Amazon is to stop selling video-streaming TV devices from Google and Apple because they don’t “interact well” with its own media service.
The online retailer said it had made the decision to avoid “customer confusion” and the devices will be removed from sale by 29 October.
Amazon wants to sell products that work with its in-house streaming video service known as Prime Video.
Prime Video is not available on Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast.
But it can be watched via an app on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.
Amazon said along with its own Fire TV, it will continue to sell other companies’ devices that are compatible with Prime Video.
These include Microsoft’s Xbox, and Sony’s Playstation.
Amazon has rapidly expanded its online content, using it to attract subscribers to its Prime loyalty membership scheme which offers fast delivery on purchases.
Amazon’s move to ban competitors is not a retailing gambit. In fact, the company is willing to risk annoying customers who cannot get what they want because it is pursuing a much bigger prize. The stick is crucial to Amazon’s ambitions to move from being just a retailer to a multifaceted provider of everything virtual and physical.
“It’s unlike Amazon to be this territorial,” said James McQuivey, an analyst with the research firm Forrester. But he said it was a logical and perhaps inevitable move. Amazon Prime, which began as a frequent shipping service, now has tens of millions of subscribers. In the effort to build out its ecosystem, Prime’s video and music components are becoming as important as quick package delivery. Apple, Google and Amazon once made very different products. Apple made hardware like computers and smartphones, Google ran a Web search behemoth and Amazon was an online retailer. But the three companies’ business models are converging with a vengeance, with each offering a combination of hardware, like the competing video streaming devices, as well as software and entertainment like music and video.
“We’re seeing a turf war play out between Apple, Amazon and Google,” said Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies. Apple and Google declined to comment. Some analysts said there was one immediate loser here: customers. “It really just hurts the consumers and creates confusion at a time when all of these companies are trying to build up these products,” said Paul Verna, media analyst at eMarketer.
Source; BBC, Irish Times