Google yanks YouTube from some Amazon devices in escalation of rivalry
- Google is pulling its video platform YouTube from Amazon's Echo Show and Amazon Fire TV devices for terms of services violations, according to TechCrunch.
- YouTube was previously removed from Echo Show in September when Google said the user experience on the devices was broken and didn't include features such as video recommendations and channel subscriptions. The version Amazon offered Show users was also alleged to have blocked some of Google's advertising revenue from YouTube. Amazon has since provided Show users a web version of YouTube but added voice controls without clearing the move with Google, which the company says violates its terms of service.
- Part of Google's snippiness around how YouTube is integrated on Amazon devices might also stem from Amazon refusing to sell Google hardware products like Chromecast and Google Home on its website. Amazon recently pulled hardware from Nest, which is owned by Google's parent Alphabet, from its e-commerce platform as well, per TechCrunch. Amazon additionally doesn't allow Google Cast users to stream Prime Video, steering members to purchase an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick to access the service.
As giant technology companies continue to expand their offerings past software and online services and into hardware and areas like original content, it won't be surprising to see more moves like Google's removal of YouTube from some Amazon devices (though whether this a permanent change or just a quick spat remains to be seen). The end result has consumers losing out on access to popular platforms they might expect to come packaged with what are often pricey internet-connected devices, and ultimately might force them to pick between different brands to access, say, YouTube.
This will be an area for marketers to watch closely next year as new smart devices are expected to arrive from Apple and also reportedly Facebook, which has, to date, floundered in its attempts to get original hardware off the ground. The potential splintering of these sites and apps, many of which are lucrative digital advertising platforms, may force some to reconsider how they budget their advertising online to reach certain sets of consumers.
In terms of the YouTube news, in particular, it points to how Google might be attempting to get out ahead of Amazon as the Seattle-based company becomes more competitive in key areas. Amazon is widely viewed as a market leader in the connected hardware market thanks to its Alexa-powered Echo devices, but it's also starting to stake out more territory in the digital advertising space that Google has dominated for years. YouTube has been a pillar of Google's growth strategy and a powerful revenue source, so cutting the service from Amazon products now is strategic.
Amazon's ad business is expected to surpass $2.5 billion in the next five years, according to forecasts from the research firm Forrester. Interestingly, much of Amazon's technology is built on the back of Google's open-source Android software.
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