"Google's refusal deprives consumers who use competing platforms of a comparable experience in accessing content that is generally available on the Web, almost all of which is created by users rather than by Google itself," Heiner lamented.
In a statement, Google denied Microsoft's claims and stressed that all of YouTube's features are available through mobile Web browsers. "We've worked with Microsoft for several years to help build a great YouTube experience on Windows phones," Google maintained.
Limiting YouTube access to mobile browsers apparently wasn't good enough for Google on the iPhone. Even before Apple dropped YouTube as one of its built-in applications when it released a new iPhone operating system in September, Google had released an alternative to fill the void. The new iPhone app ensured users wouldn't have to visit YouTube through a browser.
Google also offers a YouTube app for Microsoft's Xbox 360 video-game console, which comes with an Internet connection that makes it easier to watch online video on television sets instead of the much smaller screens on computers and smartphones.
Microsoft Corp. wrangled with antitrust regulators for much of the 1990s in legal battles that focused on whether it was using its pervasive Windows operating system to squelch other software alternatives. The company ultimately had to make several concessions while keeping most of its business intact, but the regulatory fight proved to be a major distraction that diverted management's attention just as Internet search was helping to turn the Web into a hotbed of data, entertainment and technology. Google helped to orchestrate that shift over the past 14 years, providing it with the means to branch into smartphones and other fields while Microsoft's growth has slowed amid the upheaval.