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Blackberry Handhelds Media Apple

Amazon Blocks Video Streaming On BlackBerry Tablet, Blames Apple 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the mr-bezos-tear-down-this-wall dept.
AZA43 writes "Amazon.com has blocked its Instant Video streaming service on BlackBerry PlayBook tablets, in an apparent effort to make its Kindle Fire device more attractive to tablet buyers. And it says Apple is the reason why it blocked the service. But the company hasn't blocked comparable Android tablets from streaming Instant Video, and Android tablets hold a much larger portion of the overall tablet market than PlayBooks. Amazon will likely succeed only in alienating customer with PlayBooks who have already purchased lots of streaming video content."
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Amazon Blocks Video Streaming On BlackBerry Tablet, Blames Apple

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Amazon will likely succeed only in alienating customer with PlayBooks who have already purchased lots of streaming video content."

    Yup, that single customer is going to be really really upset about this. Good thing it doesn't affect more people.

    • by LordNicholas (2174126) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @03:25PM (#39036239)

      Indeed. I hear both Playbook owners are absolutely livid about this.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Amazon will likely succeed only in alienating customer with PlayBooks who have already purchased lots of streaming video content."

      Yup, that single customer is going to be really really upset about this. Good thing it doesn't affect more people.

      Seriously, the press release should have ended "Sorry Frank. We'll just ship you a new Kindle Fire free, for being such a good customer."...

    • by ICLKennyG (899257)
      I came here to point out the stupid end of the summary, only to find it's the primary discussion point. Good job. Carry on.

      Let me know when you find someone under 40 who uses a blackberry that isn't crammed down their throat against their will.
  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @03:27PM (#39036263) Homepage Journal

    OK, this doesn't smell right. This allegation is based upon one email from customer service, and given the context it's even quite possible that "Apple" (mentioned once in the message) was a brainfart with the customer service agent intending to write "Adobe". Lest anyone think I'm grasping at straws, the entire email makes no sense whatsoever if taken literally (as it kind of implies Apple wrote Flash!), but makes perfect sense if you read "Apple" as "Adobe".

    After waiting less than a day for confirmation from Amazon the author of the article decides to go ahead and make the claim despite the somewhat dubious circumstances. I don't believe it for a second, and I think the author's an idiot.

    • Also, from the email, it seems not to be "We won't support your Playbook because we're mean" but "We cant support it because of licensing issues."

      Which makes the blog author look even more like a "I spend money at your store, how dare you not support X" over-reactionary.
      • by bigrockpeltr (1752472) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @04:17PM (#39036947)
        Did you people read the same article i did????
        • The author is not the one who received the customer service email.
        • The author was able to play the videos for approximately the last year or so.
        • The author is still able to play the same videos on an Android device with and OLDER version of flash player.

        Hence there is no technical reason why the videos shouldnt work on the Playbook. Also you cannot assume the CSR meant Adobe instead of Apple with any certainty unless you are Mr Mantri himself. The CS email is a buch of garbage that makes no sense. But Amazon has already gone back on their promise of a kindle app so im not too surprised.

        • Since it only makes sense when you replace Apple with Adobe, then yes, you can assume they meant Adobe.

          You might want to look up what "assume" means.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by toriver (11308)

            But everyone blames Apple, it's the chic thing to do. 300 workers at an XBox assembly line threaten suicide? Blame Apple! Sony upping the price on Whitney's albums after her death, including on iTunes? Blame Apple! I am waiting for Apple to get the blame for the swine flu epidemic and Steven Tyler's horrid rendition of the U.S. national anthem next.

          • by errandum (2014454)

            "Apple Inc. has exclusive rights to the hardware and software that would make it possible for Amazon.com to provide Amazon Instant Videos for these devices"

            It makes as much sense as Adobe having the hardware. It could have something to do with patents on DRM'ed video delivery that Apple owns or something like that.

          • It also makes the same amount of sense if you replace it with Sony/Microsoft/Google/Amazon/LG/Facebook/Zynga/Nortel/Cisco/Motorola.... and so on.
            you may want to look up what "certainty" means.
        • by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @04:36PM (#39037177) Journal

          The CS email is a buch of garbage that makes no sense.

          So... pretty much like every other customer service email from any major company that asks any sort of question more complex than "Where do I click to [insert action here]?" Just saying.

        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @04:51PM (#39037331) Homepage Journal

          The author is asserting that Amazon.com, on the basis of one CSR email that doesn't make sense, has deliberately decided to prevent its videos from running on the Playbook.

          BTW, the situation gets even more obvious when he explains what happens. The video starts to play, and then the player crashes out with a generic error about requiring a Flash upgrade. Does that sound like how it would act if Amazon had told its developers to stop allowing Playbook users access to Amazon's Video?

          It's fairly obvious what's going on here. The Blackberry version of Flash is broken. Amazon can't support that. Amazon's CSR, in a garbled way, tried to point the finger at Adobe, or Apple, or someone who he thinks is responsible for the player in the Blackberry. Rather than wait for an communication from Amazon.com, the author went off half-cocked with a far fetched conspiracy theory that in an effort to improve Kindle Fire sales, Amazon.com found the tablet platform that's got the smallest market share, and banned them from using Amazon Prime Video.

          As Bugs Bunny would say, "What a maroon."

          • by Skreems (598317)
            Having spent several go-rounds with the woefully incomprehensible CS reps at Amazon, I have to say this makes a hell of a lot more sense than any other possibility.
      • BTW, I typed "BS" at the end of the Subject line and missed the fact that, for whatever reason (too long? Wrong box had focus?) it didn't actually end up on the subject!

        Your explanation like it better I do.

    • I agree with you and think we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Still, the way I see it, the "blaming on Apple" part is not really the important one. What matters here is that we have hardware and software that can perform a task, and that Amazon prevents this from happening so that they can sell more of their own hardware (or so they think). Whoever they blame this on is secondary, and focusing on this secondary aspect would make you miss the important bit here: Amazon is evil for blocking its str

    • by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @04:10PM (#39036869)
      I think the user is doesn't understand the phrase "does not support" This does not mean Amazon is blocking the device. I means they don't test their service on Playbooks and don't fix bugs that occur on Playbooks. The error message is "Playback Error: Sorry we were unable to stream the video. This is likely because your Flash Player needs to be updated." That doesn't look like the message they would return if they were blocking the device.
      • And yet he was able to play streaming video recently and is using the latest adobe flash player.

        You might want to read the article sometime so you don't sound like an ass.
        • I did read the story. If Amazon started encoding their video in some new Adobe DRM then it might not be supported by the PlayBooks Flash implimentation. If you read the comments on his site older videos still seem to work. This is Flash remember. It is known to be buggy.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Amazon started using DRM on some videos in mid-January. It also breaks playback on certain Linux systems -- specifically those using 64-bit flash plugin, and those where (deprecated) HAL has been removed. As a Linux user and Amazon Prime subscriber, the videos I can watch are hit and miss.

            • by Izaak (31329)

              Since their latest Amazon Instant Video upgrade, I've been unable to watch any Amazon videos either on my 32 or 64 bit system. I've made sure I have the latest Adobe flash plug-in and have HAL installed. Their tech support was useless. I've cancelled my Amazon Prime membership over it.

              And they wonder why some people resort to bit-torrent.

        • by cygnwolf (601176)
          Speaking as someone who does a lot of Customer Support, there is also a difference too between 'We do not support' and 'We no longer support'. "It used to work on [insert never-supported hardware here]" is a phrase I have heard many times before. It's entirely possible that they never tested it on a Playbook during development. The fact that it worked in the past was good fortune for the playbook's owner, and due to recent changes it no longer works on a platform it was never tested to work on anyway,so
    • I was amazed by an Amazon CS rep telling me the reason that I couldn't use Amazon Instant Videos on my Tivo was because my FIOS connection wasn't nearly fast enough.

      I hung up and contacted Tivo who told me they don't support Amazon Instant Videos.

      They did not blame Apple for it. ;)

      • That's weird, because Amazon Instant Video works fine on my Tivo. Their prices are often significantly lower, too. Maybe this was some time ago?

        What doesn't work is Netflix streaming. Crashes the Tivo the instant there's a data underrun - probably a codec bug of some sort. I cancelled my trial Netflix subscription because of it and reported the problem, but got no useful response.

        It may have been fixed by now, but I'm waiting for one of those "we want you back so here's another free trial" offers to c
        • by tkrotchko (124118)

          I mean the "free" videos you get when you're a prime member. They are not supported.

          • Ah. Didn't even know such things existed. I have Amazon Prime (no-brainer given how much it saves on shipping); guess I'm just not "prime" enough.
    • Technical explanation for the problem, if you care

      Not all Amazon content is using the new DRM; if you've already downloaded something, even if it uses DRM, then it will continue to function.

      The actual issue is a combination of the Flash 11 update on Jan 31, combined with Amazon switching Flash Access DRM on Feb 4/5/6.

      The Flash Access DRM requires downloading and installing a new shared object, which is why it complains about needing an upgrade.

      The code is busted. It uses hald/libhal (which was deprecate in

  • How have they got anything to do with it. is this just a case of Homophobia?
  • Occam's razor... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @03:29PM (#39036289)
    Looking at the situation, I would say that the message about it being Apples fault is a canned response to people asking about playback on the iPad that got miss-routed as a response to this new issue with the PlayBook. I suspect that Amazon does not know why its not working on the PlayBook, or at least does not have a fix. I also would not be shocked if they did not fix it as the PlayBook seems like a dead platform from a development standpoint. Lets remember that a PlayBook native player would require dedicated development time since the whole Android apps on PlayBook thing never really panned out. Coupled with the out of date flash player, there's not a lot Amazon can do.
    • by Babbster (107076)
      You may be on to something, though it would still be sloppy customer service. The premise that they want to sell more Kindles makes no sense given the prices they set for those devices. It's the content they want to sell; that's where the profit margins are.
    • That makes a lot of sense, especially if Amazon out sources its customer service support (which many companies do). It is quite likely that the person who sent this e-mail has a script they use to find the answer to send. This response was the closest to the customer complaint they were responding to (and they failed to understand that the person was not asking about an Ipad).
    • Re:Occam's razor... (Score:5, Informative)

      by JRonin (2574371) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @04:35PM (#39037173)
      "Lets remember that a PlayBook native player would require dedicated development time since the whole Android apps on PlayBook thing never really panned out. Coupled with the out of date flash player, there's not a lot Amazon can do." People really should do some basic research before posting. The next major version of the PlayBook OS, 2.0, comes out next week. It includes the Android VM & the response from Android developers has reportedly been positive. The author also made it clear that he was able to stream video using older flash players on other tablets, so that excuse doesn't cut it either.
    • by ShawnX (260531)

      Please don't troll, PlayBook and QNX are not dead go troll elsewhere!

  • "Amazon will likely succeed only in alienating customer with PlayBooks who have already purchased lots of streaming video content."

    Is this just an elaborate way to say "nobody will care", or is this thing more popular than I imagine? I have never even seen a PlayBook, never mind buying streaming video content for it.

    • by wiedzmin (1269816)
      I have one, it's ridiculously cheap at $150 for a 32GB tablet that can run Android apps... I will never buy anything Amazon though, after they screwed its DX customers with absolute lack of support, and it's Canadian customers with absolute lack of content, so yeah - nobody cares.
      • by b0bby (201198)

        Where did you get yours? Best I can see is over $200 for the 16GB. For that you could pick up a lightly used Touchpad, and get a bigger screen.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The 64gb is 200 bucks here at The Source, canadian radio shack. I picked one up.

          I love it's web browser, it takes a giant shit over the worthless browser that shipped with my Iconia tablet. It's easily on par with the browser on the iPad. The 7" form factor is perfect for a device that will live most of its life in my glovebox. It plays video and music well, has HDMI with smooth 1080p. I like how the bezel outside of the screen is touch sensitive, so you can do stuff like scrolling and navigation, with

        • by wiedzmin (1269816)
          Telus in Canada is selling them for $149 http://forums.crackberry.com/blackberry-playbook-f222/telus-playbook-695374/ [crackberry.com]
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @04:19PM (#39036961) Homepage
      I've seen quite a few playbooks, but then, I live in Ottawa. And go past 2 RIM offices on the bus ride from work. I'm pretty sure however, that I haven't seen anybody who doesn't work for RIM with a playbook.
      • by rikkards (98006)

        That would be me. I had no real interest in getting a tablet but when they heavily discounted it, I figured it would be worth getting. It was at the price I paid but at $500 it is a heaping pile and at any other price I would recommend an Android over the playbook.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @03:33PM (#39036359) Journal
    You buy ACCESS to data, and the moment the supplier doesn't like you, some obscure line in the EULA is found and used to deny the User ACCESS to the Data. But the user never actually owns the Data, in that the data is resident on machines of their possession.
  • by perpenso (1613749) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @03:42PM (#39036505)

    ... Amazon blamed the PlayBook's Flash player for the issue, saying the Flash software needed to be update, even though my Adobe Flash software is up to date (v11.1.122.4) ...

    So its Adobe not Apple?

    FWIW being current and needing an update is plausible. Amazon may have learned of an exploit in Flash and will only resume streaming after the security problem is fixed. OK, plausible but not terribly likely.

    ... Apple owns the rights to the hardware and software that would allow Amazon video content to be played on the BlackBerry PlayBook? Yet Amazon has allowed Instant Video customers to play video content on RIM's tablet for the past year, and just now the company decided to block the functionality? Something isn't right here, and I reached out to Amazon.com's media relations team more than 24 hours ago for clarification, but I haven't received a response. The above response from Amazon customer service could simply be misinformation sent by an irresponsible customer representative ...

    Then maybe a better title for your article would have been "Amazon Blocks Instant Video on BlackBerry PlayBook, Customer Service Rep Blames Apple"

    • I would say his flash software is not up to date. He is stating the PlayBook is using: v11.1.122.4 FireFox is using 11.1.102.56 Android is using 11.1.112.61 Clearly each device gets its own build. I bet 122 is the Playbook device number. If so then there have only been 4 versions of Flash released to the PlayBook compared to 61 versions on Android.
  • Steve Jobs' revenant is NOT going to like this!

  • I'll bet all 5 Playbook owners are pissed.
    • by metalgamer84 (1916754) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @04:02PM (#39036771)
      Total Playbook activations are closer to the 1M mark actually...
      • Total Playbook activations are closer to the 1M mark actually...

        The op is obviously being facetious but the number of activations does not necessarily mean current users because hardware failures and returns would not necessarily be counted as decreasing that number of activated devices.

    • you must be one of those midless apple drones... all the same.. all making the same joke in the same thread like all the other mindless drones before you.

      note: this is not personal. it just seems everyone is jealous of the playbook and trying to keep it down. of course RIM's pathetic marketing doesnt help either.
      • by chinton (151403)
        Nope, nary an apple product in my house -- the only one being my son's iPod (which was a gift from his grandma).
  • To be honest, the PlayBook is a non entity, I am very surprised they would block this device. It does raise a lot of concerns about the future plans they have with Android/iPad/Win8. If they pull back from any of these OS's or devices it will severely alter the relevance of their streaming media/Prime offerings. They are walking tightrope here. All that being said; why start with the PlayBook? Who is buying one of those over a Kindle Fire?

  • by evel aka matt (123728) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @04:01PM (#39036757)

    ...as if 4 voices suddenly cried out in terror and then went on with their lives.

  • Dear RIM, I appreciate you. I'm sorry that so many others feel threatened to the point of acting like jerk-bags to you. 2011 was a lame year, but you're still here and your new Playbook OS will make ripples. Keep promoting and enabling quality content creation and you'll do well. Afterall, people care more about their own lives than anything else, so keep on with helping them express themselves through your products. I like Amazon just fine, but blocking you like this, that's just a tempertantrum that provi
  • I had the Nook Color (running CM7) and overclocked (1.2 Ghz) but it still felt laggy. I gave that away over Christmas so I need a new cheapie tablet that doesn't lag. The Playbook felt fine when I was testing it, but without a lot of apps it would just be used as a web tablet.

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      Look at the Vizio 8 tablet, it's a little behind in OS being a gingerbread tablet, but it includes a fancy universal remote app and IR port, and it has 3 speakers to do stereo sound in either orientation. I do not own one, I have a ASUS Transformer, but they are not budget machines at all.
  • "Amazon will likely succeed only in alienating customer with PlayBooks who have already purchased lots of streaming video content."

    Isn't that a bit dramatic?? I mean look at this, "RIM sold into the channels approximately 150,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets in the third quarter..." [rim.com].

    Ok, that is Q3, and you can go back to April 2011, but still, just how many are there really who a) bought a PlayBook, and b) "have already purchased lots of streaming video content" ??

    I venture to think Amazon maybe "doe [youtube.com]
  • OMG, I went to Slashdot.org to watch some videos and they are not loading! Amazon is really pissing me off.

    I guess I'll go to Nintendo.com next so I can try to check my email. If that doesn't work, boy am I ever going to post about this on the Internets.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I hate to be so crass in a subject, but that is just stupid. Not Amazon - the article. The author. WTH is wrong with people?

    Even more astonishing, Amazon also blamed Apple. <iGasp!>

    The following text comes from an Amazon customer service e-mail I received from another perturbed PlayBook owner:

    "At this time, 'PlayBook' is not a supported device for Amazon Instant Video content. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

    Apple Inc. has exclus

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It means Apple "care", as in they see the Playbook as a greater threat to their gadgets than Android devices. "Start worrying, details to follow," as some like to put it. RIM is the only company that really compares to Apple in terms of hardware quality and market.

  • Clearly a canned response that the CSR forgot to switch out Apple for RIM in it. Nothing to see here.
  • The (sweet) xbmc plugin Bluecop wrote suddenly quit working when they changed to use 'DRM' flash. See this thread for details;

    http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?t=108124&page=32 [xbmc.org]

    Pretty painful.

  • They assumed that the Playbook was an Apple product.

    Read it again with that misconception in mind.

  • This seems like a typical suck attack. Adobe sucks, Amazon sucks, RIM sucks, so instead of trying to fix the problem, they just all stand around in a circle pointing at one another, sucking hickies on one another's spotty bottoms, and blaming Apple.

    It may not be very effective, but its a hell of a lot easier than actually making products that work. Leave the toil and sweat up to Apple. Bottom feeders can always make a few bucks off cheap, knock-off lookalikes.

  • "And it says Apple is the reason why it blocked the service."

    http://i39.tinypic.com/28b9tnc.jpg [tinypic.com]

  • Amazon needs to get off their butts and create an instant video app for iOS and Android. I can watch instant video on my Android phone, but the experience is horrible, and there is currently no way to access Amazon IV on an iOS device. Seriously Amazon? I realize that Apple is really the company screwing me here by deciding thou shalt not run flash on an iPad, but Hulu, Netflix, etc have released Apps to let me watch their content, get with the program.

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