ReadWrite is reporting that the new YouTube app for the Windows Phone is breaking the rules when it comes to ads and downloads. Microsoft has "reverse engineered" their app to block ads and enables users to download videos. These are huge no-nos when it comes to YouTube API rules as it relates to the terms of service. YouTube had decided not to make their own app for Windows Phone because they didn't feel enough people used it to make it worthwhile, so Microsoft made one on their own. Now, the question is, can Microsoft actually do this?
The New Microsoft YouTube App Opens A Can of Worms
The question is, does it even fall under the rules of YouTube API since this isn't a YouTube API. And does it break the law?
As far as downloading is concerned, this is something that is readily available on any open-source browser, including Google's own Chrome. I have a couple of downloading extensions on my Firefox browser. And there are tons of downloading programs you can, well, download. So I'm not sure YouTube can do much about that.
As for the ads, see above. There are a number of extensions that block ads. So if YouTube feels like Microsoft is going out-of-bounds with this new app, then they'll surely have to go after everything else that allows this. Of course, no comments have come from either camp about it.
I also wonder if the mere fact of creating an app for a phone, using the YouTube name, without their permission, makes a big difference. Since YouTube's own "app" for Windows Phone was merely a re-direct to their mobile site, accessing YouTube is something that is clearly allowed. So if they change some things so that a better, cleaner app works on their own device, are they doing something wrong?
This also reminds me of the drama around the Roku box, and how it doesn't have a YouTube app, for many of the same reasons Microsoft doesn't have a YouTube-approved one. Roku recently pulled a channel for playing YouTube content. But a channel playing YouTube content doesn't appear to be something YouTube is too concerned about on their end.
For more about this and some interesting comments on the matter, take a look at the ReadWrite article.