The stakes have been raised in the Google v Amazon feud, and there’s a major knock-on effect in store for customers.
The unrest between Amazon and Google took another turn on Tuesday (5 December), when Google began to block access to YouTube on Amazon’s Echo Show device, according to Variety.
Users of Amazon’s Fire TV are also being told they will no longer have access to YouTube from 1 January 2018.
This is not the first time that Google tried to nix YouTube from the Echo Show. In September, Google pulled YouTube access on the device, telling The Verge that Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violated its terms of service. Apparently, Amazon had layered voice control onto a web app that was not designed for that type of technology.
Amazon held the position that Google had “no technical reason” for the decision it made.
Google lays blame at Amazon’s door
This time around, a Google spokesperson gave a frank statement to CNet on the matter, blaming Amazon’s reluctance to reach a deal. “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 Fire TV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”
An Amazon spokesperson told Fast Company that Google was “setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website”. Indeed, Google’s strategy has been noted by lobbyists who want to see net neutrality rules repealed.
Jonathan Spalter, chief executive of trade association USTelecom, told Axios he found it ironic that a large tech company was threatening competition on the internet, but proponents of net neutrality are still concerned ISPs will squeeze competitors without the regulations to fall back on.
As Variety pointed out, YouTube is regularly listed as one of the top channels on Amazon streaming devices, and the removal of the platform could make a significant dent in the sales of Fire TVs.