Microsoft and Google are embroiled in a tiff over YouTube applications for mobile devices. Microsoft’s lawyer has complained that Google does not play fair and has denied Microsoft the necessary meta-data required to build a rich YouTube application for their Windows Phone (WP) that would enable WP users features such as can search for video categories, find favorites, see ratings etc.
Microsoft contends that their inability to fully access Google’s API’s reduces their ability to create a YouTube application that rivals the functionality that exists on Apple and Android devices. YouTube is one of the most commonly downloaded applications and Microsoft insists that the lack of an application for the WP negatively impacts their consumers. Microsoft believes that Google is leveraging their position in the market place unfairly and refusing to share with a competitor in the search engine business.
Google counters with an argument suggesting that their refusal to share with Microsoft is simply based on market share and that the WP has such a minor market share that Google does consider it a priority at this time. This argument does seem to have some legs as Google did create a YouTube application for Microsoft’s Xbox.
Antitrust laws were created to prevent companies with a sizeable market share from leveraging that dominant market position to foster anti-competitive practices. In this instance, it appears that Google denial of meta-data to Microsoft may be an anti-competitive practice. However, the YouTube experience on an WP may not differ greatly from the user experience on an Android or Apple mobile device. If the user experience is similar across the devices, Microsoft’s claims that their applications are negatived because meta-data is not provided may fall on deaf ears.