Google-Amazon Feud Explodes With Decision To Pull YouTube From Devices

Back in September, Google blocked Amazon's Echo Show from displaying YouTube because of a mysterious violation of its terms of service.

On Tuesday, Google, which is owned by the conglomerate Alphabet Inc, announced it would block its video platform YouTube from being used as an app on two different Amazon devices. An in-app notification informs users that YouTube will disappear from Fire TV devices on January 1.

Google is hoping to pressure Amazon into selling Google's products by taking away access to the world's most widely watched video service.

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. Google also claimed that Amazon's Prime Video lineup of shows and movies isn't available via the Chromecast.

A person familiar with Google's thinking on the matter told Engadget that a big point of contention had been the fact that Amazon implemented what was essentially a hacked version of YouTube on both the Echo Show and Fire TV.

Both companies said they hope to resolve the issue quickly. Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website.

The stakes are high: many in the technology industry expect that interacting with computers by voice will become widespread, and it is unclear if Amazon, Google or another company will dominate the space.

It's a classic example of two companies fighting very publicly at the expense of the customer.

Now, with the feud with Google, Amazon is making its intentions known: the retail giant is making no bones about its future and plans that include a takeover of the consumer reatail space.

YouTube then returned to the Echo Show, but instead of being a fully fledged application, it was nothing more than the web version, which is optimized for a mouse and keyboard - not the Echo Show's voice-controlled interface.

Amazon has also made a decision to stop selling the Nest E Thermostat, Nest's Camera IQ, and the Nest Secure alarm system through its sites.

The latest standoff between Google and Amazon was ridiculed by a trade association of high-speed internet providers.

  • Joey Payne