SAN FRANCISCO: In a rare public feud between large technology companies, Amazon.com Inc said on Tuesday its Echo Show devices could no longer play videos from YouTube because the site’s parent, Google, stopped supporting the service.
The spat is the latest in Silicon Valley in which competitive tensions stood in the way of customers. Amazon and Google square off in many areas, from cloud computing and online search, to selling voice-controlled gadgets like the Echo Show.
In a statement, Amazon said, “As of this afternoon, Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers. There is no technical reason for that decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers.”
Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, said instead that the development was no surprise.
“We’ve been in negotiations with Amazon for a long time, working towards an agreement that provides great experiences for customers on both platforms,” it said in a statement. “Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience. We hope to be able to reach an agreement and resolve these issues soon.”
The Echo Show had displayed YouTube videos without integral features, from video recommendations to channel subscriptions. Google has been in a similar dispute with Microsoft Corp in the past.
It was not clear how many customers were affected. Amazon only started selling the Echo Show in June, which comes with a touchscreen and responds by voice command.
Amazon’s suite of Echo devices, including the Echo and Echo Dot, have outsold the voice-controlled Google Home, according to research firm eMarketer. Amazon has ambitions to make it normal for people to control computers by voice - and to place orders for its online retail business by voice, too.
“It’s a bit of a blow to Amazon,” said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research. “YouTube is one of the big video services that they had in addition to their own. For that to disappear means a big chunk of the possible video content you could watch on Echo Show is now gone.”
The Verge, a technology news website, earlier reported the news.
Among recent tech standoffs, Amazon had stopped selling Apple Inc’s TV players in 2015 because they did not support its Prime Video service. The two finally reached an agreement earlier this year.
“Things get harder for end users because these companies can’t get along,” Dawson said. -- REUTERS