Google pulls YouTube from Amazon's streaming device as battle of tech giants heats up

Key Points
  • As part of an ongoing disagreement, Google is pulling YouTube from Amazon's FireTV.
  • The two companies are increasingly competing in hardware, content, and the enterprise.
YouTube cutting access to Amazon FireTV on January 1st: Report

Amazon and Google aren't playing nice over the holidays.

On Tuesday, Google said that it's pulling YouTube from Amazon's streaming devices, the FireTV and Echo Show. It's the latest adversarial move in an increasingly thorny relationship between the two tech giants, which are going head-to-head in hardware, content, cloud services and even digital advertising.

YouTube will be off Amazon's devices starting Jan. 1, meaning consumers in the market for a streaming gadget over the holidays may instead choose one from Roku, Apple or Google. A Google spokesperson attributes the cut-off to a "lack of reciprocity" from Amazon.

The e-commerce giant has long refused to sell many of Google's hardware products, including its Chromecast streaming device, Home smart speaker and, more recently, its Nest security offerings (though one version of its Nest thermostat is still for sale). Amazon also doesn't make its Prime Video content available to Chromecast users.

Susan Wojcicki, chief executive officer of YouTube Inc., introduces the company's new television subscription service.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As Google and Amazon are in an intensifying battle for the living room, they're also competing for enterprise users moving to the cloud. The Google Cloud Platform has continued to release a slew of new products aimed at capturing market share from industry leader Amazon Web Services and has won cloud business from the likes of Kroger, which told CNBC last month that it doesn't want to fund its retail competitor.

While the cloud rivalry is leading to more services and lower prices for businesses, the disconnect on the consumer device and content side is bad for consumers. Instead of having one product with all their favorite content, they have to make a choice.

Investors in the world's two most valuable internet companies certainly aren't suffering. Alphabet has surged 29 percent this year and Amazon is up 52 percent. For Amazon, that leap has made CEO Jeff Bezos the richest person in the world, with a total net worth of more than $96 billion.

"We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon," the Google spokesperson said.

An Amazon spokesperson issued a statement saying that Google is setting a "disappointing precedent" and returned the call for a resolution:

"Echo Show and FireTV now display a standard web view of and point customers directly to YouTube's existing website. 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."

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