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 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.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.

  • zbeast
    This is why I don't buy these crappy devices... build a HTPC....
    No blocks, no limits...
  • dougster123
    IT:S ABOUT TIME!!! I've been screaming for Google to stand up for itself and do this since Amazon started this crap! Canceled my Prime subscription because of Jeff's childishness. Originally they prevented streaming to tablets, still prevent casting AND refuse to bring their app to the Google Play Store. Google seems to be the only tech conglomerate that has any measure of integrity.
    Note to author - If one of your kids hits the other, you punish both?
  • pifpeople
    If it is "childish" of Google to remove their products from Amazon, then it should follow that Amazon is "childish" by not offering Google's products on their site... Yes?
  • ellett
    Thank goodness. It is way past time for Google to reciprocate Bezos' discriminatory and high handed policies.
    The right thing to do is to have fair competition, where both Google and Amazon offer their own and each other's products and services. Bezos started this over 2 years ago when he removed the Chromecast from the Amazon store, even though it was the best selling streaming device by a landslide and has continued excluding Google wherever there was an opportunity. Google, until now, has taken the high road even though it's cost them a ton of sales. Bezos has acted like a sh*t and now he's well-deservedly catching some. Hope you like the taste, Jeff.
  • shadfurman
    In the long term this will be good, push consumers to decentralized blockchain apps. These kinds of antics are why I don't buy digital content. Until it's DRM free, there's little way to be sure content won't be blocked retrospectively.

    I use Amazon primarily cause they're the least offender, but only by a small margin.
  • franki.hauptle
    Considering how much Amazon has benefitted from Google building Android on which most Amazon stuff is built as well as YouTube and search etc, and since Google happily has any Amazon apps in its store.. it seems silly that the author thinks Google should just roll over and let Amazon have their way with them. Amazon is used to getting it's way. About time they get shown how nice exclusionary tactics feel.
  • franki.hauptle
    I would add that the amazon comment about blocking an open site is untrue too. They actually say you get the standard web view when you visit the site so they are not blocking the open website.. they are blocking an app that selectively shows parts of the open website.
  • jacksmith21006
    This really took too long. Amazon started this anti-competitive behavior over 2 years ago and Google should have pushed back hard at the time. Google should have removed Amazon app from the Play store day 1 and we would not be where we are at today.

    Amazon has now also removed Twitch from the Roku after they purchased Twitch. Unless someone pushes back Amazon will continue with this anti-competitive BS and must be stopped.

    I am a huge Amazon customer and fan but this behavior is just wrong. If this does NOT work then Google needs to remove the Amazon app from play store and then remove Amazon properties from search and just keep escalating until Amazon changes their behavior.

    It is disapointing to see Amazon do this because they have won ecommerce and cloud and there is zero reason to behave like this.
  • raschettin
    Boycott Boycott Boycott
  • sanjeev.chopra1977