Prime Video & YouTube's Return Is Nothing To Celebrate

Many will likely be rejoicing in the news that Amazon and Google have now finally kissed and made up.

At least, partially, as the making up so far only relates to Prime Video and YouTube.

However, consumers are not gaining here. This is not as if somehow either company could not have made its service available on the other’s platform long before now.

They could have. In fact, they already had.

The Prime Video app for Android TV has been available for some time. The problem has been Amazon refused to let all Android TV devices take advantage of the platform-optimized app.

Which in itself is crazy as Google doesn’t make any Android TV devices that consumers can buy. They are all third-party products sold by manufacturers and one would think Amazon would be keen to support those third-party brands.

Evidently though, it was only the select few that Amazon was actually happy to support, considering only Sony TVs and the NVIDIA SHIELD TV were allowed to offer the Prime Video app.

This is in all in spite of the Android TV version of the app having technically gone “live” on the Google Play Store back in 2017.

The timing of that Play Store listing was interesting as this was also at the time when the tensions between the two companies began to escalate.

Back in 2015 Amazon delisted a number of products from its retail presence that were made, in some cases simply just affiliated with Google. This included Google Chromecast and the ASUS-made Nexus Player.

It was understood at the time that Amazon was less keen on showcasing products that competed with its own hardware lineup that it wanted to promote/sell.

This trend seemed to continue through the next couple of years with Amazon also stopping the sale of Nest products - conveniently following its own acquisition of Ring.

Coming back to the Play Store listing however and this was also the time when it became clear Google was in the process of removing YouTube support for Amazon’s Echo Show and Fire TV platform.

A move understood to be directly in response to Amazon’s “lack of reciprocity,” seemingly in reference to the lack of selling of hardware on Amazon and the lack of support for Prime Video.

Therefore, by the end of 2017 both YouTube and Prime Video were either ready or active on both platforms without an issue. There was no technical faults, no compatibility problems, the reason users didn't have access was simply a matter of the two companies refusing to ‘flick the switch’ on software that was already out there and ready.

The fact that it is only now -- and not even now but in the “coming months” -- that the apps are becoming available only serves to highlight just how much priority can be given to a brand’s own bitterness over the customer experience.

Make no mistake if someone is downloading the Prime Video app on an Android TV device, while they are using a platform rival to Amazon’s own Fire TV OS, they are most likely Amazon customers to begin with.

In the same sense, those looking to access YouTube on an Echo Show or the Fire TV platform most likely have a Google account and are therefore Google customers.

Yet neither brand seemed content enough to put their customers needs ahead of their own grudge.

Arguably, this is slightly worse when viewed from the Amazon perspective as those customers had already paid for a Prime membership and were being penalized for buying a product that doesn’t further tie them down to the Amazon ecosystem.

That’s not the same as rewarding customers to encourage a deeper ecosystem integration, it is punishing customers who have paid money.

Then again, YouTube is something that should be separate from Google and its products as it has become a staple part of the internet and one that, free or otherwise, should be available to everyone equally - regardless of their purchasing habits or brand association.

As a result, this latest news of a peace treaty between the two is not something that should be celebrated or rejoiced in. Yes, it is good news that consumers are now gaining access to the YouTube and Prime Video apps, but it is news that’s heavily tainted with the reality of the situation.

News that acts as a cold reminder of how companies like Amazon and Google only care so much about their customers and are more than happy to hold consumers as ransom.

Amazon and Google have not given us anything they couldn't have before.

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About the Author
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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]