Google to Microsoft on Windows Phone 8 YouTube app blocking ads: Cease and desist

Mud slinging round one million: Google CEO Larry Page warned against companies being "negative," before claiming Microsoft is "milking" Google. Microsoft zinged back about the cease and desist letter Google sent.

Last week, Microsoft incorporated Google Talk into Outlook and SkyDrive to allow users "to chat with friends stuck on Gmail." Then Google CEO Larry Page criticized Microsoft for "taking advantage" of "interoperating" with Google, "but not doing the reverse." That's "really sad," Page said at I/O, "And that's not the way to make progress. You need to actually have interoperation, not just people milking off one company for their own benefit."

In return, Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw stated, "It's ironic that Larry is lending his voice to the discussion of interoperability considering his company's decision -- today -- to file a cease and desist order to remove the YouTube app from Windows Phone, let alone the recent decision to make it more difficult for our customers to connect their Gmail accounts to their Windows experience."

Google claimed that Microsoft violated Google's Terms of Service with the YouTube app. The Verge got its hands on a copy of that cease and desist letter that Google sent Microsoft. It demands that Microsoft "immediately withdraw this application from the Windows Phone Store and disable existing downloads of the application by Wednesday, May 22, 2013." Google's real gripe stems from the fact that Microsoft's YouTube app has "features that specifically prevent ads from playing."

After the cease and desist letter went public, Microsoft responded by "saying it's happy to include advertising." However, ZDNet speculated that the Windows Phone 8 YouTube app might have been part of Microsoft's Scroogled campaign.

You wouldn't know all this background cease and desist drama from what Page said at I/O.

Every story I read about Google gives off a notion of "us versus some other company" or some stupid thing. Being negative is not how we make progress. The most important things are not zero-sum. There is a lot of opportunity out there.

Opportunities on "Google Island"

Gadget Lab's Mat Honan wrote about some of those far-out and freaky opportunities in a fictional piece about "Google Island." It's an interesting and trippy read. Honan talked about arriving at Google Island in a "driverless boat" to find Page's naked "Google Being" explaining "complete openness" made possible by experimenting on an island in which no pesky government's laws could get in the way with privacy.

At I/O, Page expressed an interest in setting aside a place "where people could experiment freely and examine the effects." Honan joked that the place is Google Island, where Page would claim, "As soon as you hit Google's territorial waters, you came under our jurisdiction, our terms of service. Our laws-or lack thereof-apply here. By boarding our self-driving boat you granted us the right to all feedback you provide during your journey."

Besides Google knowing everything about a user's health, "genetic blueprint" and even "the chemical composition of your sweat," Honan's fictional Page claimed that Google has "looked at everything you've looked at online. Everything. We know what you want, and when you want it, down to the time of day. Why wait for you to request it? And in fact, why wait for you to discover that you even want to request it? We can just serve it to you."

OK, so that was fiction...but it harkens back to a time when then Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, "With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches. We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about." Schmidt later added, "I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions...They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

Taking a page from Page, that's "really sad." Schmidt's quotes were, in part, why Leave Google Behind recommended switching to Bing. "Believe it or not, Bing's privacy policy is superior to Google's. Opt out of personalized ads."

Google is all about ad revenue and the company will never allow Microsoft to block ads on YouTube. Meanwhile, speaking of YouTube and ads, Nintendo is scanning for fan-made YouTube clips that show footage of its games, such as how to get through a level, and then "hijacks" the ad revenue. Nintendo is not blocking screencaps that feature its intellectual property; however, by using content ID match to identify game footage videos uploaded by fans, Nintendo is adding advertising "at the beginning, next to or at the end of the clips."

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