It has been seven months since Amazon shunned Google and Apple by removing the Chromecast and Apple TV from its massive online store. We never knew for sure why the company would make such a move, but we knew it probably had something to do with Amazon Prime Video.
The fact of the matter is that Amazon refuses to release the app for either device, which never made any sense. If you want to sell a streaming service, it should be on every platform available. Even Apple made its own Apple Music app available on Android because it made business sense.
So why is Amazon so stubborn? Well, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently appeared at the Code Conference and he was asked about this very issue. Unfortunately, he skirted around it with some excuses that really don’t add up.
When asked about why Apple TV and Chromecast aren’t available on Amazon, Bezos said, “When we sell those devices, we want our player — our Prime Video player — to be on the device, and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms.” This statement seems plausible at first, but when you consider the fact that no app on the planet can be bundled with the Chromecast, it becomes utterly ridiculous. You can’t install apps on the Chromecast. It’s merely a streaming device that is controlled by the apps installed on a phone or tablet.
On the other hand, Amazon Prime Video could be bundled on Apple TV. So how come the likes of Netflix and Hulu can come to acceptable business terms with Apple, but not Amazon? Are we supposed to believe that Apple is asking for so much more from Amazon than it is from the other providers? I guess it’s possible.
Okay, so no Apple TV or Chromecast on Amazon, but we still want to know why the Prime Video app isn’t available on either device even though it’s available on the iPhone and iPad, as well as Android phones and tablets. Bezos came back with the same answer, “You can always get the player on the device. The question is, can you get it on there with acceptable business terms?”
So here we go again with the obvious questions as to why other streaming services are able to negotiate “acceptable business terms?” Not only that, the app is available on many other platforms like the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Roku, and of course, Amazon’s own Fire TV.
However, even if you assume that Apple and Google are so demanding, Amazon could still release the app through the Amazon Appstore on Android, but it continues to remain stubborn.
Consider one more interesting tidbit. Although Apple TV and Chromecast aren’t available on Amazon, Android TV is. You can buy the Nvidia Shield from Amazon right now. We can only assume Amazon doesn’t think Android TV is enough of a competitor to remove it, but then why not offer the Prime Video app on that device? To make matters even more confusing, the app is available on certain TVs in which Android is the operating system. So I guess it’s set-top boxes that are the issue.
Nothing Bezos said makes any sense.
Amazon continues to block many customers from it’s services, and we will probably never understand why. Thank you, Mr. Bezos, for trying to explain it to us, but please try a little harder next time.