (1847922) on Friday May 10, 2013 @11:09PM (#43692447) Journal
              The drop in market share is largely due to the explosive growth in the entry level market. In the high end market apple is still king. The only thing all these financial analysts that are crying for apple to release a low-end device really care about is the next quarterly report. Apple has built a name as a premium brand and jeopardizing that image for a quick profit would only benefit the wall street players at the expense of apple's long term future.
            • The total market however more than doubled in that time. Apple is still gaining market. It's just losing it's fractional share of unit sales.
              If instead you measure the market in revenue, rather than unit sales. Then apple is rising in fractional market share. Moreover It's margins are also vastly higher. So in terms of profit it has a majority of the market.

            • "Apple's share of the global smartphone market fell from 23% last year to 17% share this year, the largest year-over-year decline in the iPhone's history." According to Sanford Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi, "if Apple does not introduce a new iPhone or lower-priced phone in CQ3 [Apple's fiscal Q4], it is quite possible that iPhone's smartphone market share could drop into the single digits."

              http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/tag/toni-sacconaghi/ [cnn.com]

              Which I suspect is due more to lack of innovation since the death of Steve Jobs, for whatever reasons, than to a lock-them-in market strategy

        • by Trogre (513942)

          Wait, is that Microsoft or Apple you're talking about now? Either would fit the bill quite well.

        • by xgerrit (2879313)

          They did that long ago when they refused to participate in other software ecosystems, and concentrated on locking competitors out by locking customers in.

          Now their locked-in market is failing, and the world is bypassing their restrictions. They don't have time to develop good, competitive software, all they can do is assault competitors with any tools they have at hand.

          It's an ugly, desperate thing we're seeing here.

          Wait... are you talking about Microsoft or Google here?

      • by cbhacking (979169)

        This is Windows Phone 8, not Win8.

        With that said, how do you propose they block it? Filter by user-agent string? Assuming Microsoft isn't already spoofing that, this approach will work right up until they add such spoofing. Where are you going to go next?

        • As a kneejerk reactionary, I am appalled by the insinuation that anyone could ever recognize a futile arms race in advance, much less choose to avoid it!
      • by kasperd (592156)

        Wouldn't Google have to block Win 8 completely?

        More likely they'll just insert ads directly into the video stream. Sending ads as a separate video stream makes them quite easy to remove. But no doubt Google would be able to produce a new stream containing both ad and content. That won't stop downloading the video, but the downloaded version would include the ad.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gooman (709147)

      But that would be evil.

      • by ADRA (37398) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:36PM (#43691937)

        Well, without looking into the matter, it sounds like a TOS issue here. Its either against the terms of service or not.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Well, without looking into the matter, it sounds like a TOS issue here. Its either against the terms of service or not.

          I've been watching YouTube videos forever as an unregistered visitor and never seen a TOS. And seriously, you can put anything you friggin want on your website about TOS for casual visitors or web browsers, nobody gives a crap. And if you try to file legal action based on your foolish TOS you'll be laughed out of court within 10.5 nonseconds.

          • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Friday May 10, 2013 @10:10PM (#43692149) Journal

            I've been watching YouTube videos forever as an unregistered visitor and never seen a TOS.

            So you're suggesting, based on your experiences, that the Microsoft Phone development team and their legal advisers can ignore any TOS that they choose not to read?

            Fascinating...

            • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, 2013 @10:23PM (#43692223)

              I've been watching YouTube videos forever as an unregistered visitor and never seen a TOS.

              So you're suggesting, based on your experiences, that the Microsoft Phone development team and their legal advisers can ignore any TOS that they choose not to read?

              Fascinating...

              A contract does not apply unless you agree to it. There is a lot of debate in the legal community whether TOS are valid at all, and the answer seems to be "it depends". I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know whether in this particular case the TOS applies but I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't.

              Microsoft's developers are not agreeing to any TOS. Even if they did agree to it they are not on the board of directors and they are not in the legal department, so they're not authorised to agree on behalf of the corporation anyway.

              With no TOS in place, that leaves the DMCA... but google doesn't use any DRM to force ads ads to appear or prevent downloads so I don't think there is any DMCA violation either.

              If google adds some DRM though, even if it's weak DRM, microsoft would be in deep shit if they bypass it.

              • by jonbryce (703250)

                There is also basic copyright law. The courts seem to consider streaming and downloading to be two completely different things for copyright purposes. If Google has authorised streaming, but not downloading of their content, then this YouTube app could be considered a tool that enables and encourages copyright infringement.

              • by quetwo (1203948)

                Anybody who works for a company or organization becomes an "agent of the company" legally. The actions of that individual represent the company, whether they were authorized to do it or not. The company can choose to terminate the employment of the individual, but they still have to live with their actions.

                You agree to the TOS of the service by using the service. If you produce applications that use Youtube content, there is a click-through that you agree to that gives you the info so you can develop for

          • by smash (1351) on Saturday May 11, 2013 @01:47AM (#43693055) Homepage Journal

            Bottom left of their page, link: terms.

            Section 4b

            You agree not to alter or modify any part of the Service.

            Section 4j

            YouTube reserves the right to discontinue any aspect of the Service at any time.

            Section 5b

            Content is provided to you AS IS. You may access Content for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the Service and as permitted under these Terms of Service. You shall not download any Content unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content. You shall not copy, reproduce, make available online or electronically transmit, publish, adapt, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content. YouTube and its licensors reserve all rights not expressly granted in and to the Service and the Content.

            I'm sure there are also other sections that could be used as justification by youtube to block MS user's access to the content without any problem at all.

            • by amaurea (2900163)

              How are you supposed to use youtube if you aren't allowed to download anything? Do they mean "download and then not delete soon after"? Perhaps they define this some other place in the TOS, but as it is that clause makes it impossible to follow their TOS without completely blocking youtube.

              • by jonbryce (703250) on Saturday May 11, 2013 @04:42AM (#43693591) Homepage

                The courts consider downloading and streaming to be two different things.

                Downloading means receiving the transmission from their server and recording it on non-volatile storage.

                Streaming means receiving the transmission and storing it only as required for processing to send it to the screen / speakers, and for buffering to deal with speed variations in the transmission.

              • by smash (1351)
                It's up to google's discretion as to when they terminate your service. We all know the difference between downloading and streaming, and google will only terminate your service at their option if they consider you to have been downloading.
            • Bottom left of their page, link: terms.

              Section 4b

              You agree not to alter or modify any part of the Service.

              Section 4j

              YouTube reserves the right to discontinue any aspect of the Service at any time.

              Section 5b

              Content is provided to you AS IS. You may access Content for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the Service and as permitted under these Terms of Service. You shall not download any Content unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content. You shall not copy, reproduce, make available online or electronically transmit, publish, adapt, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content. YouTube and its licensors reserve all rights not expressly granted in and to the Service and the Content.

              I'm sure there are also other sections that could be used as justification by youtube to block MS user's access to the content without any problem at all.

              If I were youtube, I would wait awhile and then sue Microsoft for damages.

          • by smash (1351)
            Oh and btw.... Google won't take anyone to court over violating the terms of service. If they decide to do anything they'll likely just terminate your access. You'll have to go to court (without a leg to stand on, as per my other reply) to try and get it reinstated. Enjoy!
    • by DogDude (805747) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:47PM (#43691999) Homepage
      Right. The two largest software companies are going to act like a couple of petulant small time administrators have a dick measuring contest. Sure.

      You don't think that there was a bit of collaboration in creating it, maybe?
      • by msobkow (48369)

        Maybe not the companies, but yes, their lawyers are going to have a dick-waving contest.

      • by kllrnohj (2626947)

        You don't think that there was a bit of collaboration in creating it, maybe?

        Not a chance in hell.

        • Maybe not collaboration between Google and Microsoft, but maybe collaboration between Microsoft and the content cartels.

          "Hey, people are downloading stuff from YouTube and saving it. We wondered if y'all at Microsoft could fix that."

          "If we give Google a reason to require obnoxious DRM on all YouTube content, it will serve both your needs, and also ours, because Google will have to spend a lot more on CPU time encrypting all that stuff."

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        For what it's worth my Panasonic TV has a YouTube app that never shows adverts. I just assumed it didn't support them, rather than deliberately removing them. I have no idea if the app was provided by Google or Panasonic.

    • Maybe, if they get noticed. These obscure little companies can fly under the radar for quite a while, sometimes.
    • by smash (1351)
      Pretty much. I'm sure it must be in google's terms of service somewhere that they "reserve the right to terminate service at any time for any reason", etc.
    • Why?

      They've never bothered with the 5 million or so AdBlockPro users, and (eventually) allowed ABP on Chrome, so why would they worry about the twelve people who buy a Windows Phone?

      (If MS wanted to damage G, they would install an official adblocker into IE, all versions, as a "security" update. Instantly kill a third of G's ad revenue.)

  • Finally (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's about time Microsoft did something nice for users.

  • Data Scraping (Score:3, Informative)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:20PM (#43691787)

    Data scraping [wikipedia.org] can work, as long as you have a team that can keep up with changes to the interface and counter various approaches to block the scraping-specific requests. Somehow, I don't think this will work for the long-term on Windows Phone systems - but then again, Windows Phone itself may not last too terribly long in this incarnation either, so it may be fine for its purpose, which is to latch onto low-information customers with shallow but momentary appealing features.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Getting the direct download link to the video is easy, every youtube app can implement this without any effort. And if you build your own player based on it, ads just disappear as a side-effect.

  • Soooo Xbox Live? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:54PM (#43692043)

    Sooo can I get xbox live with ADs stripped out of also Microsoft? Seeing as I pay for the service!

    • Re:Soooo Xbox Live? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday May 10, 2013 @10:07PM (#43692119)

      Theoretically...

      There are ways to blackhole ad servers at the router, if you use DDWRT or openWRT, assming MS hasn't deeply rolled the ad server In with the live server.

      This means that you could inject alternatives to adverts and movie files, based on the structure of the query, and the remote IP. Eg, you could put a "no" sign around a $, in place of static image ads, and a "static screen loop" in place of streaming video ads. Unless the MS dash does some kind of data hash checking, it would display the downloaded content instead of the intended adverts.

      (Makes you wonder if you could force MS xboxes to display trojanized swf files, or trojanized EMF or TIFF files, for clandestine execution jumping fun....)

      I haven't tested this, and it is clearly against MS's ToS, (which as worded, says you cant even have wireshark running at the same time your xbox is turned on, let alone meddle with the replies the box gets.)

      Danger if MS does a super dick move, like double verify image checksums of adverts the console downloads, and if "known surrogates/malware" are detected, ban the console though.

  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Friday May 10, 2013 @10:28PM (#43692251) Homepage

    Supposed you want to wish your mother a Happy Dub Step Mothers Day with this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J0o65u73Nc [youtube.com]

    But you want to strip the adds and go fullscreen:

    Easy, simply change the URL: delete "watch?v=" and replace with "v/"
    http://www.youtube.com/v/9J0o65u73Nc [youtube.com]

    sarcasm
    Microsoft must have some really smart developers to have figured out how to rewrite the YouTube URL using computer programming. I am going to run out and get a Surface with Windows 8 before Best Buy closes tonight. Microsoft might be adding more useful features soon and I don't want to miss out. It would be a shame to watch a 5 second YouTube Ad and support that rich Google company. Microsoft is sticking it to man! Wait, I thought they were the man. Hmmm... something has changed. I'm so confused.
    sarcasm

    A company and a society are judged and remembered by what they build and not what they destroy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That does not remove the ads...

    • Tell that to Ghengis Khan or Alexander (remember that Persian empire that stretched from India to Mesopotamia).

      The good the men do is oft interred with their bones, but the evil that men do lives on.

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Saturday May 11, 2013 @12:35AM (#43692821)
    If Google doesn't decide to ignore this, I would suggest they license the rights to the Rick Aston video, detect if the connection is coming from this software and RickRoll anyone using it.
  • by Torodung (31985) on Saturday May 11, 2013 @01:00AM (#43692897) Journal

    There have been extensions for this, on various browsers, for years. I don't see how this is sticking anything to Google when any idiot user can install a few extensions to his browser and get the same result.

    Not news. More like Olds.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      There have been extensions for this, on various browsers, for years. I don't see how this is sticking anything to Google when any idiot user can install a few extensions to his browser and get the same result.

      Not news. More like Olds.

      you can't install an extension to your browser on windows phone 8..

  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Saturday May 11, 2013 @11:22AM (#43695637) Homepage

    Windows 8 tablets have, what, 2% of the market? It might be a while before Google even notices!

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