Amazon Bans Sale Of Competing Apple TV, Chromecast Devices To 'Avoid Customer Confusion'
from the heaping-piles-of-bullshit dept
Amazon has come up with a rather ingenious way to give its own Fire TV streaming video devices a leg up in the market place: stop selling major competing products. In a letter sent this week to the company’s marketplace sellers, Amazon announced that it would no longer be allowing new listings for either the Chromecast or Apple TV starting today, and that existing retail stock of both products would be discontinued at the end of the month. Google of course just unveiled two new versions of the Chromecast, which has been historically outselling Amazon’s own streaming devices.
Amusingly, Amazon unloads what has to be one of the larger piles of ambiguous bullshit in defense of an anti-competitive position seen in some time:
“Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,” Amazon said in the e-mail. “It?s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.”
Hilarious. Except it’s up to developers to embed Chromecast support into their services and apps, and both Google and Apple publish open software development kits that allows any application to be utilized on both devices. In other words, it’s Amazon’s choice that Chromecast and Apple TV won’t play nicely with Amazon Prime Instant Streaming. It has nothing to do with the devices not “interacting well” with Amazon’s services. Bloomberg even helps prop up this nonsensical explanation further by repeating the idea that Prime Video “doesn?t run easily on rival?s devices.”
Meanwhile, on what planet exactly are you “avoiding customer confusion” by suddenly removing access to hugely popular, competing products?
Apparently other streaming competitors like the Roku and game consoles have yet to see Amazon’s ire and will remain sold, for now. Obviously none of this is the end of the world, since Amazon controls just 1% of the overall retail market and these devices can be bought at a long-list of retail alternatives, including Apple and Google themselves. Still it’s an utterly-idiotic decision that’s sure to invite antitrust scrutiny at worst, and an absolute shit storm of negative PR at best.