UK Markets closed

Google pulls YouTube from Amazon TV boxes amid bitter feud

Margi Murphy
An Amazon Fire stick - Geoff Pugh Photography Ltd Telegraph Media Group Ltd

Google has taken a swipe at Amazon by pulling its hugely popular YouTube service from Amazon's Echo and Fire streaming devices.

The tech giant has cut access to YouTube on Amazon's Echo Show, the company's screen equipped smart spearker, and plans to block the video-sharing service on Amazon Fire, its TV streaming device, from January 1. 

Amazon branded the removal of YouTube - which boasts one billion users and is one of the most popular apps on Amazon’s devices for watching music videos and cookery tutorials - as "disappointing". 

The tech giants have historically not competed, but their businesses are increasingly overlapping as they both move into hardware and services. Amazon's Prime Video service, which the company has not made available for Google's Chromecast TV streaming device, is a direct rival to YouTube.

Amazon does not sell the Chromecast and has recently removed smart home products made by Nest, owned by Google parent Alphabet, from its online store. Nor does it sell the Google Home, a smart speaker rival to Amazon's Echo.

The YouTube app for the Amazon Echo Show will no longer be supported but owners will be able to access the video-sharing site through the webCredit: Amazon

A Google spokesman said: ​“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 FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

The spat could cost YouTube's stars, which accrue millions of loyal viewers and subscribers. 

Amazon Echo speakers rival Google's Home offeringCredit: AP

Comedian Steve Hofstetter said that withdrawing YouTube from Amazon "makes your point by removing a valuable revenue stream from your artists." He reminded Google that "creators are not your ammunition in this fight". 

Google has been accused of crushing competition before, allegedly removing YouTube on Windows phones because of Microsoft's Bing browser. Others claimed Google had stopped supporting the Windows app because it didn't use their preferred version of HTML. 

Google's Home speakerCredit: Google

Amazon's devices come with Bing as a default browser - although users can download Google Chrome if they wish.

“Echo Show and Fire TV now display a standard web view of YouTube.com and point customers directly to YouTube’s existing website,” said an Amazon spokesman.

"Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website. We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible."