Programmatic Lunch

Amazon and Google clash over YouTube on the Echo Show

Tim Maytom

Tech giants Amazon and Google have publicly clashed after access to YouTube was removed from Echo Show, the latest iteration of Amazon's voice-controlled assistant devices.

YouTube ceased to work on the Echo Show on Tuesday, with Google claiming that the device delivered a "broken user experience". However, Amazon has criticised Google's move, saying that YouTube was blocked on the device "without explanation".

The Echo Show, which was launched in the US at the end of June this year, was capable of playing videos from YouTube, but did not provide all of the video streaming service's features, such as video recommendations or the ability to subscribe to channels.

In a statement, Google said that "Amazon's implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience. We hope to be able to reach an agreement and resolve these issues soon.

"We've been in negotiations with Amazon for a long time, working towards an agreement that provides great experiences for customers on both platforms."

In response, Amazon issued a statement saying "Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers. There is no technical reason for that decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers."

Both Google and Amazon have a history of removing rival products and services from their own platforms, but this is the first time the two firms have publicly clashed.

In 2013, Google ordered Microsoft to remove its unofficial version of the YouTube app from the Windows Phone store, despite not having created its own official version. In 2016, Amazon stopped selling the Apple TV streaming box, with CEO Jeff Bezos claiming the two companies had not been able to agree "acceptable business terms".

With both Amazon and Google working hard to secure the voice-controlled smart speaker and home hub market, it's no surprise that conflicts like this have started to erupt. The question now becomes, can they be settled amicably, or is further disruption on the horizon?