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Amazon Will Resume Selling Apple TV, Google's Chromecast (axios.com) 55

Ina Fried, reporting for Axios: Amazon confirmed Thursday that it will again sell the Apple TV set-top box and Google Chromecast dongle. The company had stopped selling the devices amid disputes with both giants. There's a lot of frenemy stuff at play here, with Google, Apple and Amazon all selling their own streaming devices, but also looking to offer their own services on one another's devices. Apple doesn't offer its programing on rival devices, but does move a lot of hardware through Amazon.
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Amazon Will Resume Selling Apple TV, Google's Chromecast

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  • Amazon confirmed Thursday that it will again sell the Apple TV set-top box and Google Chromecast dongle.

    This rarely happens. Amazon execs must have felt an uncomfortable lump in their throat before electing to cut their losses.

    Way to go Google...

    • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @04:50PM (#55741461) Journal
      60% of Amazon orders are filled by thirdparties, Amazon is just a storefront. All of them are offering identical products in Walmart, Home Depot and Best Buy storefronts. Already there are people making money in arbitrage, and the indications are that Amazon is more expensive than these competing store fronts. Google can scrape the site and show the product offered in all these sites.

      Vendors too do not want to let Amazon grow too big for them to handle, and they don't want to depend too much on Amazon. Walmart is prohibiting its vendors from using Amazon cloud services for their inventory management and such stuff. It claims, fairly or unfairly, Amazon snoops on the cloud data.

      Amazon is quite vulnerable, and at some point it might spin off the profit making Cloud services and detach it from the low margin retail sales.

      • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @05:00PM (#55741581)

        Retail (until you get into the absurdly high-end) is by it's nature low-margin - I don't think Amazon or its investors have a problem with that. They have been brilliant in not only growing vertically, but as you point out horizontally when the market is lucrative. I expect them to make a similar move in the logistics space eventually.

        Anyway, never expect Amazon to have sharply different prices than the best brick-and-mortar competition. But generally they are within a few percent, and it's all centrally located. It's a huge PITA to go to Target for a few things, and then Walmart for stuff that is lower-priced there. For dedicated coupon-clippers, this won't satisfy - but for a lot of shoppers it is sufficient to buy from Amazon unless the prices are way off. Chrome plugins that check your Amazon price against those elsewhere also cover your back...

        • by torkus ( 1133985 )

          There are plenty of examples where amazon is significantly higher cost than local retail. It's typically on low $ consumable items (cleaning supplies, etc.). I've seen plenty of listings with 50-250% premium over typical suburban retail (i.e. local w-mart). But that's what you pay to get 'free' shipping for toilet bowl cleaner :)

          • Agreed, but with the proper extensions you will see the lower prices and (presumably) not make the purchase. I tend to buy these things at Home Depot, since they have giant cheap cleaning-service-grade supplies. But unless you hit every item with a bar-code reader, there is no automatic browser extension to see if you are getting the right price at Home Depot :)

      • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@ p o etic.com> on Thursday December 14, 2017 @11:12PM (#55743503)

        "Google can scrape the site and show the product offered in all these sites. "

        This can be difficult. I don't know about others, but Costco products often have special UPC codes (identifiers). The same item from the mfgr has a different number which is also used by smaller retailers. If Amazon & Walmart do likewise with special codes, it will be harder to compare prices with a Google search. And that's the whole point, of course.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      This rarely happens. Amazon execs must have felt an uncomfortable lump in their throat before electing to cut their losses.

      No. The reason they are willing to sell AppleTV's again is because they have just recently released their Amazon Prime Video app for the AppleTV. So the device is a doorway for their content platform now.

      • Hey, at least this should allow the YouTube app to still work on my Amazon FireTV box going past the first of the year....

        I"m good with it...

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The YouTube App on the FireTV is a joke though, it literally just opens up youtube.com/tv - Roku and other devices have official YouTube Apps that look nicer and function better. What would be really nice is if Google decided to play nicely and create one, or just put their existing Android YouTube App in the Amazon App store (but there's your reason for not having an official one).

    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @05:08PM (#55741627)

      I know personally, that in the last week after the AppleTV client launch, I have used Prime Video more than I have since the launch of the service (years ago now).

      What happened was, Amazon saw the figures coming in from things like AppleTV clients and realized the simple truth that the way you get people to use your video service more, is to actually let people use it across many devices, not just the ones you sell. Now that the Prime Video client is on Chromecast and AppleTV, every one sold is potentially more prime subscribers for Amazon...

  • Perhaps they realized they will need to work with Google against the ISPs now that they have no guarantee of access to their customers.
  • This means Prime Video is coming to Chromecast.

    Part of their original justification for stop selling the Chromecast was that "it was confusing, because it doesn't work with our service" which was of course a purely their decision.

    I find it really annoying to whole tab/phone cast to watch Amazon.

  • Amazon probably got scared after I bought a chromecast from Walmart and they lost out on a few pennies commission.

    • Probably - but probably more then just one person. Sometimes big companies think themselves bigger and more influential then they actually are, and forget how fragile their market lead is. If you wanted a Chromecast you may had checked amazon first, and you couldn't find it. So you went to Walmart.com and you did. Now you know Walmart.com has this stuff, and you may have looked at other stuff available as well.

      If it was a case where Google took a hit in not selling chomecasts then Amazon would have more p

  • Hopefully now they'll stop artificially preventing their Amazon Video app *for Android* from working on non-Amazon Android devices. I've told them many times that I would not even consider becoming a Prime member until they fixed this nonsense and supported Android TV without any poorly-performing hacks.

    • Hopefully now they'll stop artificially preventing their Amazon

      Why attribute to malice something perfectly explained by incompetence?

      On the other hand, sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

    • It's worked on non-Amazon devices for a while. However, what they've done (this might have changed recently) is forced you to download it from the Amazon App Store, after downloading the official Amazon app via Amazon's website rather than via the Play Store.

      Yeah it's dumb, and no, the average Baby Boomer wouldn't be able to do it, but it's not restricted in the sense you think it is.

      • I can't get it to install on my android TV.
        I installed the amazon app store, but when I try to install the prime video app, it tells me my machine is incompatible. Very annoying, as prime video was one of the reasons I bought the machine in the first place.
  • But can I Cast Prime now?
  • A lot of people seem to be throwing shade at Amazon for not carrying their competitor's products, but weird, I don't remember seeing Kindles or Alexa's for sale on Google Play or Apple ever allowing Amazon to put a competitive Amazon app store on their devices. So really, who's being the shady one here again?
    • How on earth can you compare the Amazon Marketplace with the Google or Apple websites?

      Google and Apple sell only their own hardware on their own stores (perhaps will the odd authorised accessory).

      Amazon purport to sell anything via their Marketplace, except they had deliberately chosen to block Google and Apple products.

      • That's kind of my point. Apple & Google want to complain that their competitor doesn't want to carry some of their products but there's no reason, really, that they can't carry Amazon's stuff. Especially Google. They want to be exclusive on their sites, fine, don't cry if Amazon feels the same about their branded products too.
    • Amazon has had an Amazon Video app for iPhones and iPads for years.

      They could have easily worked with Apple years ago to put an an app* on the 3rd generation ATV that didn't have an App Store - there are over 40 of them available.

      The fourth generation ATV that did have an App Store has been around for two years.

      Heck to everyone's surprise, the Prime Video app was released to the 3rd generation ATV last week. I still have three and with Prime and Plex on it (through PlexConnect) I don't have any reason to up

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @06:37PM (#55742341)
    Maybe they listened to their own net neutrality arguments, and realized that (1) it was hypocritical to be arguing for net neutrality against the ISPs while simultaneously blocking competitors from their store. And (2) while a direct opportunity to help their own product sales existed by blocking competitors, there were indirect consequences in that the competitors could block theirs as well. Since it was a zero sum game, there was nothing to be gained by going down that route, and a lot of money to be lost inconveniencing customers just to arrive at the same final destination. (That is to say, progress comes from making your stuff better than others'. Throwing roadblocks in front of others to drag their products down may temporarily help your product get ahead, but it results in a long-term loss for all of society once everyone starts throwing up roadblocks.)

    In other news, tit for tat [wikipedia.org] leads the prisoner's dilemma to the optimal solution again.

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