Google blocks YouTube from Amazon devices as business conflict escalates

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
In an escalating tit-for-tat spat between Google and Amazon, the internet search giant on Tuesday began blocking certain Amazon devices from accessing YouTube, and announced the list will grow starting next month.




Google is now restricting YouTube from appearing on Amazon Echo Show, and will pull the service from Fire TV streaming devices starting Jan. 1, reports Variety.

According to a Google spokesperson, the decision to block YouTube access is the result of Amazon's unwillingness to reach an amicable business arrangement regarding Google's hardware products.

"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," the representative said. "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."

Amazon in a response wagged its finger at Google, saying the move sets a "disappointing precedent" by selectively blocking access to an open website. The retailer points out that both Echo Show and Fire TV display a standard web view of YouTube.com seemingly not related to YouTube's API. Further, the implementation points customers to YouTube's website.

Google previously blocked YouTube access to Echo Show in September, saying the initial implementation violated terms of service. The companies hammered out their differences and service returned a month later.

The report, citing sources familiar with Google's thinking, claims Amazon once again violated YouTube's terms of service by slapping voice control assets onto a web app not designed to handle such functionality.

Amazon is well known for using its e-commerce clout to steer consumer tastes toward its own first-party products. Beyond Google's products, which compete with Echo and Fire TV devices, Apple too saw its Apple TV set-top streamer pulled from Amazon's online storefront in 2015.

At the time, Amazon said it removed Google and Apple products in an effort to avoid customer confusion. Specifically, the company notes the importance of selling only those streaming devices that "interact well" with its Amazon Prime Video subscription service. The move signaled Amazon's unwillingness to build an Apple TV channel -- or later a tvOS app -- that would deliver Prime Video to Apple TV owners.

The coming YouTube restriction further bifurcates an already complex streaming landscape that will, ironically, confuse most consumers. Come January, Apple TV and Google Chromecast devices will have access to YouTube but not Prime Video, while Amazon devices will be able to stream Prime Video but not YouTube.

Google's decision makes streaming giant Roku the real winner, as its devices will continue to offer access to both YouTube and Prime Video.

Amazon is reportedly developing a Prime Video app for tvOS, but it is unknown whether that title will launch anytime soon.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    Next up, block all Kindles from YouTube.
    hehe


    racerhomiejbdragoncurtis hannahwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    Sure sounds like how a monopolist works.  Amazon better be careful. 
    jahbladetallest skilwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    tailstoo said:
    Sure sounds like how a monopolist works.  Amazon better be careful. 
    Oh, I don't know about that. YouTube videos are not a public service and I get the impression that they lose lots of money every quarter by subsidizing all of this immense storage and delivery of videos.
    racerhomiejbdragonmike1
  • Reply 4 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,061member
    tailstoo said:
    Sure sounds like how a monopolist works.  Amazon better be careful. 
    Oh, I don't know about that. YouTube videos are not a public service and I get the impression that they lose lots of money every quarter by subsidizing all of this immense storage and delivery of videos.
    "RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney estimates YouTube's annual revenue has reached $10 billion and is increasing by as much as 40% a year." 
    libertyforall[Deleted User]jahblade
  • Reply 5 of 23
    gatorguy said:
    tailstoo said:
    Sure sounds like how a monopolist works.  Amazon better be careful. 
    Oh, I don't know about that. YouTube videos are not a public service and I get the impression that they lose lots of money every quarter by subsidizing all of this immense storage and delivery of videos.
    "RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney estimates YouTube's annual revenue has reached $10 billion and is increasing by as much as 40% a year." 
    What are they spending?

    Found this:

    YouTube Traffic

    • 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute, or one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second.
    • Over 4 billion videos are viewed a day
    • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
    • Over 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
    • More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years
    • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
    • YouTube is localized in 39 countries and across 54 languages
    • In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views
    • In 2011 there were almost 140 views for every person on Earth

    YouTube Partner Program

    • Created in 2007, the YouTube partner program now has 30,000+ partners from 27 countries around the world
    • YouTube pays out millions of dollars a year to partners
    • Hundreds of partners are making six figures a year
    • Partner revenue has more than doubled for four years in a row

    Making Money from YouTube

    • YouTube is monetizing over 3 billion video views per week globally
    • 98 of AdAge’s Top 100 advertisers have run campaigns on YouTube and the Google Display Network
    • Hundreds of advertisers are using TrueView in-stream and 60% of our in-stream ads are now skippable
    http://www.jeffbullas.com/35-mind-numbing-youtube-facts-figures-and-statistics-infographic/
    starwarsjahbladephilboogiepatchythepirate
  • Reply 6 of 23
    So much for net neutrality :)
    tallest skilwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,420member
    tbsteph said:
    So much for net neutrality :)
    Google operates their own network and pays for peering with the ISPs they wanted regulated.  Net neutrality didn’t apply to them.  Same goes for Facebook and other “free” services.  

    Edit: I wonder how Google, Facebook, Twitter and others would have felt about Content Neutrality regulated by the FCC.
    edited December 2017 jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,302member
    tailstoo said:
    Sure sounds like how a monopolist works.  Amazon better be careful. 
    Please don’t use big words that you do not understand.
    jbdragonmike1
  • Reply 9 of 23
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,736member
    lkrupp said:
    tailstoo said:
    Sure sounds like how a monopolist works.  Amazon better be careful. 
    Please don’t use big words that you do not understand.
    Well, Google is a near monopoly in search (so believes the EU at least), but you're right it doesn't apply in this case, they're not a monopoly in serving/producing video content (but they're a major player for sure).
  • Reply 10 of 23
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,736member
    tbsteph said:
    So much for net neutrality :)
    Not sure how this relates to net neutrality, which applies to the carrier more than the content provider.

    jbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 23
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,047member
    gatorguy said:
    tailstoo said:
    Sure sounds like how a monopolist works.  Amazon better be careful. 
    Oh, I don't know about that. YouTube videos are not a public service and I get the impression that they lose lots of money every quarter by subsidizing all of this immense storage and delivery of videos.
    "RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney estimates YouTube's annual revenue has reached $10 billion and is increasing by as much as 40% a year." 
    None of which proves that they’re not losing money. In the content distribution game, your costs tend to rise along with your revenue.  Look at Spotify: they make a ton of revenue, but struggle to make a profit. 

    But to those accusing Google of behaving like a monopoly, I’m not sure how they’re supposed to respond  when Amazon refuses to sell their products in order to give their own a leg up. 

    edited December 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    nhtnht Posts: 4,214member
    As an avid prime user it mildly irks me that I can’t buy an aTV on Amazon.  But given Apple customer service is top notch I don’t really mind ordering direct from Apple.

    Prime TV I never liked.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    A plague on both their houses.

    Google needs every last bit of data on you so that it can sell 'you' to advertisers who will use it to try to sell you 'tat'
    Amazon needs every last bit of data on you so that it can sell 'you' tat.

    Not a lot of difference between them really.

    I avoid everything to do with Google wherever possible and I only use Amazon as a last resort when shopping. They aren't always the cheapest or the most speedy when it comes to delivery.
    But that's just my ornery side showing through. YMMV.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    <Popcorn>
    jahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 23
    I recently ditched my Sky Q (satellite TV) and researched the best device to get all the content we watch and it turned out to be the Roku. 3 of my TVs have freesat built in so I've just ran cables directly from the old sky dish to get 200+ FTA channels in addition to the online Roku stuff, suits us fine. :)

    Now that AppleTV looks to be getting Amazon Prime Video then it too is a contender on content but price-wise I can get 5x roku's (£29) for the price of 1x appleTV 4th gen (£149)!!
  • Reply 16 of 23
    I agree with both the "monopolistic" and "net neutrality" angles brought up in these comments.  Both Amazon and Google have significant market power in certain domains and both are flexing their muscle to influence their success in another market (e.g., Amazon's retail power to help their hardware business; Google's YouTube platform to help extend their ecosystem).  Neither has a monopoly, but each are the overwhelmingly dominant force in one or more market.  To be clear, there is nothing wrong with having a great product or service and achieving market dominance as a result.  What's illegal in an anti-trust sense is using market power in one area to build a monopoly in another market.  I don't think these recent actions are illegal, but they are indicative of the types of actions that anti-trust laws are designed to police.

    As for "net neutrality" the term has (unfortunately, in my opinion) come to refer to strictly the acts of the telecom providers, but it's closely related to the concept of the "open internet."  Companies like Google restricting access to otherwise available-to-everyone websites (e.g., YouTube) to certain devices/browsers for strictly business reasons is a step away from the open internet.  Yes, YouTube is a Google property and they can make it available or unavailable as they choose, but the internet where companies are actively making such choices is a very different internet than we enjoy today.  Imagine if Google were a major player in the smartphone market before the first iPhone.  Google could have (significantly?) slowed the rise of the iPhone by blocking iPhones from YouTube, Gmail, etc.

    So yeah, Amazon and Google both deserve scrutiny and criticism for their recent actions.  Sure, Amazon started it, but two wrongs don't make a right, and could set a dangerous precedent.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    I agree with both the "monopolistic" and "net neutrality" angles brought up in these comments.  Both Amazon and Google have significant market power in certain domains and both are flexing their muscle to influence their success in another market (e.g., Amazon's retail power to help their hardware business; Google's YouTube platform to help extend their ecosystem).  Neither has a monopoly, but each are the overwhelmingly dominant force in one or more market.  To be clear, there is nothing wrong with having a great product or service and achieving market dominance as a result.  What's illegal in an anti-trust sense is using market power in one area to build a monopoly in another market.  I don't think these recent actions are illegal, but they are indicative of the types of actions that anti-trust laws are designed to police.

    As for "net neutrality" the term has (unfortunately, in my opinion) come to refer to strictly the acts of the telecom providers, but it's closely related to the concept of the "open internet."  Companies like Google restricting access to otherwise available-to-everyone websites (e.g., YouTube) to certain devices/browsers for strictly business reasons is a step away from the open internet.  Yes, YouTube is a Google property and they can make it available or unavailable as they choose, but the internet where companies are actively making such choices is a very different internet than we enjoy today.  Imagine if Google were a major player in the smartphone market before the first iPhone.  Google could have (significantly?) slowed the rise of the iPhone by blocking iPhones from YouTube, Gmail, etc.

    So yeah, Amazon and Google both deserve scrutiny and criticism for their recent actions.  Sure, Amazon started it, but two wrongs don't make a right, and could set a dangerous precedent.
    There’s no antitrust issue here. Neither YouTube nor Amazon have monopolies.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    nhtnht Posts: 4,214member

    Yes, YouTube is a Google property and they can make it available or unavailable as they choose, but the internet where companies are actively making such choices is a very different internet than we enjoy today.  Imagine if Google were a major player in the smartphone market before the first iPhone.  Google could have (significantly?) slowed the rise of the iPhone by blocking iPhones from YouTube, Gmail, etc.
    Given that most of the media at the time the iPhone was released was via Flash I'm thinking nope.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    It’s interesting  to me that google is using YouTube for leverage.
    I think that is its one valuable product to threaten Amazon with. 

    I have often wished Apple had bought them instead or launched a competing service. 




    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 23
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,420member

    As for "net neutrality" the term has (unfortunately, in my opinion) come to refer to strictly the acts of the telecom providers, but it's closely related to the concept of the "open internet."  Companies like Google restricting access to otherwise available-to-everyone websites (e.g., YouTube) to certain devices/browsers for strictly business reasons is a step away from the open internet.  Yes, YouTube is a Google property and they can make it available or unavailable as they choose, but the internet where companies are actively making such choices is a very different internet than we enjoy today.  Imagine if Google were a major player in the smartphone market before the first iPhone.  Google could have (significantly?) slowed the rise of the iPhone by blocking iPhones from YouTube, Gmail, etc.

    Net Neutrality rules are about telecom providers/carriers.  It used as it’s authority Title II of the Telecommunicaitons Act of the 1930s and a follow-on Act in the 1990s.  It never did apply to non-carrier/non-ISPs.  I think this is a big reason why companies like Google supported it - it didn’t apply to them. What is unfortunate is people think it means things I’d doesn’t; think it has enforcement where it doesn’t.  Google, Facebook, Twitter, TheNextGuy is able to charge, throttle, shape and close off access and content based on any criteria they can derive from the IP packet and payload that arrives with the request.  They can even charge a premium for fast lanes.  They can give fast lanes away for a while to kill up-and-comers and the charge them once those up-and-comers are gone or gobbled up.

    In 2007 when the iPhone was released there were many carriers approached by Apple.  AT&T was not the first approached but the one who took the chance with Apple.  Other carriers didn’t want to release control over content and provide an open Internet experience. Same with other phone and software manufactures trying to drive innovation in the absence of open standards.  In competitive markets, it just takes one player to disrupt and we can all witness the results.  All US carriers moving to LTE and contributing to standards evolution and were ever closer phone that moves between carriers at the will of the client.  Hell, my AppleWatch is an example.  It’s SIMless and works on (is it?) four major carriers.
    edited December 2017
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