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Google Is Pulling YouTube Off the Fire TV and Echo Show as Feud With Amazon Grows (theverge.com) 238

An anonymous reader shares a report: Three months ago, YouTube pulled its programming from Amazon's Echo Show device -- the first skirmish in what is apparently an ongoing war. Shortly after, Amazon stopped selling the Nest E Thermostat, Nest's Camera IQ, and the Nest Secure alarm system. Two weeks ago, Amazon got YouTube back on the Echo Show by simply directing users to the web version, a workaround that left a lot to be desired. But even that version won't be available after today. In a statement, Google said it has been trying to reach an agreement with Amazon to provide customers with access to each other's products and services. But, Google said, 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 FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon."

Google Is Pulling YouTube Off the Fire TV and Echo Show as Feud With Amazon Grows

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  • And as usual (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jordanjay29 ( 1298951 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @03:17PM (#55682553)
    the only people really hurt are the consumers caught in the middle.
    • Re:And as usual (Score:4, Informative)

      by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @03:25PM (#55682635) Homepage

      I agree, though in this instance it does look like Amazon started it.

      There's no good reason for Amazon not to sell things like Chromecasts or Google Home devices other than they don't want to concede any market-share to Google. To then want Google services on their own devices is a bit rich.

      The consumer wins when there's competition. A marketplace for smart devices that doesn't end up with 95% being Echos, or 95% being homes is one that will spur innovation. It's also one that will give greater incentive for security and privacy. If/when there's a hugely dominant vendor, all incentives to improve are gone and all we're left with is how to monetize the users.

      • It appears that Google and Amazon haven't learned to compartmentalize their businesses yet.
        Just look at Apple and Samsung for example. Apple is Samsung #1 competitor and one of their major customers at the same time. Because their Smart Phone Market is in competition, but Apple buys their components.

        Amazon and Google can Complete against each other while at the same time sell each others services and work with them.

      • I don't know if Amazon started it but the war started much earlier than the recent spat. The Amazon Prime Video app works fine on any Android device that ISN'T Android TV. The app refuses to run on Android TV even if you sideload it. Most apps that aren't available for the TV are because they aren't formatted for the screen size and will still load just fine. They'll just have a different resolution than the native TV. Amazon refuses to address support requests on these devices. The app also does not includ
      • by Kaenneth ( 82978 )

        It sounds like Amazon is abusing their dominant market position in one market to lock out competitors in another.

        Blocking Youtube is the nice way, complaints to EU/US government would cost Amazon a LOT more.

      • THIS!! Amazon started this spat by dropping Chromecast devices from their store and refusing to support Chromecast in their App and making it difficult to get Amazon Prime Video on android devices. I had to install Amazon's app store in order to install Amazon Prime video. In order to watch Amazon Prime Video on my chromecast i have to mirror the screen of my device to the Chromecast. Obviously not the ideal solution but works well. Fuck Amazon...because of their hostility towards Chromecast I have st
    • I dunno, there might be some entertainment value.

      Fight! Fight! Fight!

      • They're not going far enough with the Amazon Echo/Google Home/Apple HomePod.

        I keep reading about the advances in autonomous weapons platforms, and how the world's going to be over-run by swarms of 'killer robots', yet even with the resources of Google and Amazon, their idea of a turf war is 'directing users to the web version'.

        Man-up guys, I want to see the home entertainment system equivalent of Robot Wars, right in my front room. Partner with DARPA, weaponize those babys up, give them some tank-trac
    • Sure, but Amazon is bullshit. Get on that website, search for a Google Home, and they offer to sell you an Alexa.

      • Nice!, just looked and the only google home stuff is a book, some mounts, and a Google WiFi range extender.

    • FireTV has a web browser now - Silk. No, it's not a great browser, but it's good enough to view anything on youtube. Combine FireTV with a Bluetooth keyboard and you're in business. You don't need the youtube app at all. I wonder if Google even knows this.

      I use a Bluetooth keyboard/trackpad called the iPazzPort and it works great -- full qwerty keyboard, pretty good range, and all the buttons you'd ever want to play with.
    • You mean the people that can't figure out how to pirate?

    • No consumers aren't harmed, because they'll just pick an ecosystem and that ecosystem is Google since Google's services are more important than Amazon's services.

      That's what Google did to Windows Phone. They blocked YouTube, Gmail and Google Maps so people who were otherwise interested in Windows Phone just switched back to Android.

      Amazon loses in this instance. Very few people care about prime video. Nearly everybody cares about YouTube. The consumers are fine because they won't buy an Echo Show, they'

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Cough, cough but if you are getting hurt being caught in the middle, simply step to one side and let the morons go at it, who cares. Amazon want to be dicks, simply stop using them. Google want to be control freaks than https://duckduckgo.com/?q=amaz... [duckduckgo.com] or https://duckduckgo.com/?q=ebay... [duckduckgo.com].

      The only sound consumer response, what to control freak dicks, fine, fuck off and use some one else. Sure maybe takes a little getting used to swapping to say https://duckduckgo.com/?q=duck... [duckduckgo.com] but it works well enough an

  • .. between not supporting and actively blocking. If Google intentionally changed their code specifically to block Amazon's hardware, that is not okay.

    • Remember that this began with Amazon banning the sale of hardware devices that competed with its own products, including Apple TV.

      • They still sell Roku, though. Kind of bewildering that Roku makes the cut and not AppleTV or Chromecast.
        • Until recently Roku didn't sell content, it was 100% neutral. Even now, the only content it "sells" it does in ad-subsidized form. So from Amazon's point of view, it's no more a competitor than Dell, a seller of computers that can run web browsers, is.
      • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

        Remember that this began with Amazon banning the sale of hardware devices that competed with its own products, including Apple TV.

        Too bad YouTube is a separate entity (YouTube LLC) that does not sell hardware products. It's almost as if this is an antitrust violating "contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States," rather than independent decision of one organization to boycott another...

    • .. between not supporting and actively blocking. If Google intentionally changed their code specifically to block Amazon's hardware, that is not okay.

      They seemingly did it to Microsoft without people raising a stink.

    • you mean like Amazon intentionally blocking their Prime TV app on all android TV/Cast devices but no other Android devices?

      Can't install, can't sideload, nothing.

  • Anti-consumer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @03:26PM (#55682643)
    Anti-consumer, anti-choice cr@p like this is why repurposing an old PC (or just using an Intel NUC) as an HTPC is better than any proprietary junk from Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Amazon. They're all interested in controlling their users instead of providing good, flexible software -- ta hell with all four of 'em.
    • There's always the Plex app for those who have already bought into a FireTV or Chromecast.
      • by atrex ( 4811433 )
        I like the NVidia Shield personally, it may have a TV skin to it but under the hood it's still Android and you can sideload pretty much anything you want onto it if it isn't already available in the play store. Built-in google cast support too (aka it works as a Chromecast). Built-in Plex too (without any need to be subscribed to PlexPass). Or you can install Kodi if you prefer. Only device I've found that allows digital audio passthru of DTS tracks (Chromecast will only do passthru of AC3 iirc).
    • Given the cost of a low-end Intel Compute Stick, I don't see why anyone buys these locked-down ad-laden closed-ecosystem sticks other than lack of sufficient knowledge to set one up with Plex or Kodi.
    • Amazon's blocking Google's adverts. If you successful do that on your HTPC google will take what steps they can to prevent you from getting the content they host. They're less successful with HTPCs because it's harder to do but they'll still try (actually, they'll try to get around your ad blocker, which they probably can't do with Amazon's box).
      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        f you successful do that on your HTPC google will take what steps they can to prevent you from getting the content they host.

        YouTube has ads?

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      Came here to say this. I just use an old laptop: Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube all work. However, Netflix is on my shit list because they won't stream 4K to the browser, only to the stupid proprietary boxes. Anyone have a work-around?

  • Amazon took Twitch off of Roku, Everyone wants their own exclusive outlet.

    Ajit must be thrilled.

    • I can see it now...

      "Welcome to Amazon Video for Chromecast! You can now start watching all your favorite Amazon shows, ad free, with your low subscription price of $9.99/month*.

      Want even more value? Add a subscription to Amazon for iPhone or Roku! We offer attractive multi-device discounts - the more devices, the greater the savings! You can watch Amazon Video on three different platforms for the low, low price of $25.99/month. Four devices is only $31.99 monthly!

      Thank you for being an Amazon Video customer

  • We can always sideload, but for regular consumers, this means less Amazon Fire TV sales, less reasons to get an Echo Show, and more complaints thrown at both companies.
    I... just don't care. Saw this shit coming ages ago with Google's problems with making Windows Mobile apps. I also noticed inherent limitations of casting dongles and just decided to pull a cable from the desktop directly to the living room TV.
    As for Echo Show... heh, that's something I'll never buy, so.

    • by Vektuz ( 886618 )
      Youtube cannot be sideloaded to Fire TVs because they don't include the giant bulk of google's "play store" and "Google services" which for some reason, youtube demands also be installed. KODI does work though.
  • These gardens wont segregate themselves.

  • A service I can see freely on any PC and nearly any device is now being blocked on certain devices from a certain company. So much for an open internet, we're moving to vertical stack monopolies and soon into internet isolationism.

  • and yet the actions of Google and Amazon are just as bad.
  • I'll just say my two cents here. I'm not sure how many people are like me here but YouTube doesn't really appeal to me much anymore. I just don't see it having "good" content. Maybe CGP Grey and Kurzgesagt but that's about the end of it. Even then those two aren't regular publishers and leaving them alone for a year and then coming back, I can watch everything they've done in the in between in one sitting.

    There's not really much a point to trying to "discover" anything on YouTube, because the vast major

    • Nah, things like Colbert, Daily Show, Morning Show, etc, are all on YouTube if you can stand to watch with a little delay. I always start out the night with Youtube to catch up the days news and commentary, and the previous nights laughs. Then I might go looking for something interesting on Netflix. If there's nothing there, I then need decide whether I want to look for something on Amazon and stay in the living room thanks to the Roku, or check out Apples offerings on their little black box in my bedroom.

      I

    • For me, it's about music. We listen (not watch) to tons of music via YouTube through a Roku.

      And, having 7 year olds, we watch fucking cat videos. For the record we have two cats and they are pretty awesome.

      Shameless self promotion, here's a cool time lapse dash cam video I put together with a basic guitar bit I wrote, sunrise during a rural-to-urban drive:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      That's what I use it for. Also have the videos of a band practice from the early 90s out there, nostalgic. Shotgun ag

    • That depends on what you call good content. For me tutorials and build videos (the physical type, not compiling / linking) *are* good content and are widely available all day long on Youtube.
  • What we need is for new TVs to have twenty HDMI connectors on the set. That way you can put in a "stick" for every single content supplier since they are never going to get along.

    Right now, since Roku is not a content provider, merely content delivery, they manage to deliver pretty much any content you have a paid subscription for. For example, both YouTube and Amazon Prime. And HBO, Starz, Hulu, etc.

    Changing "channels" will be using the input selector to select which "stick" or "box" to use. Disg
  • Though not a net neutrality battle, this is similar and, sadly, allowed by regulations to proceed.

    Amazon is the overwhelming leader in the online retail market. They have chosen to become a provider of devices that they sell, thus competing with the retailers who use them to reach a large portion of the market. Google is the closest competitor to some of their devices, so they took advantage of their position and locked them out.

    How is this different in nature from what can happen when ISPs that are regional monopolies merge with content providers and there is no net neutrality regulation in place? Do we really think the ISPs' content providers won't be given a leg up on other content providers? How long before the first competitor is blocked by an ISP?

    At least when Amazon flexes muscle, we can go to Walmart or some other online retailer. In my area, we only have alleged competition to Spectrum.

  • The actual feud between Google and Amazon is Youtube vs Twitch (so Alphabet vs Amazon actually) and they're competiting to see who can mismanage their platform the worst, enforce the rules unevenly and make them up as they go, and generally piss off their users the most. Up until recently Twitch was winning by banning males more than females for lewd acts on live stream but Youtube pulled WAY ahead by ignoring reports going back to 2006 about underage fetish erotica disguised as kids content. Also the CEO S
    • Also the CEO Susan is the most under-qualified person to run a giant company in the entirety of the US, including non-english speakers, the mentally unstable, and non-human animals.

      Careful, no matter how accurate your comments are the SJWs will automatically lump you in the sexist category and harass you in the name of the greater good.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @05:17PM (#55683719)

    Begun, the Tube Wars have.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @05:24PM (#55683781)
    The problem is vertical integration - companies trying to use dominance at one level to leverage dominance in another level where they are weak.

    In the 1980s Microsoft had no presence in the productivity suite market (word processor, spreadsheet, etc). They used their dominance of the PC operating system market to steer the dominant companies (WordPerfect, Lotus) towards creating OS/2 versions in preparation for phasing out DOS, all the while assuring them that OS/2 was the future. Meanwhile they secretly worked their own productivity apps (Word and Excel) to run on what became Windows. Then suddenly they announced they were dissolving their relationship with IBM, pulling support from OS/2, and Windows was the future. WordPerfect and Lotus were caught flat-footed, but Microsoft said not to worry - you can buy our productivity apps which will work with Windows.

    Later they repeated this with Stacker (automatic file compression) and Internet Explorer, packaging those with Windows to drive the competition (Stacker and Netscape) out of business so they could dominate those markets.

    Today we're suffering from it with the data transport companies (Internet and cellular data service providers) (ab)using their position to influence other markets that they don't dominate (having to buy cell phone from branded or authorized stores to be sure it'll work with your carrier, holding up Android updates so they can "customize" it to their satisfaction, cable set-top boxes before the government mandated Cable Cards, Internet fast lanes, etc).

    In all cases, it's just companies trying to leverage their dominant position in one market to a dominant in another. This is more of the same. Amazon using its dominant position as online retailer to influence how you use the products you buy (whether they be FireTV or Chromecast). Google using its dominant position in user-created video content (YouTube) to as leverage to try to get Amazon to behave.

    The whole thing would be a lot simpler if companies were prohibited from certain types of vertical integration. If Microsoft had been split into an OS company and software company, both Windows and Office would've had to compete on their own merits. (In fact they refused to release Office apps for Android/iOS until it was clear that Windows Phone was a failure. Likewise if ISPs weren't allowed to sell or provide media services (and likewise Cable companies weren't allowed to provide Internet service - only sell access to other companies which provided Internet service), then none of this net neutrality/Internet fast lanes BS would be happening. And if Amazon were only allowed to act as an online store, their primary goal would be to support all hardware platforms without bias or prejudice and this problem would never be happening.
  • by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @05:37PM (#55683885) Journal

    All I want is a box to plug into my TV to watch my media. I don't want to have to worry about who I bought the media from.

    Currently, I have an Apple TV. I'm fine if my Music stays apple-only, but since Apple Music is available for Android, I feel like that's portable enough. Which leaves me with video.

    I do Netflix, Amazon, and Apple. I used to do Youtube on the Apple TV, and still can (last I checked) by running the app on my phone and streaming THAT to my Apple TV.

    There is no combination of devices that allows me to play all 3 vendors' material. Roku might be the closest.

    I think these giants are all dropping the ball here, and perhaps they oughtn't not be the ones selling the media. Why can't the studios sell media licenses directly, so that if I buy a WB or Miramax movie, I can play it on ANY device with a WB or Miramax player, which they could then develop for Roku, Apple, Amazon, Google, etc. I guess that's the Model HBO is taking actually. I'm just sick of these disputes, where Company X wants to make money from selling someone elses content, and therefor moves to cripple its competitor by NOT letting it play the same content (even though that content is available for it on another App), etc.

    It's just getting beyond frustrating, for us consumers.

    I'd say follow Apple's lead and make the money off your hardware, but given that Apple won't let Amazon onto the Apple TV unless they get their slice of in-app purchases, that's not the way either.

    These movie studios need to realize that consumers would be happy as hell to buy from them without the middle man, and wind up with media purchases that are portable across platforms. That seems like the only real solution.

    • I do Netflix, Amazon, and Apple. I used to do Youtube on the Apple TV, and still can (last I checked) by running the app on my phone and streaming THAT to my Apple TV.

      What? I have an Apple TV 3 and Apple TV 4. Youtube is a built-in app, you don't need to stream it from the phone. You do need to stream the Amazon Video from the iPhone to Apple TV until Amazon releases their app (which Amazon promised will be this year, hahahaha).

  • The irony of Google telling us we need net neutrality. Isn't this almost exactly what Google is saying internet providers should be forbidden from doing?

  • Honestly, we need a real YouTube competitor and an Amazon competitor. With these giants blocking out each other, it is perfect for other parties to grow as competition. The real problem will be when Google blocks smaller third party sites from YouTube because it has a deal with Amazon.
  • Amazon at one point entered the search engine business.....google started to cancel some of the ads that Amazon used to buy for paid search.

    Than Amazon wanted to create its own version of android and app store, but google told app developers they would be penalized if they uploaded their apps to both the Amazon appstore and Google's playstore. Now, every amazon tablet has to be hacked to run google play in order to have decent apps. Amazon's still pissed about that as it ruined a lot of their hardware pl

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