Amazon is stretching its "customer obsessed" mandate to the very limit with a decision to stop selling Apple TV and Google's Chromecast and Nexus Player, rival streaming boxes to its own Fire TV devices.
The company's online sellers have been instructed that no new listings for the products will be allowed, and existing inventory will be removed from Amazon's ubiquitous online store on October 29. The reason? Compatibility with Prime Video, the Netflix-like streaming service Amazon offers to its $99-a-year Prime subscribers.
"Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime," the company said in a statement released to Bloomberg. "It's important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion. Roku, Xbox, PlayStation and Fire TV are excellent choices."
Speaking to Bloomberg, Michael Pachter was critical of Amazon's decision, and particularly the "especially weak" official explanation. "I think that the excuse of avoiding customer confusion is a not-so-veiled attempt to favor Amazon first-party products over third-party products, and think it was a bad move," he said.
While not specifically gaming devices, the increasing sophistication of streaming hardware and the sheer scale of Google and Apple gives Apple TV and Chromecast huge potential as gaming platforms. Indeed, both devices received new iterations in just the last few weeks that only support the idea.