If you’re planning to buy an Apple TV or Chromecast device on Amazon’s site, you’d better do it before the end of the month. Amazon confirmed today that it will discontinue sales of the rival devices, pointing at optimization of its Amazon Prime streaming video app as the reason.
According to a report from Bloomberg this morning, marketplace sellers were sent an email letting them know that the devices are no longer allowed to be listed as of Oct. 29. When Amazon released its statement on the issue, the online retailer highlighted how Prime Video has become an important part of Prime membership, highlighting rival streamers like the Roku, gaming consoles, and of course, Amazon’s own Fire TV as the best options to access its service. Here’s the full statement:
Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime. 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.
While Apple TV and Chromecast were not specifically mentioned in the statement, the implication that they do not interact well with Prime Video was clear. However, just who’s to blame –Amazon or its tech competitors — for the lack of Amazon Prime apps on Apple TV and Chromecast is unknown. No iteration of either device has ever carried the Amazon Prime app, which is increasingly becoming an important part of the video streaming paradigm.
Whomever is to blame for the lack of the app on rival devices, today’s move to ban two of the most popular streaming devices is a serious power play, and possibly a savvy one for Amazon as it looks to increase sales of its own freshly rolled out streaming devices, the new Fire TVs, and Fire TV streaming stick, as well as sales of movies and other content through the Amazon app.
Today’s news comes just two days after Google unveiled its two upgraded Chromecast devices at an event in San Francisco and less than a month after Apple introduced its new Apple TV.
What’s interesting in regards to the app, as Variety pointed out, is that both competing devices have an open SDK, so Amazon could theoretically choose to develop a Prime Video app for them; the company previously did just that for Android-based Sony TVs. However, whether or not Google and Apple are willing to approve such an app is unclear.
We’ve reached out to Amazon for more clarification, but have yet to hear back. We’ll update this post once we get a response.
It’s obvious that Amazon’s move today is part of a larger battle, but it’s hard to speculate about just what the full motivation is, and what the aftermath will be.
There are still plenty of retailers that will carry Apple TV and Chromecast, but getting booted off Amazon certainly is a loss for Apple and Google, and a powerful statement by the e-commerce giant.