If you want to pick up Google's just-updated Chromecast or the new Apple TV that's set to arrive later this month, you're going to have to look beyond Amazon's virtual shelves. The online retailing giant has told its marketplace sellers that its going to stop selling the popular streaming devices from its rivals.
The reason apparently has less to do with Amazon's own streaming product, the Fire TV, which is also coming out with a new version this month, and is more about the streaming service available through Amazon Prime. According to Bloomberg, Amazon told its sellers that it's no longer offering Chromecast or Apple TV because those devices "don't interact well" with Prime Video, Amazon's streaming feature available to subscribers of its $99-a-year Amazon Prime program.
"Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime," Amazon said in a statement to Variety. "It's important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion. Roku, XBOX, PlayStation and Fire TV are excellent choices."
Any existing Chromecast and Apple TV listings will be purged from Amazon's online store by Oct. 29. Reaction to the news ranged from surprise over Amazon's rationale for the ban to stinging criticism, with a Wired headline calling the move "Gross" and Slate citing Amazon's power play as reason why people "might worry about its dominance in the online shopping world."
The largely negative reaction may be because Amazon's initial explanation seems puzzling. Apps are at the heart of both the Chromecast and Apple TV experiences, with Google and Apple both making developer kits available. What's more, Amazon already makes video-streaming apps that run on other devices made by Apple and Google — the Amazon Video App for iOS, for example.
Amazon's decision to boot out Chromecast and Apple TV from its store -- even as older versions of those devices remain among the top-selling electronics on its site -- emphasizes the importance of Amazon Prime to the company. Prime may make up fewer than 20 percent of Amazon's customers, as Bloomberg reports, but the company has stepped up production of original programming for its streaming video service while also launching promotions like this summer's ill-received Amazon Prime Day to push more customers to subscribe.
You still have plenty of retail options outside of Amazon if you're looking to pick up either the new Chromecast or Apple TV. Google has its own online store for selling its own hardware like the $35 Chromecast; the new version of the streaming stick will also be available through Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Apple, of course, has its own brick-and-mortar Apple Stores as well as an online store where you can order the $149 Apple TV.