Google Removes YouTube from Amazon devices, Heightening Spat

On Tuesday, a rare public dispute in the technology industry escalated when Google said that it would block YouTube, its video streaming application,  from two devices, if Amazon.com Inc and scrutinised the online retailer for not selling Google hardware.

The feud is the newest in Silicon Valley to place customers in the crossfire of major competitors. Amazon and Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, square off in various areas, from cloud computing and online search to selling gadgets that are voice-controlled like the Amazon Echo Show and Google Home.

The stakes are high as many in the technology industry expect that interacting with computers by voice will become popular, and it is not clear if Google, Amazon, or another company will rule the space. According to a study by eMarketer, a research firm, that was released from earlier this year, the suite of voice-controlled devices of Amazon has outsold that of Google’s so far.

In a statement, Google stated: “Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make (its) Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of (our sister company) Nest’s latest products.

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

Also in a statement, Amazon stated: “Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website.”

Amazon said that it hoped to resolve the matter with Google as soon as possible. However, customers could access YouTube via the internet – but not an app – on the devices in the meantime.

The said break has been a long time coming as Amazon kicked Google’s television player, the Chromecast, off the company’s retail website in 2015, along with the TV player of Apple Inc. Amazon had explained the said move by saying that it wanted to avoid confusing its customers who might expect that its Prime Video service will be available on devices that are sold by Amazon.

Apple and Amazon mended ties earlier in 2017 when it was revealed that Prime Video would be available to Apple TV. But not so with Google.

In September, Google removed YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show, which had presented videos on its touchscreen with no channel subscriptions, video recommendations, and other features. Amazon later reintroduced YouTube to the said device. However, the voice commands that it added violated the use terms. On Tuesday Google again removed the said service.

Google said that the Fire TV loses access to the YouTube app on the 1st of January. Amazon has sold the said device much longer compared to the Echo Show, meaning that more customers may now be affected.