Why customers lose in Amazon’s removal of Google, Apple streaming sticks

Amazon is escalating its war between Apple and Google, announcing yesterday that it will stop selling the companies’ respective video streaming gadgets because they’re not compatible with Amazon’s offering.

Bloomberg, which first broke the news, says the online retailer sent a letter to marketplace sellers to tell them to stop selling Apple TV and Google Chromecast because they don’t “interact well” with Amazon’s streaming offering, Prime Video. The ban goes into effect on Oct. 29, around the same time that Apple’s revamped streaming box rolls out.

“Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,” Amazon told sellers in an email obtained by Bloomberg. “It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.”

Other streaming gadgets such as Roku, Xbox and PlayStation consoles won’t be affected since the devices stream Prime and presumably “interact[s] well” with it.

Amazon has already been slyly confronting users searching for Google Chromecast and Apple TV by promoting its $39.99 Fire TV Stick with a banner ad on top of the search results, as seen below:

amazonsearchAmazon’s decision hurts consumers more than its competitors, eMarketer media analyst Paul Verna told Digiday. He said won’t have a “significant bearing” on Google’s or Apple’s sales since both products are available in several retailers.

Although Amazon’s end game is to funnel people to buy its streaming sticks and convert them to $99-a-year Prime memberships, Verna says it might not work because of Apple and Google’s popularity.

“The lure of free shipping via Amazon Prime is a non-factor,” he said. “The decision will likely not help Amazon build a content-device ecosystem around its Fire TV Stick.”

Amazon’s streaming devices has slowly been gaining in sales against Google and Apple. Although Roku is the top-selling brand, accounting for 36 percent of sales according to Parks Associates, Amazon overtook Apple for third place. Google places second with 23 percent marketshare.

Images via Amazon. 

https://staging.digiday.com/?p=138801

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