Google vs Amazon Goes Nuclear: YouTube Yanked From Fire TV
If you log into the YouTube app on your Amazon Fire TV, you'll be in for a shock: A message will appear, stating that, as of January 1, YouTube will no longer be available on the device.
Update (4:45 pm ET):Amazon is also chagrined at Google's actions. "Echo Show and Fire TV now display a standard web view of YouTube.com and point customers directly to YouTube’s existing website," said an Amazon spokesperson. "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."
Google's video service is disappearing from Amazon's streaming sticks, as well as the Echo Show, due to a lack of reciprocity, according to a YouTube spokesperson quoted in a story on The Verge.
“We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other's products and services," said a Google spokesperson in a statement to us. "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.”
This situation appears similar to a dispute the two companies had earlier this year, when YouTube temporarily disappeared from the Amazon Echo Show; Google said that Amazon's YouTube app violated its terms of service, followed by Amazon pulling the app.
After a two-month hiatus, the service was returned in a modified form with new features, including user subscriptions, video recommendations, and the ability to control autoplay.
The battle to control the smart home has heated up in the past few months between Google and Amazon; both have released several new smart speakers (such as the Google Home Mini and the Echo Plus), with more expected this holiday season. Not surprisingly, the smart TV will be a major component, with Amazon Fire TV competing directly with Chromecast devices, as well as Android TVs.
While childish, removing YouTube from Fire TVs would be a major blow to Amazon's streaming platform. We'll update this story as we hear new developments.