The holidays is a time that should be of, we are told, peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. Well first that’s gendered, and second, a whole lot of tech companies are making it clear that there will be neither peace nor goodwill in the courtrooms and boardrooms of the world this year. There are spats between tech companies every year, but this year’s have been particularly spicy — and for some, the hot sauce is only getting poured on thicker!
Amazon vs Google
This one kind of sucks, because it has the most immediate negative impact on the rest of us. Amazon and Google have been quietly beefing all year, with a flareup in September making headlines. That was when Google pulled YouTube from the Echo Show (Amazon’s smart home speaker with a display), complaining that Amazon wasn’t including all of YouTube’s regular features (stuff that helps YouTube make money, like subscriptions and autoplay).
They got that problem worked out, but it’s clear that Amazon and Google are, um, not in a healthy relationship. Things really popped off this week, with Google saying that not only will YouTube videos not be available on the Echo Show, but that anyone using an Amazon Fire TV stick will no longer have access to the YouTube app after January 1.
So, what’s Google’s problem? Well, it takes two. Google’s complaint is that Amazon, seller of literally all things, does not sell Google’s Chromecast or Home speaker, which compete directly with Fire TV and the Echo speaker. In fact, if you search for Chromecast or Google Home on Amazon, the very first results are the Fire TV Stick and the Echo Dot. Seems abusive on Amazon’s part! Amazon has also made Prime Video unavailable to anyone using Google Cast, and they’ve recently stopped selling some Nest products.
We’re mostly speaking in jest, but in all seriousness, this spat is pretty awful. Both companies are willfully giving their customers worse experiences to settle (or stoke) a business dispute. As more power and money becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer corporate giants, it sure feels like this kind of thing is going to happen more and more in the coming years.