Google v Amazon: YouTube app pulled from Fire TV and Echo Show

Google v Amazon: YouTube app pulled from Fire TV and Echo Show

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Google is using YouTube as leverage over Amazon to try and force the world’s largest retailer to sell its Home smart speakers, Chromecasts and Nest products.

Google has pulled official support for YouTube from Amazon’s Echo Show and Fire TV devices, meaning that owners can no longer access the video site through a YouTube app.

The quarrel originally became public in September when Google pulled YouTube access from the new Echo Show for “violating terms of service” saying that Amazon’s implementation of YouTube blocked what Google considered critical features.

Now it appears to revolve around Amazon’s unwillingness to sell certain Google products.

Google said in a statement: “We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other’s products and services.

“But Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products.

“Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

Amazon pulled all retail listings for Google’s Chromecast and Nexus Player smart TV box in 2015, alongside the Apple TV. While some of Google’s products are still available from Amazon, including some Nest products, the Google Home smart speaker is not.

Amazon pulled all retail listings for Google’s Chromecast (pictured) and Nexus Player smart TV box in 2015.



Amazon pulled all retail listings for Google’s Chromecast (pictured) and Nexus Player smart TV box in 2015. Photograph: Google

Amazon appears to decline to sell most Google products that compete directly with its own line of smart speakers and smart TV boxes. Given Amazon is the largest retailer in the world, being blacklisted from the site, even for a company of Google’s size, clearly has a negative impact on sales and the popularity of the devices.

Amazon said in a statement: “Echo Show and Fire TV now display a standard web view of YouTube.com and point customers directly to YouTube’s existing website.

“Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website. We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible.”

The spat highlights the friction between the two US technology companies. Amazon’s Fire OS is based on the Google-developed open source variant of Android and runs on the company’s Fire tablet and smart TV devices, but has its own app store and ecosystem, without Google’s services.

Amazon supports a subset of its Android apps on the Google Play Store for non-Amazon Android devices, including the recent addition of an android and tablet app for its Amazon Prime Video service.

Google meanwhile has its own store where it sells its products, and has until this point provided limited support for its most ubiquitous service, YouTube, on Amazon’s Android devices.

Access to YouTube is considered to be crucial for a media-playing device, so by pulling official support from Amazon’s devices Google has illustrated just how important Amazon’s store front is, but also that it is willing to use YouTube as leverage to get what it wants, despite the impact on users.

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