Amazon Bans Sale of Apple/Google Streaming Devices

By Rory Betteridge | 02 Oct 2015

Online marketplace Amazon is removing Apple and Google media streaming devices from its range, citing that the competing devices “don’t interact well” with Amazon’s streaming service, Prime Video.

Amazon informed sellers that use its marketplace platform that it will forbid new listings for the Apple TV and Google Chromecast, and that all existing listings for these products would need to be removed by October 29. Other streaming devices which support Amazon’s service, including Roku’s set-top device, and gaming consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox range and Sony’s Playstation range, would remain.

“Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,” Amazon said in the e-mail, as reported by Bloomberg. “It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.”

It’s a drastic move to increase the presence of its streaming service; removing two hot-ticket streaming devices from its marketplace only months before the holiday shopping period will result in lost sales for Amazon. But the fact that the heavy investment in online content paying off, such as the in-house production of award-winning television shows exclusive to Prime Video, may help buoy Amazon’s confidence in such an action.

Nonetheless, the official line of ‘customer confusion’ is being scoffed at by spectators, with Wedbush Securities Analyst Michael Pachter calling the reasoning ‘especially weak’.

“Fewer than 20 percent of Amazon customers are Prime members,” Pachter told Bloomberg. “What about the 80 percent who want an Apple TV to stream Netflix? I think that the excuse of avoiding customer confusion is a not-so-veiled attempt to favor Amazon first-party products over third-party products, and think it was a bad move.”

“This has the potential to hurt Amazon as much as it does Apple and Google,” added Barbara Kraus, an Analyst with Parks Associates. “As a retailer, I want to give people a reason to come to me. When I take out best-selling brands, I take away those reasons.”

Ultimately the move is going to drive some shoppers away from Amazon this Christmas. Whether the extra Amazon Prime subscribers is worth the lost sales remains to be seen.

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