The prolonged, often anti-consumer war between Amazon and Google has a new chapter.
A report from Business Insider states that late last year, the retail giant reached out to Google smart home subsidiary Nest to let it know that Amazon wouldn't sell any of its newest products, including Nest Cam IQ and a new smart thermostat.
The report says that Amazon representatives told Nest that the decision "came from the top," which implies this goes all the way up to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, though no report has concluded that with any certainty. BI writes that it had nothing to do with Nest's user ratings or popularity, which were stellar. In response, Nest opted to cease selling its older wares through Amazon, which should disappear once stock runs out (as of this writing, several Nest products are still listed, though several of them have warnings of low stock).
"It’s definitely not pro-consumer, but companies favoring their own ecosystems or distribution channels rarely have the consumer’s best interests in mind," said Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices at GlobalData. "It is, however, understandable from a strategic perspective. Amazon and Google are both trying to build a solution set around AI and the digital home, and the more a consumer is locked into one ecosystem, the less likely they are to be as deeply engaged with the other." He pointed out that Barnes & Noble, for instance, doesn't sell Amazon's Kindles, and Apple is also very selective of which third-party brands it puts on shelves in its own stores.
This is just the latest development in a battle between two tech titans that leaves consumers left in the crossfire. You can't buy a number of Google products on Amazon, including Google Home, which competes with Amazon's own Echo products, and the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. And while the online store said it would start healing the rift late last year by stocking Google's Chromecast, it's still not available (that competes with Amazon's Fire TV).
Google has its own issues here. It pulled YouTube from Amazon's Echo Show and Echo Spot citing issues with how the company utilized the app on those devices, leaving users without the most popular video service on the web.
Just last week, Amazon announced it is buying Ring, a company that makes an extremely successful video doorbell, for roughly $1 billion. That's likely a place where Amazon will compete with Google's Nest. Nest spent a few years spun out from Google under its parent company Alphabet, but was recently brought back into the Google fold.
In the meantime, users will have to carefully select where they buy their products and what services they support, because either could change at any moment as massive tech companies and e-tailers pull the strings.