Google spat with Amazon heats up

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An Amazon spokeswoman said, " 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".

That's not an unreasonable position to take, as the company surely wants more control over the YouTube experience on Amazon's products, but unfortunately the only people getting hurt in this feud are customers.

YouTube was first removed from the Echo Show back in September, which Amazon sought to resolve by directing users hoping to use the site to its web version, rather than app. Google has now pulled the plug on the sneaky workaround, and will be removing YouTube from Fire TV from 1 January 2018.

At issue is a perceived lack of "reciprocity" with Amazon failing to offer equal access to Google's products and services, prompting the dramatic rebuke. 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.

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Meanwhile, Amazon had previously stopped selling many of Google's hardware products on its e-commerce platform and since 2015 Amazon has refused to sell Google's Chromecast video and audio-streaming dongles.

Google said this "lack of reciprocity" was the reason it had stopped YouTube support to some Amazon devices. For example, Amazon does not sell Apple TV in its store, nor does it plan to sell Apple HomePod, Apple's smart speaker competitor to Amazon Echo. Despite this, Amazon managed to reinstate YouTube on the Echo Show in November, according to Voicebot.

Google and Amazon have been embroiled in a tit for tat dispute for quite some time now, with each company taking pot shots at the other's source of revenue. Google had said that Amazon's implementation of YouTube blocked what Google considered critical features.

"We don't think Google will go out of its way to patch things up with Amazon as having YouTube absent from Amazon devices could disincentivise users from going with Echo products giving Google Home a badly needed boost", he said.