Google Inc (GOOG) Wants Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) to Build a Better Browser

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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) are at one another’s throats in a very public way right now. This quarrel might contain clues on what’s next for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s YouTube service.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) baked up a premium Windows Phone app for the popular YouTube video service, but Big G blocked it because Microsoft didn’t include ad functions. The app could also download YouTube videos and play content that wasn’t supposed to work on mobile devices.

So it was back to the drawing board. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced that they’re working together to get a full-featured YouTube app into the Windows app store; Meanwhile, Windows Phone users had to fall back on the original YouTube app for that platform, which is widely seen as far inferior to the banned one.

Sergey Brin

Problem solved, right? The warring parties are smoking a peace pipe in the coding room, probably over a half-eaten pizza and some laser chicken.

Will Microsoft’s mobile platform ever get a proper YouTube app? Only if Redmond plays ball with Mountain View. Image source: YouTube.

It’s never that easy
But that partnership hit a new snag this week. Redmond introduced a new YouTube app for its mobile platform, and it looked like the banned one with a sprinkle of advertising support on top. It also allowed video uploads from the phone, which is a new feature for Windows Phone YouTube apps.

Aaaand … that version got the cold shoulder from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s side of the fence, too. This was clearly not the app that the joint development team was working on, but a rewarmed take on the forbidden fruit.

YouTube blames the disconnect on limitations in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s mobile browser code. These technical headwinds made it impossible to work up a browser-based HTML5 app to access YouTube videos, which was a firm requirement for access to YouTube’s programming interfaces. So the Microsoft guys fell back on the old code instead, over Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s protests.

The other side of the story
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) doesn’t feel responsible for the controversy at all. In a long blog post, general counsel David Howard fought back against the very idea that Redmond was doing something wrong.

“At the end of the day, experts from both companies recognized that building a YouTube app based on HTML5 would be technically difficult and time-consuming, which is why we assume YouTube has not yet made the conversion for its iPhone and Android apps,” Howard said. And that’s why the rereleased app was built on the old code base rather than on the newfangled HTML5 programming platform. “The roadblocks Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it.”

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