Microsoft Fires Latest Shot in Mobile App War with Google
Perhaps one day we’ll sit and tell our grandchildren of the Great Google vs. Microsoft Wars of the days of old, but probably not anytime soon—they show no signs of stopping. Everyone loves predicting winners and losers, especially when your favorite wins, and this is certainly true in the tech world.
We’ll leave Apple out of the discussion for this round; they’ve still got their hands full with Samsung these days.
As Windows Phones gain in popularity, mobile apps would seemingly begin to fall into their laps—just don’t expect them to come quickly from Google. Earlier this year, Google released a statement saying they actually had been preventing Windows Phone users from accessing Google Maps, something they’d previously denied. Google claimed “IE mobile did not offer a good maps experience with no ability to pan or zoom and perform basic map functionality,” as Business Insider reported earlier this year.
Google has since unblocked Windows 8, claiming that IE’s functionality has improved enough for its map app’s usage.
In the latest battle between the two, Google has refused to build a YouTube app for phones running Windows 8. Rather than waiting around for them to do so, and thus leaving Google in charge of when Windows users can download such an app, Microsoft not only just built their own but also illegally customized YouTube’s API in the process.
ReadWriteWeb notes that while Microsoft has “reverse engineered” Google software in the past, as they did in 2011 to enhance Bing’s search results, this time they’re admitting it (somewhat proudly) before they could ever be accused.
There are paid third-party apps that do exactly what Microsoft has done—removing ads before videos and allowing content downloads—by tinkering with the API, but it gives the appearance that Google has actually allowed Windows 8 users special privileges clearly prohibited in the user agreement.
Google has yet to legally respond to Microsoft’s actions, though a cease and desist order would seemingly be hard for Microsoft to dispute. Perhaps just as Google waits for it to be worth its while to work alongside Microsoft, the company might take a similar approach before fighting back.