Google blocks YouTube on Amazon devices in escalating feud


Google is pulling its popular YouTube video service from Amazon’s Fire TV and Echo Show devices in an escalating feud that has caught consumers in the crossfire.

The decision to block YouTube is retaliation for Amazon’s refusal to sell some Google products that compete with Amazon gadgets. That includes Google’s Chromecast streaming device, an alternative to Fire TV, and an internet-connected speaker called Home, which is trying to catch up to Amazon’s market-leading Echo. Amazon’s high-end Echo Show has a screen that can display video.

“Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV,” Google said in a Tuesday statement.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two tech heavyweights do battle

The battle highlights the power that the world’s major technology companies are gaining as they dominate important corners of commerce and communications. As the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon has tremendous sway over what people buy, while the results delivered by Google’s ubiquitous search engine often help determine what people do on and off the web.

Google is hoping to pressure Amazon into selling Google’s products by taking away access to the world’s most widely watched video service. Unless a truce is reached, YouTube will stop working on Fire TV on Jan. 1. YouTube was supposed to disappear from the Echo Show Tuesday, although Amazon has previously found ways to make unauthorized versions of YouTube available on that device.

RELATED: Should you sign up for YouTube TV?

The dispute between Amazon and Google mirrors the face-offs that occasionally crop up between pay-TV providers and TV networks when it comes time to re-negotiate their deals.

But in this instance, the two tech heavyweights aren’t fighting over licensing fees. Instead, they are jockeying to position their gadgets and, by extension, their digital services into homes as internet-connected appliances and devices become more deeply ingrained in people’s lives.

The bickering between Google and Amazon has been going on several years as they have ratcheted up the competition with each other. One of the first signs that the companies were at odds came when Amazon redesigned Google’s Android mobile software for its Kindle tablets. Two years ago, Amazon ousted Chromecast from its store, even though that device had previously been its top-selling electronics gadget.

The latest standoff between Google and Amazon was ridiculed by a trade association of high-speed internet providers. The group, USTelecom, has been trying to persuade skeptics that internet providers will preserve equal access to all digital services, even if the Federal Communications Commission adopts a proposal to rescind current “net neutrality” regulations .

Internet providers are committed to “protections like no content blocking or throttling,” said USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter. “Seems like some of the biggest internet companies can’t say the same. Ironic, isn’t it?”

Besides withholding Chromecast and the Home speaker from its store, Amazon has also rankled Google by declining to sell an internet-connected thermostat made by Nest, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc. Amazon also doesn’t allow its Prime video streaming service on Chromecast, an omission that Google wants to change.

Amazon also doesn’t sell Apple’s video streaming player. But that could change if Amazon’s video streaming service starts working on Apple TV, something Apple has said would happen by the end of this year. But that announcement was made in June and Prime video still isn’t available on Apple TV.

Roku’s market-leading streaming players are sold through Amazon. Roku’s players feature channels for watching both Prime video and YouTube.



Next Up in Business

Need a job? More than 160 employers will be at UD Arena
Need a job? More than 160 employers will be at UD Arena

More 1,000 people and over 160 employers will be at the 2018 Spring Job Fair Wednesday, April 25 at the University of Dayton Arena. Government agencies and private sector companies spanning construction, engineering, education, health care, information technology, manufacturing, professional services and transportation will be on hand, according to...
Opening date announced for Macy’s outlet store in Dayton
Opening date announced for Macy’s outlet store in Dayton

Macy’s will open an outlet store at the Dayton Mall in June. The department store will open its first Dayton-area Backstage outlet store at the Dayton Mall on June 6. The new outlet store will have approximately 12,900 square feet of dedicated retail space and will live on the second level inside the full-line Macy’s. The grand opening...
Did you buy this product? Vegetable sold in Ohio ALDI stores recalled
Did you buy this product? Vegetable sold in Ohio ALDI stores recalled

A vegetable item sold in Ohio ALDI stores has been recalled. McCall Farms Inc. is voluntarily recalling a limited amount of cases of Happy Harvest Spinach in 13.5 ounce cans as a precautionary measure due to the potential presence of peanuts resulting from product mislabeling, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced. The product was available...
Sears CEO offers tentative deal to buy Kenmore, real estate assets
Sears CEO offers tentative deal to buy Kenmore, real estate assets

Sears shares are jumping after CEO Eddie Lampert offered to buy one of its units through his hedge fund, ESL Investments. In a letter to the company’s board of directors, Lampert said he would buy the unit through his hedge fund. The letter notes that Kenmore, SHIP and PartsDirect have substantial value and that divesting one or more of...
With Elder-Beerman closings, can local malls survive?
With Elder-Beerman closings, can local malls survive?

The closure of six area Elder-Beerman locations in the next few months could spell trouble for area malls who have relied on customer traffic and high-price leases from the longtime department store. Bon Ton Stores Inc., the parent company of Elder-Beerman, announced last week it was going out of business after it could not attract a buyer during its...
More Stories