Amazon To Stop Selling Apple TV And Chromecast

1 October 2015

Bloomberg:

Amazon.com Inc. is flexing its e-commerce muscles to gain an edge on competitors in the video-streaming market by ending the sale of devices from Google Inc. and Apple Inc. that aren’t easily compatible with Amazon’s video service.

The Seattle-based Web retailer sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast. No new listings for the products will be allowed and posting of existing inventory will be removed Oct. 29, Amazon said. Amazon’s streaming service, called Prime Video, doesn’t run easily on its rival’s hardware.

Amazon has monopolistic power over this because set-top boxes aren’t a primary component of Amazon’s sales; it can turn away buyers of Apple TV and Chromecast without materially affecting its overall business sales numbers.

It’s perfectly logical for Amazon to only feature TV products that work with its services. This policy is clear-cut for the current-gen Apple TV — no Prime support, no sales. However, this reasoning does not really apply to the Chromecast. The Chromecast SDK is offered to anyone to implement and arguably is ‘easily compatible’ with Amazon Prime Video if Amazon developed the integration. This nuance doesn’t seem to have been addressed in the announcement email.

It’s also not clear whether this policy applies to the new Apple TV, where Amazon could make an app and get its content on the box. On this front, I suppose we’ll find out in October when the product launches.