Were you thinking that the ongoing spat between Google and Amazon had finally simmered down? You’d be wrong.
Google previously said that it wasn’t going to remove the YouTube access for the Amazon Fire TV until January 1, but some users are already finding the app disabled when they fire up their devices, reports TechCrunch.
Instead, when they try to open the the Fire TV’s YouTube app, users just see a notice informing them that they can watch “YouTube and million of other websites” through an internet browser. You’re then given the choice of exploring the wonderful world of the internet through Amazon’s Silk browser or Firefox.
So much for the spirit of the holidays.
Amazon under fire
But look at it this way: at least Fire TV users have the less-than-ideal browser option on their own terms. The current spat began when Google pulled YouTube from the Echo Show, claiming it was offering users a “broken user experience.” Later, Amazon replaced the custom interface it had made with a website version of YouTube. It didn’t look right on the Echo Show‘s tiny screen, though, and it was considerably more awkward than the app it replaced.
The problem was that Amazon had made the Echo Show app apparently without consulting Google. The app was great for what it was, but it disabled almost all of YouTube’s social features and, more importantly, it disabled ads. That effectively means Echo Show users were getting content from one of Google’s most popular services for free.
In fact, the issue is part of a larger struggle based on Amazon’s practice of sometimes not selling competing devices for products it makes itself. For a couple of years, Amazon would sell its own Fire TV device but not the Apple TV and Chromecast.
The situation seemed to be improving when Amazon confirmed it would start offering the Google Chromecast again, but so far the device hasn’t been available for sale. Amazon similarly allowed the Apple TV to appear on the site again, but unlike the Chromecast, it’s available to buy.
Google didn’t immediately respond when we asked for a statement. Who knows? Maybe they were simply annoyed at discovering that Amazon is apparently tinkering with the idea of starting a new service called “Amazontube.”