The metaphorical shootout between Google and Amazon is getting heated up, and it appears consumers may become collateral damage. Recently, Google announced it would be removing YouTube from Amazon FireTV and Echo Show. When Fire and Echo owners went up in arms about the announcement, Google countered by saying the move was a way to get back at Amazon for that company’s refusal to sell certain Google products. Amazon makes similar products, and they don’t want to give their competition a forum to outsell them.
War Between Fire TV & Google
At the heart of the issue is the war between Fire TV and Google’s Chromecast streaming device, which offers essentially the same services as Fire TV, as well as the consumer battle between the Echo and Google’s Home smart speaker. In a statement released to the media, Google said:
“Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV…”
While, on one hand, that makes sense to Google, the announcement was not met with understanding and empathy by countless Echo Show or Fire TV owners that are accustomed to accessing YouTube from their devices. Sure, they may agree Google has a legitimate beef, but that logic pales in comparison to the aggravation due to the sudden loss of YouTube. The scenario underscores the changing marketplace in which consumers are facing both better technology and interesting changes in market choice. In many cases, manufacturers own both content rights and the equipment used to access that content. With every streaming service beginning to create its own content, the market is beginning to segment. Not everyone who has Amazon Prime is paying for premium YouTube. And, not everyone who gets Hulu will still buy Netflix.
Consumers Take the Hit
However, companies that create both hardware and content have an even more stark level of control on the market. A consumer may buy a product assuming their favorite streaming service or video content will be available, only to find out it’s been pulled for some reason. That’s exactly what’s happened here, and consumers are not quite ready to accept that as the new normal. They’re frustrated, and they’re looking for someone to blame. Once again, while Google can make a case that this action was necessary to protect their market position, you can bet consumers don’t care. It’s similar to the frustration many consumers still feel about only being able to choose one line of soft drinks at any given restaurant: Coke or Pepsi, but hardly ever both.
Now, consumers are being asked to be okay with having Amazon but not YouTube, or YouTube without access to Amazon products. It’s a frustration the brands feel they’re entitled to push off on the consumer market, but it may end by blowing up in their faces.