A simmering battle between two tech giants has boiled over into a an all-out war. As Microsoft tries to regain territory in mobile, maps, and on the web browser, Google is shutting out Microsoft's products from its services. Google's strategy of not supporting Microsoft products like Windows Phone, IE, and ActiveSync could be considered aggression or could be considered not-so-benign neglect. Either way, it has real consequences for both companies and possibly the future of the internet.
Aug 16, 2013
The gloves are off: Microsoft and Google find themselves battling in more product areas than ever while fighting a very public war of words. The latest spat has led Google to block a Microsoft-developed YouTube app for Windows Phone, despite a promise to collaborate between the two companies. In the past, Microsoft has launched public campaigns directly against Google: there's Gmail man, newspaper ads, Scroogled, and even an anti-Google Apps "Googlighting" campaign. Google's moves are less public, with curiously timed product changes, methods intended to block Windows Phone users, and the occasional sniping comment from Larry Page or Eric Schmidt. Behind closed doors, both companies are forced to work together for the benefit of their mutual customers. What's really going on, though? Why doesn't Google want a Windows Phone YouTube app? We've spoken to sources at Microsoft and Google to find out.Read Article >
The most recent issue began over two years ago when Microsoft alleged that Google was preventing it from "offering consumers a fully featured YouTube app for the Windows Phone." At the time, Microsoft shipped a YouTube app for Windows Phone that simply redirected users to the mobile version of the service. Microsoft wanted more. Earlier this year the company voiced similar concerns, but in May it decided to do something about it, releasing a full YouTube app for Windows Phone with functionality that rivaled the official apps on Android and iOS. There was a slight problem, though: Microsoft had reverse-engineered Google's YouTube APIs and created an app that lacked ads and allowed users to download videos for offline viewing.
Earlier today Google confirmed to The Verge that the company is blocking Microsoft's newly released Windows Phone YouTube app. Though both companies committed to work with each other on a YouTube app, Google wasn't happy when Microsoft released an updated app earlier this week. Microsoft now claims that Google is purposely attempting to block a YouTube Windows Phone app, and that the search giant's objections "are nothing other than excuses."Read Article >
The application was released earlier this week and was working for Windows Phone users before errors started to display. The Verge understands that Google simply revoked the API key Microsoft was attempting to use as the software giant had reverse-engineered YouTube's ad code. Microsoft's re-released app appears to have taken Google by surprise, despite the promise of a collaborative effort to build a Windows Phone YouTube application.
Aug 13, 2013
Microsoft's YouTube app for Windows Phone is returning to the Store today. After Google forced Microsoft to remove the app, the pair have been working together to create an updated application. In a statement issued to The Verge, a Microsoft spokesperson confirms the app will be made available today. "We’ve released an updated YouTube app for Windows Phone that provides the great experience our consumers expect while addressing the concerns Google expressed in May, including the addition of ads," says a spokesperson. Microsoft says it appreciates "Google’s support in ensuring that Windows Phones customers have a quality YouTube experience and look forward to continuing the collaboration."Read Article >
Although Microsoft pulled the download functionality inside its app, the updated version includes some new features. Video upload support is the big change, making it easy for Windows Phone users to upload content to the service, and the ability to stream live video channels is now included. Uploading videos seems to require that the device be plugged in and charging while connected to Wi-Fi. In our own testing, videos refused to upload unless the device was being charged, and if the charging is interrupted then the upload fails.
May 30, 2013
Google didn't build its own YouTube app for Windows Phone because the platform doesn't have "a critical mass of users," Android chief Sundar Pichai said today at the D11 conference. "It's simply a function of reach," he said, before recommending that Windows Phone users try the mobile web version of YouTube. "YouTube has a great HTML5 experience," he said.Read Article >
Pichai's comments come in the wake of a public spat with Microsoft over YouTube on Windows Phone. Microsoft built its own version of the app, but it did not include ads, leading Google to demand that the company remove it from its app store. Last week Microsoft updated the app to address Google's concerns, and the companies eventually said they would work together on a new version of YouTube for Windows Phone.
May 24, 2013
Google is announcing today that it's working together with Microsoft on a new YouTube application for Windows Phone. Following a fight with Microsoft over its unauthorized YouTube app, the pair appear to have resolved some of their differences. Google demanded that Microsoft should remove its app by May 22nd, but Microsoft issued an update to address some of Google's concerns earlier this week. Google says "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."Read Article >
May 22, 2013
Microsoft is updating its Windows Phone YouTube app today. In a statement to The Verge, the company says it's making some changes to address concerns from Google. "Microsoft updated the Windows Phone YouTube app to address the restricted video and offline video access concerns voiced by Google last week," says a spokesperson. "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."Read Article >
The update follows Google's demand for Microsoft to remove the YouTube app fully from its Windows Phone Store. Google objected to the lack of ads in Microsoft's application, and features such as a download option. Microsoft responded saying it was happy to include ads if Google allowed it, and it's addressing some of Google's initial concerns. However, the update does not include support for YouTube ads. It simply removes a download option within the application.
Following Google's demands for Microsoft to remove its Windows Phone YouTube app, Microsoft has responded saying it's happy to include advertising. Google sent a cease and desist letter to Microsoft recently, with concerns that the Windows Phone YouTube app does not display ads. "We’d be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs," says a Microsoft spokesperson.Read Article >
Microsoft appears to want to rectify the situation, noting Google CEO Larry Page's comments at I/O today. "In light of Larry Page’s comments today calling for more interoperability and less negativity, we look forward to solving this matter together for our mutual customers." Microsoft recently released an update for its Windows Phone YouTube application to support sign-in, downloads, and a full YouTube experience. The application has been available for just over a week, but Google has demanded that it be removed by May 22nd for violating its YouTube API rules.
Microsoft updated its own YouTube application for Windows Phone just over a week ago and Google isn't impressed. The Verge has obtained a copy of a cease and desist letter that Google has sent to Microsoft recently, demanding that Microsoft "immediately withdraw this application from the Windows Phone Store and disable existing downloads of the application by Wednesday, May 22, 2013." Microsoft's YouTube app for Windows Phone appears to have taken Google by surprise.Read Article >
Google's complaint centers on the lack of ads in Microsoft's YouTube app, something it claims is a direct violation of the terms and conditions of the company's YouTube API. The Verge has learned that Microsoft created the app without Google's consent with features that specifically prevent ads from playing. The lack of ads clearly hits Google's own revenues, but also those of its third-party content creators that are paid through the company's AdSense program. "Unfortunately, by blocking advertising and allowing downloads of videos, your application cuts off a valuable ongoing revenue source for creators, and causes harm to the thriving content ecosystem on YouTube," says Google's letter, addressed to Microsoft's Todd Brix.
May 7, 2013
Microsoft is updating its YouTube application for Windows Phone on Tuesday in a significant way. Previously, the app was simply a web link to the mobile YouTube interface, but it's now a full application for Windows Phone 8 devices. You can now access videos, channels, playlists, and pin them to the Windows Phone 8 Start Screen. Microsoft is also supporting YouTube accounts, allowing you to access your uploads, playlists, and video lists.Read Article >
Windows Phone users have had to use third-party alternatives such as Metrotube or Google's own YouTube mobile interface, so Microsoft's updated app is a welcome change. The app also supports the Kid's Corner feature of Windows Phone with a system to limit content based on YouTube Safety Mode settings. Microsoft has always said it was ready to release a "high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone," but the company previously complained to the EU that Google had refused to let Windows Phone access YouTube metadata. It appears that the two companies have been able to reconcile their differences.
Mar 7, 2013
In the ongoing battle between Microsoft and Google over the market for office software, Massachusetts legislators are now considering considering a bill that would restrict cloud computing services from using student data for commercial purposes like (but not limited to) advertising. According to The Wall Street Journal, the bill is the work of Microsoft, which is trying to protect its lucrative Office business from encroachments by Google’s free Apps for Education. A Microsoft spokesman articulated the company’s position.Read Article >
Microsoft acknowledged both that the legislation is aimed at Google and that it asked a lobbyist group called Issues Management Group to "raise student-privacy issues with lawmakers." The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Carlo Basile, introduced the bill in January after meeting with the same group.
Jan 30, 2013
We reported moments ago that Google was extending Windows Phone support for Exchange ActiveSync until July 31st — no doubt bringing a sigh of relief to users of Microsoft's mobile OS — and now Redmond has confirmed that a long-term solution is in the works. In a blog post, the company states that the Windows Phone team is building in support for both the CalDAV and the CardDAV protocols. The addition will let Windows Phone users sync their calendars and contacts with Google's services, while the IMAP support already built into the OS will allow access to Gmail.Read Article >
Google had previously allowed users to take advantage of Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol to sync with its services across a variety of different platforms, but announced in December it would stop allowing new EAS connections. The information created yet another point of contention between Microsoft and Google, who have found themselves increasingly at odds on a number of different fronts.
Jan 30, 2013
Google originally announced its plans to cutoff Exchange ActiveSync support for new users today, January 30th, but the company has revealed to The Verge that it plans to extend this to July 31st. In a statement issued to us, a spokesperson says the company will "start rolling out this change as planned across all platforms but will continue to support Google Sync for Windows Phone until July 31, 2013."Read Article >
The change of heart follows Microsoft's requests for Google to extend its Exchange ActiveSync support for six months. It appears that Google has honored Microsoft's requests, allowing Windows Phone users to continue using Google Sync until July 31st. According to our own sources, Microsoft is preparing an update for Windows Phone to support CardDav and CalDAV protocols. We are reaching out to Google to confirm whether the extension will also apply to Windows 8, which is affected by the removal — we'll update you accordingly.
Jan 21, 2013
Sources say Google privately informed Microsoft late last summer that it planned to drop support for Exchange ActiveSync, during a time that Microsoft was finalizing its Windows Phone 8 software with operator trials for devices due in October. Windows Phone 8 does not include support the CalDAV or CardDAV protocols and an engineering change would have delayed the release of devices for the holiday season. We understand that Google didn't provide a timeframe for its plans to kill the Sync service which utilizes Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol.Read Article >
Google publicly announced its plans in mid-December to discontinue support for Exchange ActiveSync with free Gmail accounts on January 30th. The announcement provided Microsoft with around 45 days to implement the necessary CalDAV and CardDAV support to ensure future Windows Phone Gmail users wouldn't experience difficulties syncing calendar and contacts. Google's timing was just ahead of the holidays at a time when Redmond's engineering teams typically start to leave to spend time with their families over the festive period, leaving Microsoft to scramble for a solution.
Jan 5, 2013
The Google Maps on Windows Phone debacle looks like it will be resolved after all. Google now says that it is in fact planning to get rid of the redirect that’s preventing Windows Phone users from accessing the Google Maps website using Internet Explorer — "soon," even. Google provided The Verge with the following statement:Read Article >
That’s quite a change from what we heard just yesterday — Google told us that the reason for the outage was because the company had not designed its mobile Google Maps site with Internet Explorer compatibility in mind. WebKit-based browsers like Google’s own Chrome and Apple’s Safari make up the vast majority of mobile browser traffic, so it’s reasonable for Google not to be spending an inordinate amount of time testing on Microsoft’s platform. The real issue was the decision to redirect IE mobile traffic to the main Google.com site, which obviously caught a lot of people unaware, further antagonizing Windows Phone users after the company removed Microsoft ActiveSync support last week. Needless to say, it’s great that Google Maps users on Windows Phone will get the service back, but we’re left scratching our heads about the whole passive-agressive back-and-forth.
Jan 4, 2013
Google Maps has never officially been supported on Windows Phone, but today many users have reportedly been cut off entirely. Frustrated owners report that trying to visit the web version of Google's popular service results in them being redirected to the company's main website. As numerous posts in our forums and our own tests confirm, the issue is currently affecting a wide number of handsets running Windows Phone 7 and 8.Read Article >
The rivalry between both tech giants has grown deeper in recent weeks after Google announced plans to move away from Microsoft's Exchange platform, news which Redmond insists it was surprised by. This development shouldn't come as any type of shock, however, since Google Maps relies on WebKit on mobile devices; the Internet Explorer app Microsoft built for Windows Phone doesn't utilize the rendering engine. Still, though it was never officially supported for non-Webkit browsers, Google Maps was previously accessible to some degree on Windows Phone. For many, that's no longer the case.
Jan 4, 2013
Dissenting FTC commissioners aren't the only ones that disagree with the settlement deal the Federal Trade Commission brokered with Google: now Microsoft has chimed in, expressing concerns with the "weak" and "unusual" result. In a blog post, Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner writes that the FTC didn't acquire any type of binding agreement that would keep Google from resuming the accused behavior if it wanted to. It's the same criticism levied by the FTC's own J. Thomas Rosch. Namely, that Google promised to change some of its behavior without the FTC getting any kind of binding document that would let it take the company to task if it changed its mind.Read Article >
Heiner takes particular aim at Google's promise to not seek sales bans to enforce standards-essential patents. The two companies have been locked in several patent battles, and Microsoft points out that it had previously taken a two-sentence pledge itself to not seek injunctions in such a manner. In contrast, Heiner writes, FTC has provided Google with a multi-page decree that includes numerous exceptions — including one that would allow the company to use the threat of an injunction while negotiating patent licenses. He also accuses the FTC of failing to gather significant industry feedback when it came to the changes Google is making to AdWords, allowing the search giant to move forward with a change that "falls short of the mark in various ways."
Jan 3, 2013
Come on, Microsoft.Read Article >
Redmond finally issued a statement today in response to Google's decision to cut off Exchange ActiveSync support to personal, non-enterprise users — a decision that renders Windows Phone effectively unable to handle contacts and calendars stored in Google's cloud.
Microsoft has officially responded to Google's planned Gmail ActiveSync removal in a statement issued to The Verge today. The company says it has been left "surprised and disappointed" by Google's decision that will affect the syncing of personal Gmail contacts and calendar for new WIndows Phone devices. Microsoft briefly responded to Google's decision late last year, but today's statement appears to indicate that the company has no plans to support Gmail contacts and calendar sync initially.Read Article >
"Windows Phone users will still be able to sync their Google email via IMAP," says Microsoft. We have asked the company whether it plans to support CardDAV and CalDAV on Windows Phone to rectify the situation. We'll update you accordingly.
Microsoft originally voiced its concerns over a lack of a full Windows Phone YouTube app nearly two years ago, but the software giant has decided to resurface its complaint as 2013 gets underway. Microsoft's Dave Heiner posted a fresh blog post on the company's legal blog today to highlight his concerns over Google's behavior. "Google continues to prevent Microsoft from offering consumers a fully featured YouTube app for the Windows Phone," claims Heiner.Read Article >
Central to Microsoft's complaint is a lack of official YouTube APIs for third-parties to use for access to YouTube's metadata and video playback. One particular YouTube Windows Phone app, MetroTube, faces issues when Google alters its backend code for YouTube — breaking video playback. MetroTube uses workarounds to access the required data on Windows Phone.
Dec 17, 2012
Google announced last week that it plans to drop Exchange ActiveSync support for new devices on personal Gmail accounts from January 30th. While Microsoft has remained quiet on the issue affecting Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone Gmail setup, the software maker has now responded to Google's announcement in a blog post. Microsoft's Dharmesh Mehta admits that the company was "very surprised" by Google's announcement, indicating that Microsoft does not have immediate steps in place to address potential access problems in the Windows 8-style Mail client and Windows Phone.Read Article >
"Many people currently using Gmail for free are facing a situation where they might have to degrade their mobile email experience by downgrading to an older protocol," claims Mehta in Microsoft's first official response to Google's announcement. Trumpeting Microsoft's Outlook.com service and Exchange ActiveSync, a protocol that lets you sync email, calendar, and contacts to mobile devices, Mehta says "we encourage you to seize the opportunity to upgrade your mail to a service that puts the consumer first."
Dec 15, 2012
For Windows Phone users, the news out of Google today couldn't be much worse.Read Article >
The company announced it's removing support for Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol for new devices from January 30th, 2013. Google Apps for business accounts will be unaffected and existing devices that are setup to sync mail, calendar, and contacts will work fine, but new devices will not be able to use the Exchange ActiveSync protocol with Gmail. It's a big blow to Windows Phone and part of a bigger feud between the companies over the past few months.
Dec 14, 2012
Setting up an iPhone or other non-Android smartphone to sync with Gmail's services just got a little more difficult. Google is dropping consumer support for the Exchange ActiveSync protocol soon as a part of a "Winter Cleaning," the company has announced. As a replacement, Google is recommending CalDAV for calendar, CardDAV for contacts, and IMAP for email — though obviously iPhone owners will also likely use the new Gmail app for that. The move isn't entirely unexpected, Google has been updating its help pages to deprecate Exchange ActiveSync recently, leading us to speculate that it would be dropping support.Read Article >
Using the Exchange ActiveSync protocol to connect smartphones to Google's services was a very convenient way to get contacts, calendars, and especially push email set up. More recently, its importance has lessened as smartphones have had built-in auto-setup for Google accounts, but it's still disappointing to see it go away. The situation on Windows Phone may be more dire, with Google deciding not to offset the end of EAS with apps as it has on iPhone.