- Google has pulled YouTube from Amazon's Echo Show citing a terms of service violation, as reported by The Drum. Echo Show, unveiled in May, is an Alexa-powered device that includes a touchscreen.
- Google said the terms violation stemmed from a broken user experience, where YouTube videos ran on the device without key platform features that are available elsewhere like video recommendations and channel subscriptions.
- Amazon responded with a statement that Google's move came without explanation or notification to customers, and that there was no technical reason for the decision. Google said it hopes to reach an agreement and resolve the issue soon. The Drum, however, stated there had been "exhaustive negotiations" between the two.
Platform wars are always heated but the latest bit of news shows two of the biggest digital players getting petty, or otherwise mired in a particularly egregious bit of miscommunication. Google has a right to demand its technology is presented in its preferred format on the Echo Show, but the company is also competing more directly against Amazon than it has in the past, both with its digital advertising business and also through hardware devices like its smart speaker Google Home.
Google is reportedly working on a new smart speaker called the Home 'Max,' according to The Verge. The Alphabet-owned company also last week announced it paid $1.1 billion to bring on 2,000 engineers and technical staff from the manufacturing giant HTC as its hardware push ramps up. In pulling YouTube from Echo devices, Google might want to drive people away from Amazon products and toward its own. As more technology and entertainment companies build out proprietary digital businesses and products, content and even app exclusivity appear to be a growing trend.
For now, the loser is Amazon Echo Show users who enjoy watching YouTube, which might be Google's goal.