Amazon has announced they will stop selling streaming boxes and devices from Apple and Google including Chromecast, Nexus Player and Apple TV. Marketplace sellers are no longer allowed to list new streaming boxes/sticks from Apple and Google and current products will be removed for sale on October 29th. Amazon says they have made the decision to stop listing these items for sale since they don’t currently run Amazon’s Prime streaming service and that Amazon wants to “avoid customer confusion”.
While that sounds like a weak excuse on Amazon’s part, we don’t know all of the details and it could be that Apple and Google won’t allow Amazon on their devices. If that’s the case, it makes sense that Amazon would fight back by pulling Apple and Google devices from their store. Amazon makes very little money on devices that cost $35 and $99 dollars, so the decision isn’t based on revenue. It’s a strategic decision on Amazon’s part. But it does hurt Amazon’s customer experience as one of the main reasons I shop at Amazon, is due to their selection. Having less inventory is a bad thing for Amazon overall.
While some have suggested that this will impact sales for Apple and Google, it really won’t. With Apple having their own stores, and Chromecast being sold in every store imaginable, consumers won’t have a hard time getting them. Makes it a bit of an annoyance for someone like me that shops at Amazon, but if I really want an Apple TV or Chromecast, my local Staples will have them, as well as many other stores.
But this is an interesting development to watch because if this is really about avoiding “customer confusion”, does Amazon plan to stop selling Smart TVs that don’t support Prime streaming? What about Blu-ray players? How far is Amazon going to take this? My guess is that Amazon only cares about devices made by Apple and Google and those will be the only devices that are impacted. If that’s true, it means this isn’t about avoiding confusion at all, it’s simply Amazon flexing their power against their competitors. But the real question we all want to know the answer to is if Amazon made this decision on their own, or if Apple and Google forced their hand. I’m sure something will leak out at some point and we will hear more details behind this decision.
Updated 10:17pm ET – One of the two companies mentioned reached out to me to after I published to tell me that they are not blocking Amazon from being on their box. They won’t allow me to quote them or say which of the two companies it is, but it appears this is purely a decision driven by Amazon alone.