Well, well. It looks like Amazon is tightening the screws on its streaming services by refusing to carry Apple and Google streaming devices.
Let the games begin!
Amazon.com Inc. will stop selling media-streaming devices from Google Inc. and Apple Inc. that aren’t easily compatible with its video service, the latest example of the company using its clout to promote products that fit with its own retailing strategy.
The Seattle-based Web retailer sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t "interact well" with Prime Video. No new listings for the products will be allowed and posting of existing inventory will be removed Oct. 29, Amazon said. Prime Video doesn’t run easily on its rival’s hardware.
Roku Inc.’s set-top device, Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation, which work with Amazon’s video service, aren’t affected, it said. Amazon’s Fire TV stick, which plugs into an HDMI port to connect televisions with streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video, is the company’s best-selling electronic device.
The move, coming just before the year-end holiday shopping season, shows how Amazon is willing to sacrifice sales of popular brand name products -- Apple and Google have the best-selling media streaming devices generally -- to bolster its own video-streaming service. Amazon has invested heavily in online content, including producing its own exclusive shows such as the award-winning transgender comedy "Transparent", as a way to attract new Prime subscribers, who pay $99 a year for speedy shipping and access to video and other services.
Amazon’s decision to limit the sale of Google and Amazon streaming devices probably doesn’t rise to the level of an antitrust violation, because consumers will still have options for buying Apple and Google products at other places, according to Allen Grunes, a lawyer at Konkurrenz Group in Washington.
"Amazon probably wants to teach Apple and Google a lesson about not making their devices more compatible," Grunes said. "This is one way to do it and it’s not likely anticompetitive,"