In a bold strike against Amazon, Google earlier today pulled support for its YouTube app from both the Amazon Echo Show and the Fire TV. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because we previously went down a similar road this past September. Back then, Google explained that the Echo Show’s implementation of YouTube lacked integral features and created a broken experience for users. YouTube ultimately returned to the Echo Show in late November, though sources familiar with the matter tell TechCrunch that Amazon at the time implemented a workaround that wasn’t authorized by Google.
So now we’re back to square one, with Echo Show users left unable to access any YouTube content. Fire TV users, meanwhile, will lose access on January 1. In a statement on the matter, Google accused Amazon of refusing to sell certain Google branded products.
“We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other’s products and services,” Google said. “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. 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 and Amazon, of course, have an interesting relationship insofar that the Google products referenced above compete directly with offerings from Amazon. And Amazon, as you may know, tends to avoid stocking products from rival companies whenever it can. The Apple TV, as a prime example, is not available via Amazon.
The inability to access YouTube from an otherwise capable streaming device is undoubtedly a huge drawback for Echo Show and Fire TV owners. All things being equal, it stands to reason that the move will hurt Amazon a lot more than it will hurt Google. Now we’ll just have to sit back and wait and see who blinks first.
Update – Amazon has reached out and provided us with the following statement: “Echo Show and Fire TV now display a standard web view of YouTube.com and point customers directly to YouTube’s existing website. Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website. We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible.”