The Google-Microsoft ecosystem war: a full history

google microsoft ecowar

A simmering battle between two tech giants has boiled over into a an all-out war. As Microsoft tries to regain territory in mobile, maps, and on the web browser, Google is shutting out Microsoft's products from its services. Google's strategy of not supporting Microsoft products like Windows Phone, IE, and ActiveSync could be considered aggression or could be considered not-so-benign neglect. Either way, it has real consequences for both companies and possibly the future of the internet.

28 updates and 16699 comments below.

Oct 07 5:17p

Microsoft gives up on new YouTube Windows Phone app, reverts back to web player

Microsoft appears to have given up, possibly temporarily, on its Windows Phone YouTube application. After Google blocked Microsoft's latest app almost two months ago, it was rendered useless with a "something happened, we're not sure what" error message. Microsoft has updated its Windows Phone YouTube app once again today, but it has simply reverted it back to the basic web player originally introduced nearly three years ago on the mobile platform.

At issue is a war over Microsoft's plans to...

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Aug 16 10:00a

Inside the bitter YouTube battle between Microsoft and Google

The gloves are off: Microsoft and Google find themselves battling in more product areas than ever while fighting a very public war of words. The latest spat has led Google to block a Microsoft-developed YouTube app for Windows Phone, despite a promise to collaborate between the two companies. In the past, Microsoft has launched public campaigns directly against Google: there's Gmail mannewspaper adsScroogled, and even an anti-Google Apps "Googlighting" campaign. Google's moves are less...

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Aug 15 3:57p

Microsoft blasts Google over YouTube block, claims reasons are 'manufactured'

Earlier today Google confirmed to The Verge that the company is blocking Microsoft's newly released Windows Phone YouTube app. Though both companies committed to work with each other on a YouTube app, Google wasn't happy when Microsoft released an updated app earlier this week. Microsoft now claims that Google is purposely attempting to block a YouTube Windows Phone app, and that the search giant's objections "are nothing other than excuses."

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Google blocks Microsoft's new YouTube Windows Phone app

Microsoft's recently released YouTube application for Windows Phone is being blocked by Google. In a statement issued to The Verge, Google confirms that the application has been blocked for violating the terms of use. Despite the two companies collaborating on an app based on HTML5, Microsoft's app is still breaking YouTube's terms of use. "Microsoft has not made the browser upgrades necessary to enable a fully-featured YouTube experience, and has instead re-released a YouTube app that...

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Aug 13 6:12p

Microsoft's YouTube Windows Phone app returns following Google complaints

Microsoft's YouTube app for Windows Phone is returning to the Store today. After Google forced Microsoft to remove the app, the pair have been working together to create an updated application. In a statement issued to The Verge, a Microsoft spokesperson confirms the app will be made available today. "We’ve released an updated YouTube app for Windows Phone that provides the great experience our consumers expect while addressing the concerns Google expressed in May, including the addition of...

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Aug 01 2:57a

Google extends Windows Phone calendar and contacts syncing until December 31st

Google has granted new Windows Phone users another extension to access its Sync service until December 31st. The company had originally planned to drop support for new connections using the Exchange ActiveSync protocol on January 30th, but it extended the cut off date until July 31st to allow Microsoft to build CardDAV and CalDAV support into Windows Phone 8. “We’ve reached an agreement with Google to extend support for new Windows Phone connections to the Google Sync service through December...

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May 30 12:20p

Windows Phone doesn't have the 'reach' for Google to build a YouTube app, says Android chief

Google didn't build its own YouTube app for Windows Phone because the platform doesn't have "a critical mass of users," Android chief Sundar Pichai said today at the D11 conference. "It's simply a function of reach," he said, before recommending that Windows Phone users try the mobile web version of YouTube. "YouTube has a great HTML5 experience," he said.

Pichai's comments come in the wake of a public spat with Microsoft over YouTube on Windows Phone. Microsoft built its own version of the...

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May 24 4:00p

Microsoft and Google working together on new YouTube Windows Phone app

Google is announcing today that it's working together with Microsoft on a new YouTube application for Windows Phone. Following a fight with Microsoft over its unauthorized YouTube app, the pair appear to have resolved some of their differences. Google demanded that Microsoft should remove its app by May 22nd, but Microsoft issued an update to address some of Google's concerns earlier this week. Google says "Microsoft and YouTube are working together to update the new YouTube for Windows Phone...

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May 22 4:35p

Microsoft updates YouTube Windows Phone app on the day Google demanded it be removed

Microsoft is updating its Windows Phone YouTube app today. In a statement to The Verge, the company says it's making some changes to address concerns from Google. "Microsoft updated the Windows Phone YouTube app to address the restricted video and offline video access concerns voiced by Google last week," says a spokesperson. "We have been in contact with Google and continue to believe that our two companies can work together to hone an app that benefits our mutual customers, partners and...

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May 15 7:17p

Microsoft responds to YouTube demands, 'more than happy' to include ads if Google allows it

Following Google's demands for Microsoft to remove its Windows Phone YouTube app, Microsoft has responded saying it's happy to include advertising. Google sent a cease and desist letter to Microsoft recently, with concerns that the Windows Phone YouTube app does not display ads. "We’d be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs," says a Microsoft spokesperson.

Microsoft appears to want to rectify the situation, noting Google CEO Larry...

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Google demands Microsoft remove YouTube Windows Phone app, cites lack of ads

Microsoft updated its own YouTube application for Windows Phone just over a week ago and Google isn't impressed. The Verge has obtained a copy of a cease and desist letter that Google has sent to Microsoft recently, demanding that Microsoft "immediately withdraw this application from the Windows Phone Store and disable existing downloads of the application by Wednesday, May 22, 2013." Microsoft's YouTube app for Windows Phone appears to have taken Google by surprise.

Windows Phone app...

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May 07 12:09p

Windows Phone finally gets a full YouTube app with playlists and sign-in support

Microsoft is updating its YouTube application for Windows Phone on Tuesday in a significant way. Previously, the app was simply a web link to the mobile YouTube interface, but it's now a full application for Windows Phone 8 devices. You can now access videos, channels, playlists, and pin them to the Windows Phone 8 Start Screen. Microsoft is also supporting YouTube accounts, allowing you to access your uploads, playlists, and video lists.

Windows Phone users have had to use third-party...

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Mar 07 3:08a

Microsoft backs privacy bill in effort to keep Google Apps out of the classroom

In the ongoing battle between Microsoft and Google over the market for office software, Massachusetts legislators are now considering considering a bill that would restrict cloud computing services from using student data for commercial purposes like (but not limited to) advertising. According to The Wall Street Journal, the bill is the work of Microsoft, which is trying to protect its lucrative Office business from encroachments by Google’s free Apps for Education. A Microsoft spokesman...

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Jan 30 2:19p

Microsoft confirms CardDAV and CalDAV support are coming to Windows Phone

We reported moments ago that Google was extending Windows Phone support for Exchange ActiveSync until July 31st — no doubt bringing a sigh of relief to users of Microsoft's mobile OS — and now Redmond has confirmed that a long-term solution is in the works. In a blog post, the company states that the Windows Phone team is building in support for both the CalDAV and the CardDAV protocols. The addition will let Windows Phone users sync their calendars and contacts with Google's services, while...

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Google extends Windows Phone support for Exchange ActiveSync until July 31st

Google originally announced its plans to cutoff Exchange ActiveSync support for new users today, January 30th, but the company has revealed to The Verge that it plans to extend this to July 31st. In a statement issued to us, a spokesperson says the company will "start rolling out this change as planned across all platforms but will continue to support Google Sync for Windows Phone until July 31, 2013."

The change of heart follows Microsoft's requests for Google to extend its Exchange...

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Jan 21 3:29p

Google makes Microsoft sweat over Sync cutoff, but Windows Phone will get DAV support

Google's decision to drop Exchange ActiveSync support, a protocol used to sync Gmail calendar, contacts, and mail items on mobile devices, left Microsoft surprised and disappointed. The change means new Windows Phone users after January 30th with personal Gmail accounts will be unable to sync calendar and contact items. The Verge has learned that Microsoft is planning to support CardDAV and CalDAV in Windows Phone, Google's new preferred route to sync contacts and calendars. The software...

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Jan 05 6:55p

Google enabling Maps access for Windows Phone after uproar

The Google Maps on Windows Phone debacle looks like it will be resolved after all. Google now says that it is in fact planning to get rid of the redirect that’s preventing Windows Phone users from accessing the Google Maps website using Internet Explorer — "soon," even. Google provided The Verge with the following statement:

"We periodically test Google Maps compatibility with mobile browsers to make sure we deliver the best experience for those users.

In our last test, IE mobile still...

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Jan 04 3:37p

Many Windows Phone users report being cut off from Google Maps (update)

Google Maps has never officially been supported on Windows Phone, but today many users have reportedly been cut off entirely. Frustrated owners report that trying to visit the web version of Google's popular service results in them being redirected to the company's main website. As numerous posts in our forums and our own tests confirm, the issue is currently affecting a wide number of handsets running Windows Phone 7 and 8.

The rivalry between both tech giants has grown deeper in recent...

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Jan 03 8:47p

Microsoft criticizes FTC settlement with Google, calls outcome 'a missed opportunity'

Dissenting FTC commissioners aren't the only ones that disagree with the settlement deal the Federal Trade Commission brokered with Google: now Microsoft has chimed in, expressing concerns with the "weak" and "unusual" result. In a blog post, Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner writes that the FTC didn't acquire any type of binding agreement that would keep Google from resuming the accused behavior if it wanted to. It's the same criticism levied by the FTC's own J....

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Jan 02 10:42p

Microsoft 'surprised' by Google's ecosystem warfare? Give me a break

Come on, Microsoft.

Redmond finally issued a statement today in response to Google's decision to cut off Exchange ActiveSync support to personal, non-enterprise users — a decision that renders Windows Phone effectively unable to handle contacts and calendars stored in Google's cloud.


Microsoft 'disappointed' by Google's Exchange ActiveSync decision, pledges support for IMAP

Microsoft has officially responded to Google's planned Gmail ActiveSync removal in a statement issued to The Verge today. The company says it has been left "surprised and disappointed" by Google's decision that will affect the syncing of personal Gmail contacts and calendar for new WIndows Phone devices. Microsoft briefly responded to Google's decision late last year, but today's statement appears to indicate that the company has no plans to support Gmail contacts and calendar sync initially.


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Microsoft claims Google continues to block fully featured YouTube app for Windows Phone

Microsoft originally voiced its concerns over a lack of a full Windows Phone YouTube app nearly two years ago, but the software giant has decided to resurface its complaint as 2013 gets underway. Microsoft's Dave Heiner posted a fresh blog post on the company's legal blog today to highlight his concerns over Google's behavior. "Google continues to prevent Microsoft from offering consumers a fully featured YouTube app for the Windows Phone," claims Heiner.

Central to Microsoft's complaint is...

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Dec 17 5:12p

Microsoft left 'surprised' by Google's Exchange ActiveSync announcement

Google announced last week that it plans to drop Exchange ActiveSync support for new devices on personal Gmail accounts from January 30th. While Microsoft has remained quiet on the issue affecting Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone Gmail setup, the software maker has now responded to Google's announcement in a blog post. Microsoft's Dharmesh Mehta admits that the company was "very surprised" by Google's announcement, indicating that Microsoft does not have immediate steps in place to...

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Dec 14 7:17p

Google drops a Gmail-shaped bomb on Windows Phone

For Windows Phone users, the news out of Google today couldn't be much worse.

The company announced it's removing support for Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol for new devices from January 30th, 2013. Google Apps for business accounts will be unaffected and existing devices that are setup to sync mail, calendar, and contacts will work fine, but new devices will not be able to use the Exchange ActiveSync protocol with Gmail. It's a big blow to Windows Phone and part of a bigger feud...

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Google makes Gmail sync harder on rival platforms by dropping Exchange ActiveSync for consumers

Setting up an iPhone or other non-Android smartphone to sync with Gmail's services just got a little more difficult. Google is dropping consumer support for the Exchange ActiveSync protocol soon as a part of a "Winter Cleaning," the company has announced. As a replacement, Google is recommending CalDAV for calendar, CardDAV for contacts, and IMAP for email — though obviously iPhone owners will also likely use the new Gmail app for that. The move isn't entirely unexpected, Google has been...

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Nov 28 10:29a

Microsoft launches 'Scroogled' anti-Google Shopping website

Microsoft is launching its latest anti-Google campaign this week. A new Scroogled site has emerged that directly attacks Google's "unfair pay-to-rank shopping practices" says Microsoft. "Simply put, all of their shopping results are now paid ads," reads a statement on the site. The move follows a change by Google to move to a model where all merchants pay either per click or per transaction to be included in Google Shopping.

"We say that when you limit choices and rank them by payment,...

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Nov 20 1:24p

First strike: how tech's superpowers could start an ecosystem war

Wargames, mutually assured destruction, and the coming battle to control your digital life Continue reading »

Feb 10 9:08a

W3C says WebKit's dominance is damaging the web

The current dominance of Google Chrome and Apple's Safari browser is damaging the standards of the web, according to Daniel Glazman, the co-chairman of the W3C's CSS standards working group. Chrome and Safari share the WebKit engine, and together currently account for around a third of all browser use. Glazman says that web programmers often overlook other browsers when they use newer CSS features designed specifically for WebKit, creating styles with no alternatives for other browsers to...

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Feb 02 10:30a

Microsoft makes its 'Gmail Man' video official in privacy fight against Google

We have seen the "Gmail Man" video before thanks to a leak, but Microsoft just posted it to the company's official YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages. The spoof video was originally broadcast at Microsoft's internal Global Exchange sales conference on July 20th last year, and it depicts a mail man riffling through letters (email) to find keywords for ads. "Would you trust this guy to deliver your mail?" asks Microsoft on its Facebook page, one Facebook commenter responded "I trust him about...

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