ICYMI: Yesterday, YouTube (owned by Google) announced that it will no longer support service on the Echo Show and, starting January 1st, Amazon’s Fire TV — the latest salvo in what is apparently an ongoing war between the two tech giants. Google and Amazon have been battling it out, a la King Kong versus Godzilla, for several months now and Google claims it’s taking this radical step for two reasons: 1) Amazon’s recent removal of new Nest products (like Nest Secure and the E Thermostat) from their platform and 2) their continued refusal to sell Chromecast or support Google Cast in any capacity.
Amazon claims to be the Everything Store (though we’ve established in the past that this isn’t entirely true) – but in the case of Google products, that apparently means everything but products that compete with their own. In our recent Amazon webinar, we discussed Amazon’s relentless focus on their own products in their advertising campaigns. This takes that to the next level. Of course, Amazon would rather everyone buy an Alexa, but by refusing to sell popular products that compete with their own they are by definition limiting options for consumers. So, if you’ve been worrying about what it could mean for your business if Amazon starts manufacturing products in your space… well, it could potentially mean the removal your Amazon listings.
Source: Market Track online promotions panel, 10.2016-09.2017, homepage and departments excl. Amazon Fresh
As for Google, it looks like their plan is simply to take their ball and go home – which, while being both juvenile and a dangerous play in the ongoing net neutrality game, is also a move that has the potential to really put the screws to Amazon. There are people who are just not going to buy a Fire TV because of this move, and many current owners will probably become disgruntled starting Jan 1. This also has potential implications for Prime Membership subscriptions, since the subscription service is closely intertwined with Amazon’s devices.
So it’s arguable that, at least for the time being, Google has gained ground in their growing competition with Amazon. But I wouldn’t expect to see Amazon waving the white flag just yet – I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Jeff has an ace up his sleeve we’re not thinking of. Sadly, as is the case with most petty battles between industry giants, the casualties of this war won’t be Amazon or Google but rather their customers.