Google and Amazon: Please stop your feud.
Here's the 30-second version, in case you haven't been following along: For years, Amazon has refused to offer Google products like Chromecast and Google Home in its online store. It also neglected to offer a readily available Prime Video app for Android up until just a few months ago (previously, you had to go out of your way to sideload the entire notification-spam-spewing Amazon storefront app just to play a lousy movie). Oh, and it still doesn't provide a way to cast videos from Prime to Google-Cast-compatible devices, which is a real thorn in the side for its many Cast-using subscribers, technology website computerworld related.
A couple months ago, though, the tables turned: Amazon launched a voice control device with a screen, the Echo Show, and wanted to offer YouTube on it. Rather than working with Google on a custom version of the app, Amazon evidently came up with its own 'hack' to make YouTube available. Google balked and blocked the device's access. Soon after, Amazon - completely coincidentally, of course - stopped selling all Nest products in its store.
But wait (insert exasperated sigh here): There's more! After that, Amazon attempted another workaround to get YouTube up and running on its Echo Show - basically letting users pull up an awkwardly formatted web version of the site from the device. Google again said 'naw' and pulled the plug for YouTube on both the Echo Show and on Amazon's various Fire TV streaming devices.
In a statement sent out widely to tech news publications last week, Google left little question about the driving reason for its retaliation: We've been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other's products and services. But Amazon doesn't carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn't make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest's latest products. Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.
Amazon, for its part, told anyone who asked that Google was 'setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website' and said it hoped to resolve the matter 'as soon as possible'.
Look, I get it: Business is business, and to some extent, you have to look out for your own bottom line. But at a certain point, the most significant harm you're inflicting is upon your own users and their experiences with your products. At a certain point, you start to make Steve Jobs' infamous 'thermonuclear war on Android' look like the work of a well-adjusted sane man. At a certain point, you become the corporate equivalent of a bratty little kid shouting at another 10-year-old on the playground.
And here's the real rub: Given that both Amazon and Google create products that are primarily about services - and about getting users to embrace an ecosystem regardless of what type of hardware they own - locking down the gates just to make a point is not only petty but also ultimately self-defeating on both sides of the spectrum.
To stick with the third-grade mentality at which the companies are currently operating, Amazon, by all counts, appears to be the one who, like, totally started it. Sources who are 'familiar with Google's thinking on the matter' (but, you know, totally aren't Google PR reps who want to make a point without going on the record) tell Engadget that Amazon implementing its own 'hack' to get YouTube working on the Echo Show and Fire TV - rather than working with Google to create fully featured versions of the apps designed specifically for those devices - was essentially the last straw.
But, no big surprise, the frustration apparently dates back years - to when Amazon started its quiet policy against selling Google's products.
We don't want to be caught in the middle of your self-serving little squabble.
It's hard to hear all of this juvenile bickering and not feel like a parent listening to an overly escalated dispute between two irksome siblings, so I say it's time we respond in kind:
Hey, Amazon and Google: We've heard enough. It doesn't matter who started it or who hit whom harder. Both of you go to your rooms and think about your actions. Think about all of the customers you're hurting with your selfish stubbornness. And don't come out until you're ready to behave like adults and, in one way or another, work this stupid thing out.
As for you, Amazon, on behalf of your zillion customers, let me just say: Wake the fark up. If you can't offer access to YouTube on your Echo Show, no one's gonna want the damn thing. And massive as you may be in the retail world, no one is under the impression that you're the only place where electronics can be bought. Pretending Google's products don't exist isn't going to keep people from knowing about them or purchasing them. It's just going to keep people from purchasing them from you.
Similarly, preventing your users from casting video to Google-Cast-compatible devices isn't going to make them stop using Google-Cast-compatible devices. It's just going to make them rely more on other video services and consequently place less value on yours - which in turn means the value of your Amazon Prime service will be diminished. And we all know that's the last thing you want. Surely there's some ground you can concede here, no?
As for you, Google, maybe this was the last straw. Maybe you had no choice but to 'go nuclear,' to borrow an appropriate-seeming phrase, and hold Amazon's users hostage in order to force Amazon's hand. But surely now you have the power to get someone in a cutely named conference room with Jeff Bezos and his generously sized noggin to figure this out, right? Surely you don't want to give up the opportunity for all of Amazon's device-owners to watch hours of YouTube (and thus also YouTube ads) whilst broiling roasts and sipping Shasta, right?
Here's the bottom line, you two: We, the customers, don't want to hear about all of this anymore. We don't want to be caught in the middle of your self-serving little squabble. Because guess what? We don't give a ship about your business interests. We care about the user experience you're providing us - and right now, that experience is suffering on both sides of your self-created battleground.
Figure this out - if not for your own bottom lines then for the satisfaction of your customers, who are growing increasingly irritated and impatient with your games.
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|Publication:||Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)|
|Date:||Dec 13, 2017|
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