Seattle retail giant Amazon.com Inc. has ended the sale of video streaming devices produced by Google and Apple on its website. The move was pushed forward as a means of gaining a competitive edge against rival companies offering similar services and devices. Amazon’s FireTV stick, one of its best selling electronic devices, directly competes against Chromecast and AppleTV, which are manufactured by Google Inc. and Apple Inc. respectively.
Amazon sent out an email to its marketplace partners informing them that no new listings will be allowed for those products effective immediately. The communication also stated that all currently listed items will be removed by October 29. Products produced by other companies such as Roku Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Sony Corp. will be unaffected by the new policy.
One of the reasons Amazon has chosen to discontinue distribution of Apple and Google devices is due to the fact they are not fully compatible with its Prime Video streaming service. The video streaming component has become a substantial part of Amazon’s Prime subscription package. It is important that products offered for sale on the marketplace interact well with the service in order to avoid customer frustration and confusion.
Amazon wants its customers to be confident in selecting an appropriate device to use with their Prime membership. Roku’s products, as well as Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox systems, are fully compatible with the Prime Video service, which is why they will continue to be available through Amazon and its marketplace vendors. Other products offered by Google and Apple, including the iPhone, iPad, and Nexus line, will also still be found on Amazon.com.
The ban will mean that the new fourth-generation AppleTV will not become available for sale on Amazon. While it is unclear what Amazon’s true motive for the decision is, the fact that other competing devices are unaffected by this change in policy, most notably Roku products, indicates that they sincerely want to improve their customers’ satisfaction. But then again, not everyone is an Amazon Prime subscriber.
It is possible that Chromecast and AppleTV devices could receive updates that improve compatibility. This might make Amazon reconsider.