Google Pulls YouTube from Amazon Echo

Posted on September 27, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Hardware, Mobile, Music + Videos with 50 Comments

Amazon issued a cranky statement this week, objecting to Google’s decision to pull YouTube from its Echo Show smart appliance. But Google says it was no surprise to Amazon, which had been violating its terms of service.

And yes, those with bitter memories of the YouTube saga on Windows phone should see some similarities here. What this is clearly about is Google hampering a competitor. Which, you know, is technically both fair and legal.

“As of this afternoon, Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers,” an Amazon statement explains. “There is no technical reason for that decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers.”

Well, Amazon is right on two counts here: Google didn’t notify customers, and there are no technical reasons why YouTube videos can’t play on the Echo Show.

But Amazon is also conveniently leaving out the real reasons that this happened. That Google had warned Amazon about them violating its terms of service. And that it was Amazon, not Google, that never warned customers.

“We’ve been in negotiations with Amazon for a long time, working towards an agreement that provides great experiences for customers on both platforms,” a Google statement retorts. “Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience. We hope to be able to reach an agreement and resolve these issues soon.”

Frankly, I believe this is the first step towards the abyss for the Echo platform, which has become too popular too fast for the companies—Google, Microsoft, and Apple—that, by all rights, should be the market leaders here. Amazon can complain all it wants, but limiting a competitor’s access to a popular service actually makes sense. So I’m curious to see if there is a resolution. And whether YouTube does return to the Echo Show.

After all, we all know what happened with Windows phone.


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