Amazon to ban sale of Apple, Google streaming boxes

"It's important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion"

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.

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Latest comments (6)

Keldon Alleyne Strategic keyboard basher, Avasopht Ltd2 years ago
Studies showing high levels of customer confusion please? otherwise I welcome the competition commission to intervene.
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Istvan Fabian Principal Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe2 years ago
Hmmm... one might be tempted to think that the real reason is the new FireTV release in 3 days.
Must be a coincidence :)
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises2 years ago
Seems fair to me, if Apple can ban other company's online stores from their iDevices, then those other companies should be allowed to ban Apple's iDevices from their physical stores.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic keyboard basher, Avasopht Ltd2 years ago
@Barrie: Apple / Google TV aren't dominant for a start and I don't think Amazon Video is even an open format to support anyway. Secondly Amazon is a store front presented as being open to suppliers, not an Amazon line.

@Craig: Allowing other App Stores means Apple will not make money from the apps. For that reason it's not comparable to not being able to sell iDevices and Google Video. These devices compete with Amazon Video only, so the context here is completely different.

It is everyone's right to do what they want, of course and Apple have set the precedent. Maybe the Amazon store isn't as influential as I think it is, which is the reason for me welcoming the Competition Commission.

It's like when Sky purchased ITV, not to create a great service, but to prevent their rivals from creating a great service for consumers. Puts a bad taste in my mouth when things like this happen. And really and truly, I guess Google and Apple have a strong enough presence anyway, so maybe I've made a bigger deal of it than it is.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 3rd October 2015 10:40am

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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments2 years ago
@Barrie "Apple/Google for not supporting Amazon Video but supporting their own services?"

Don't know about Apple, but the chromecast supports netflix, bbc iplayer, various others - it comes down to the provider offering chromecast support. Amazon apparently choose not to provide this support, although I think they do support the google TV.
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Dan Wood Visual Effects Artist 2 years ago
There's really nothing stopping them limiting what's sold through their own website, but really, what sort of reaction do they expect when they trot out something as mind-numbingly stupid as " avoid customer confusion"?
I mean, sure, gloss over the fact that you're attempting to strong-arm competition out of the market if you feel you have to, but telling everyone a barefaced lie and so implying people are stupid enough to believe it is a surefire way to aggravate people.

Rubs me up the same wrong-way as Apple's "You must use iTunes to sync the device - it confuses customers if we let them copy files directly". Either say "We want to force people to use our product, so we can gradually build a captive audience", or shut up and don't say anything.
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