Google Blocks YouTube Access From Amazon's Streaming Devices
(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google pulled support for its YouTube video service from Amazon.com Inc.’s streaming-media devices, citing the internet retailer’s failure to make Amazon Prime Video available through Google’s gadgets and the recent halt of the sale of some Nest products on its website.
Google blocked YouTube access via the Echo Show, Amazon’s smart speaker with a touchscreen, on Tuesday and will stop supporting YouTube on Amazon’s Fire TV set-top box on Jan. 1. In a statement, a Google representative said it’s taking the action because the YouTube apps on Amazon products aren’t made by Google, like the YouTube app on the iPhone is, and the retail giant doesn’t sell some Google products, such as Chromecast and Google Home.
“We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other’s products and services," Google said in a statement. In its own statement, Seattle-based Amazon said its gadgets now send users to the YouTube website, and the company hopes to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.
The rivalry between Google and Amazon has heated up as the search giant and online retailer have moved quickly into hardware and internet services. In the past few years, both have introduced multiple new home devices, including speakers and home-security products. Both have also been pushing their own video and music-streaming services as well as competing video-control platforms. They also both offer corporate cloud-computing services, a market where Amazon leads by a wide margin.
The video-streaming access fight has been brewing for some time. In September, Google blocked YouTube support for the Echo Show and at the time said Amazon’s implementation "violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience." This was resolved in November for Echo Show users, when Amazon began forwarding people using that device to a stripped-down third-party app that leveraged the YouTube website, instead of a native app. Then, last month, Amazon pulled Nest’s latest devices, including its cheaper thermostat, from its online store. The Chromecast streaming product was removed from Amazon.com in 2015.
“Echo Show and Fire TV now display a standard web view of YouTube.com and point customers directly to YouTube’s existing website,” Amazon said in the statement. “Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website.”
Mountain View, California-based Google isn’t the only competitor that has seen its products blocked from Amazon’s site. After being pulled from the No. 1 e-commerce site in 2015, the Apple TV box reappeared on the retail website in September, only to vanish again. Apple Inc., meantime, said Amazon Prime Video would become available as an app for Apple TV by the end of the year, but it hasn’t yet been released.
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