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YouTube Windows Phone app stirs up trouble again

The updated app is getting dinged by unhappy users, but that's because Google is blocking the content due to a conflict with Microsoft.

The latest YouTube app for Windows Phone.
The latest YouTube app for Windows Phone.

The new YouTube app for Windows Phone isn't going over too well.

Microsoft got into trouble in May over its native YouTube app after Google complained that the app violated its terms of service. After hashing out their difficulties, the two companies were supposed to team up to create a new version based on HTML5. A new version did debut this past Tuesday, but apparently not the one that Google envisioned.

Users chiming in at the new app's Windows Phone page are none too happy. Many are complaining that the updated app won't access any content and that it crashes, freezes, and delivers a message that "something went wrong and we don't know what."

But the app's quirky behavior may have a simple explanation. Google is blocking its content. Why?

The following statement sent to CNET from a YouTube spokesperson lays the blame at Microsoft's door:

We're committed to providing users and creators with a great and consistent YouTube experience across devices, and we've been working with Microsoft to build a fully featured YouTube for Windows Phone app, based on HTML5. Unfortunately, Microsoft has not made the browser upgrades necessary to enable a fully-featured YouTube experience, and has instead re-released a YouTube app that violates our Terms of Service. It has been disabled. We value our broad developer community and therefore ask everyone to adhere to the same guidelines.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the same situation to Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, CNET's sister site. "Google is blocking our updated YouTube app for Windows Phone," the representative said. "We are working with them to resolve the issue."

Microsoft is also trying to justify its move to publish its Windows Phone YouTube app as is.

In a blog posted in response to Google's action, Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard said that building an HTML5 app for YouTube "would be technically difficult and time consuming." As a result, Microsoft decided to publish its non-HTML5 app as it continues to work on the HTML5 version for the long term.

Howard also lashed out at Google for blocking content for the app.

"It seems to us that Google's reasons for blocking our app are manufactured so that we can't give our users the same experience Android and iPhone users are getting," Howard said. "The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it."

Howard also threw the ball back in Google's court with his final comment: "In the meantime, we once again request that Google stop blocking our YouTube app."

Several questions arise from this latest predicament. But perhaps the biggest one is: Why can't these companies get along with each other?

Updated 1:45 p.m. PT: with comments from Microsoft's blog.