App allegedly strips advertisements, lets users download videos
Google on Wednesday demanded that Microsoft yank its YouTube app for Windows Phone from the market and disable any downloaded copies of the app, according to Wired.com, which received a copy of Google’s cease and desist letter.
Microsoft has until May 22 to comply, according to the story by Wired’s Mat Honan.
The Microsoft-written YouTube app violates YouTube’s service terms in two ways: it strips out the ads in the videos and lets users download content from the video site. Users can download the Microsoft app from the Windows Phone App Store.
UPDATE 1: But there are at least three other Windows Phone apps, available on Microsoft’s online app store, that also appear to violate one or the other of these restrictions. All three let users download videos to their phones. A paid version of one of them lets the user block advertisements.
Here’s the list:
Tube Pro, free, by Fast Code; the WindowsPhone Store listing offers an email address for support and questions. “If you want to remove adverts, Please buy the paid version.”
YouTube Downloader, free, by AnKo Software, which seems to be a Russian developer; on Twitter @AnKo_software
YouTube Downloader, $2.49, by AutoExpert Net. No vendor contact information available, but it was the only vendor that posted a disclaimer about downloading content: “AutoExpert Net does NOT in any way endorse and is NOT responsible for downloading copyrighted material from YouTube. This application should only be used for non-copyrighted material and/or for educational purposes. All the rights of the videos/audios are the property of their respective owners. By using this application you agree to abide by local and national copyright laws.”
“Network World” emailed AutoExpert Net. and tweeted AnKo Software for comment.
“These features directly harm our content creators and clearly violate our Terms of Service,” according to Google’s letter. “We request that you immediately withdraw this application from the Windows Phone Store and disable existing downloads of the application by Wednesday, May 22, 2013.”
“Just today, during his presentation at the Google I/O keynote, Google CEO Larry Page decried Microsoft for “milking off” of Google’s innovations,” Honan writes.
The Wired story includes the full text of the letter, dated May 15. It was sent to Todd Brix, Microsoft general manager, Windows Phone apps and store. It was signed by Francisco Vareta, director, global platform partnership, for Youtube.
Wired contacted both Google and Microsoft for comment. As of this posting, Wired apparently has received none.