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Amazon To Cease Sale of Apple TV and Chromecast 223

Mark Wilson writes: As of 29 October, shoppers will no longer be able to buy Apple TV or Chromecast devices from Amazon. Citing compatibility issues with Prime Video, Amazon emailed marketplace sellers to inform them it is not accepting new listings for the two media devices, and any existing listings will be removed at the end of October. The move indicates not only the importance Amazon places on its streaming Prime Video service, but also that it views Apple and Google as serious rivals. The two companies have yet to respond to the news, but it is unlikely to be well-received.
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Amazon To Cease Sale of Apple TV and Chromecast

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  • by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @04:15PM (#50639107) Homepage

    Their terms of service and privacy policy make Google look downright disinterested in collecting its users data by comparison.

    • you migrate to whichever private island your credit cards are more familiar with, and that's how it's gonna be.

      • by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @05:41PM (#50640155)

        A critical difference however: neither Fox nor CBS sell the means of access.

        Amazon is showing textbook Conflict of Interest.

        It's getting worse, and Amazon is hardly the only culprit. Netflix original series are a problem, despite many of them being awesome shows.

        How much longer until "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

        • by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @06:26PM (#50640519)
          I don't see it as a COI. Amazon sells stuff, including streaming services, that is their Primary Interest. If a hardware vendor chooses not to support the streaming service Amazon sells, why should Amazon sell the hardware? My corner grocer stopped selling a cream cheese made from yogurt and that space is now filled by it's own brand of similar (but lesser value) yogurt cheese... that's OK because they own the store, not me. I wish they would sell what I want, but they don't so if really I want it I can shop elsewhere. Not every store has to sell every product. Other stores sell the products, and if the products are good they may soon be selling more of them.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_of_interest [wikipedia.org]
          • citation? really, does google refuse to allow amazon video app on chromecast / google play store?

            • by kqs ( 1038910 ) on Friday October 02, 2015 @12:18AM (#50642129)

              The amazon video app is only in the amazon app store, not the google play store. But as far as I know, this is amazon's choice. They want to encourage android users to install the amazon app store so they can sell apps to the users; their video app is a carrot.

              I recently tried to get the amazon video app. After 30 minutes of apps pointing at web pages pointing back at the same apps, I deleted the amazon app store and decided that I didn't need to watch amazon prime videos after all.

              This is a dick move by amazon, but it's well within their rights. If they want to try to prop up their video service by not selling competing products, no problem; both apple and google have online stores.

              • I had the same experience with trying to try out Amazon Prime videos. I gave up before I got to watch a single video, and I didn't renew after my Amazon Prime trial ended because of video being not worth the effort. Mission accomplished, Amazon?

          • Amazon is free to produce their own app for Chromecast or Apple TV. This is probably more an issue where they want to push people into buying their own devices instead of Apple or Android devices.

            Furthermore, Amazon does not have a fundamental right to refuse to sell anything it wants. Certain refusals similar to this one are outlawed (see here [ftc.gov]). According to the FTC's website there, if a company is refusing to provide a product in a strategy to acquire or maintain a monopoly, then it's illegal. I don't

            • Amazon is free to produce their own app for Chromecast or Apple TV. This is probably more an issue where they want to push people into buying their own devices instead of Apple or Android devices.

              Furthermore, Amazon does not have a fundamental right to refuse to sell anything it wants. Certain refusals similar to this one are outlawed (see here [ftc.gov]). According to the FTC's website there, if a company is refusing to provide a product in a strategy to acquire or maintain a monopoly, then it's illegal. I don't know whether this applies in this case (IANAL), but it certainly is a practice that harms consumers, and therefore should be outlawed.

              You don't have to but an AppleTV or Chromecast from Amazon, nor do they have a "Monopoly" on streaming devices nor streaming services.

              IANAL but this sounds douchebaggish; but IMHO, it falls far short of either COI or Monoplistic behavior.

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @07:57PM (#50641057) Homepage

            This has nothing at all to do with selling stuff and nothing to do with appliances or applications. This is all about who gets to be the global publishers of content, who gets the lions share of content profits, who takes 30% for doing fuck all (realistically managing a marketing engine is pretty much doing fuck all except adding massive cost to the end user).

            So they are all in it, the ISPs, the internet backbone companies (may ex incumbent telcos), the online sales companies and existing publishers. The people excluded being the people producing the content, thou shalt not direct publish else thou wilst be destroyed by the DMCA and court costs. They are all fighting for monopoly domination of that 30% for doing fuck all and seeking to extend it out to 50% and even 100% ie huffington post you should be thankful for the exposure and ha ha fuck you.

            Nothing to do with end users or content producers and everything to do with locking in publishing monopolies.

          • I can't comment on Apple TV, but Chromecast is pretty much open, there's nothing stopping Amazon from writing an app to stream to Chromecast. I'm kinda bewildered to be honest they're blocking it.

            (For those who have experience: What is the situation with Apple TV? Is Apple open to any app provider, and do they allow app makers to use their own methods of funding, or do they demand a cut of any payments?)

        • by PRMan ( 959735 )
          I disagree. I have actually seen ads for one chain of networks on another chain of networks. If they pay enough, they will take the ad.
          • I disagree. I have actually seen ads for one chain of networks on another chain of networks. If they pay enough, they will take the ad.

            I think you usually see that with cable networks that are actually owned by the same Parent Company.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure if Google started dropping Amazon from their searches there would be alarm at Amazon and threats of lawsuits

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @04:17PM (#50639141)

    If you want me to use your instant and prime video options, the correct course of action would be to make the available everywhere, not to remove products that you refuse to support (and given that I've seen Chromecast apps knocked out in a weekend there's really no excuses). Oh, and make it so that shared prime actually shares all of the prime features instead of just shipping. It's incredibly stupid that prime videos don't work on my phone because my wife's Amazon account has the primary prime account.

    • Re:Dear Amazon (Score:4, Informative)

      by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @04:34PM (#50639373)

      Check out amazon family library aka The Amazon Household Program.
      "Family Library lets you share Kindle books, apps and games, audiobooks, Kindle Owners' Lending Library benefits, and Prime Instant Video streaming across your Amazon devices and Kindle reading apps after linking your Amazon account to that of another adult in your household. Each adult chooses what they want to share: they can share all of their Kindle books, apps, and audiobooks, or they can choose to only share individual titles."

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/... [amazon.com]

      • was that the point? i think he's saying it doesn't make sense to withhold amazon video from the google play app store and chromecast?

    • by mi ( 197448 )

      the correct course of action would be to make the available everywhere, not to remove products

      The announced product-removal is means to the end of making the service available everywhere.

      There is nothing magical or exceedingly hard about Amazon Prime Video. My 2008 Sony can play it. If Google and Apple aren't offering it, it is because they don't want to, not because they can not.

      • Is it blocked from the Play store? I thought it was Amazon's choice to only make it available in the Amazon Marketplace.

      • And the reason for the lack of the Android app is because...? (Amazon doesn't want to.)
        And Amazon doesn't want to because...? (Amazon had a competing Android-based platform - Kindle.)

        Amazon doesn't want their service on everything, they want everyone on their platform. Their service is the carrot. Not having an Android app while they had an iOS app and general web access was a stick. Further locking down the web access with Silverlight DRM was a stick. Removing these fairly niche products from their st

      • Since when has Google been responsible for producing the apps to access third party content distributors on Chromecast? They publish an API for a reason you know.

        I also doubt that Amazon Instant Video has an API that's fully documented. Your Sony plays it because Amazon wrote something for that platform, not because Sony independently wrote an app to play videos from Amazon. If it were as easy as you're suggesting, Android would have a hundred third party Amazon Instant Video apps.

        • Slow Down Cowboy! Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment. It's been 4 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment Chances are, you're behind a firewall or proxy, or clicked the Back button to accidentally reuse a form. Please try again. If the problem persists, and all other options have been tried, contact the site administrator.
    • In theory you can have Amazon Instant Video on pretty much any Android device now. In practice it requires having Amazon App Market (or wtfever it's called) installed, which is an annoyance.

  • Antitrust... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by x0ra ( 1249540 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @04:20PM (#50639185)
    How couldn't this be a base for a an anti-trust lawsuit against amazon ?
    • Re:Antitrust... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @04:27PM (#50639273)

      Because Amazon doesn't have a monopoly on small electronics sales?

    • It would be hard to prove that Amazon and Google are being squeezed out of business.

    • Because it's still selling Roku stuff?

    • by ooshna ( 1654125 )

      unfortunately this just falls under shady business practices

    • Amazon has to do more than simply not sell their competitor's devices. Their competitors will have to prove that they were harmed in some way. While Apple and Google might lose some sales, consumers can still get them by going to their Target, Walmart, etc. So only Amazon is hurting themselves by losing many more sales.
      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        Agreed.... if someone wants to buy something, they will go where it's convenient to buy it. It's just that simple.
        • Really the only people affected are the super-lazy that absolutely must have it delivered by Amazon. I believe that every other store will still ship.
        • I bought my Chromecast directly from Google Play. Came in the mail three or four days later. A week later, they had a whole rack of them at Walmart.

          Other than a sort of "no Pepsi in the Coca Cola bottling facility" sort of way, I can't see how this would have any measurable impact on Amazon's competitors. It is typical of the kind of behavior that miserable piece of shit Bezos is known for. A grade A sociopathic prick.

  • Is Amazon big enough that this will open the eyes of federal regulators?
  • I had been hoping Amazon Prime video would be added to AppleTV. Guess this means pretty much no way that's going to happen.

    I had been meaning to order a number of things from Amazon, looks like a great time to explore other purchase options.

    Not gonna lie though; probably will keep Prime.

    I guess Apple (and Google) would be within bounds to pull the Amazon app, and see who blinks first...

    • I had been hoping Amazon Prime video would be added to AppleTV. Guess this means pretty much no way that's going to happen.

      Or perhaps this is Amazon's way of getting it added... AppleTV can come back to Amazon as soon as PrimeVideo is added to AppleTV.

      • I have to wonder why it is that after all this time Apple does not have Amazon Prime...

        It wouldn't seem like Apple would care, Apple doesn't run a Netflix like service, it would just be another thing that would make AppleTV better.

        Amazon obviously wants people to adopt Prime more and a large vector for that happening would be AppleTV adoption.

        Both have substantial things to win, and very little to lose by Prime Video being on the AppleTV. So who is blocking what?

        I had a second thought about Prime not being

        • I would ask why iTunes isn't an app on FireTV...

          I have stuff in my iTunes account that I don't watch/use because there is no app for it and we have FireTV already...

          I might be inclined to use it more if there was an option to do so.

          • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

            Nobody expects Apple to play nice with other options it can afford to ignore. No one is surprised by this. They wouldn't have an iTunes client for Windows if Microsoft weren't beast of the desktop for the last 30 years.

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        Maybe. Frankly, one of the reasons I didn't get a chromecast is because I couldn't watch Amazon prime video with it (I don't know about now, but at the time). I don't even use prime video much at all - the free stuff is mostly crap, but if I was going to get something, I wanted something that I could use for any service I had.
      • by sehryan ( 412731 )

        Seeing as how Apple has now opened up development to the new AppleTV, I see adding Amazon Video to it as an Amazon problem, not an Apple problem.

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      I will definitely keep prime. The Amazon prime package (mainly free two-day shipping) is worth it on it's own for how much I order. Prime video is just some icing on the cake, but if I want to watch netflix or something, I can do it whether Amazon wants me to or not.
      • Prime video is just some icing on the cake, but if I want to watch netflix or something, I can do it whether Amazon wants me to or not.

        What's funny is that the Fire TV stick has one of the best Netflix clients around, at least when it comes to the interface. I've used Netflix on my Tegra3 tablet via HDMI out and it's annoying because of the interface.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I had been hoping Amazon Prime video would be added to AppleTV. Guess this means pretty much no way that's going to happen.

      I had been meaning to order a number of things from Amazon, looks like a great time to explore other purchase options.

      Not gonna lie though; probably will keep Prime.

      I guess Apple (and Google) would be within bounds to pull the Amazon app, and see who blinks first...

      Well, for the original AppleTV, Apple works with partners in producing the channels (this is in contrast with Roku where pa

  • So it's getting serious.

    When the ISPs start outright killing your streaming service because it isn't *theirs*, then it's on. Bigtime. Blood in the streets,

  • Amazon doesn't offer their Instant Video streaming service in Canada at all, so their reasoning doesn't stand up here in Canada. Will they also be preventing sales of Apple TVs and Chromecast units to Canadians?

    Maybe someone just needs to point them to the Chromecast and (new) tvOS SDKs so they can whip up their own Amazon Instant Video apps instead?

    Yaz

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

      Well... the devices should just run apps, and there's a prime video app (at least for phones/tablets). It was a long time coming - for a long time, you couldn't watch on any portable devices that were blessed by Amazon - you needed a kindle tablet at the time, despite the fact that the app would have probably run on any android device. They wanted people to buy kindles. Period. I would hope they could make an arrangement that if the other devices had Prime support that then Amazon would allow them to be

  • by j2.718ff ( 2441884 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @04:42PM (#50639525)

    Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime. It's important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.

    I really wish companies would drop the BS when announcing things like this. Customers aren't going to be confused. Amazon doesn't want to sell products that compete with their own, fine. I just wish they didn't pretend like they were doing this to make customers happier.

    • But its still bull pucky. Amazon doesn't make a huge profit on their hardware devices. They're trying to make (some) money from collecting customer information and creating consumer "lock in" on their services. They can easily create that consumer "lock in" by requiring information transfer on the software/API end, rather than in the hardware. Let Google use their hardware products on their services platform, as long as the firmware conforms with the API. This is that stupid lockin/exclusivity that Mic

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      What's worse is they withheld an android app they had on their android based kindle because they wanted people to buy kindles. When it didn't work, and people kept complaining, after some years, they finally released an android app. They've always made it difficult because they wanted people to buy their hardware, too. So this move is not surprising, but out of complete honesty here, I bought a FireTV because I wanted a separate device (not tied to a tablet or a disc player) that could do both Netflix an
      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        A device that can do Netflix and Prime? You didn't need a FireTV for that. If anything, Amazon was LAST to the party in this respect.

        • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
          There were not many standalone devices - not computers, something cheap (sub $100) and simple (easy to move around) - that could do both. Chromecast still can't. I could have gone cheaper with a FireStick (or whatever it's called), but I liked some other things about FireTV, too (and waited for a sale).
          • It's called a fire TV stick. We got the discounted year of prime, so we got the fire TV stick, as the cheapest way to get Amazon streaming working. Now I regret it, not because it's not working well (it is) but because of this bullshit.

            • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
              I hear you, but if you're going to stop doing business with every company that has done some sort of anti-consumer "trick," you'd be hard pressed to find any companies to do business with (even FOSS).
              • I hear you, but if you're going to stop doing business with every company that has done some sort of anti-consumer "trick," you'd be hard pressed to find any companies to do business with (even FOSS).

                Well, I said I regret it, but honestly, it's only slightly. It's here, it's working, we're keeping it. I could probably send it back right now if I wanted, we just got it. Google's not saintly anyway.

              • if you're going to stop doing business with every company that has done some sort of anti-consumer "trick," you'd be hard pressed to find any companies to do business with (even FOSS).

                Slashdot never misses an opportunity to shit on systemd!

    • ... because Amazon don't want to make a Prime Video app for Android or iOS?

    • Amazon sells hundreds of other media playing devices that offer streaming video that directly competes with their hardware, and those devices play streams that directly compete with their service. I think customer confusion is indeed accurate, because I've been considering purchasing a streaming media player to show primarily Amazon Prime video & Netflix. Until reading this article, Chromecast and Appletv were near the top of my list, and I would've been really irritated if I had purchased and they did
  • The fundamental issue seems to be that Amazon is very poorly managed.

    Amazon has junky web pages that try to sell me other things before I've finished reading about the item that interests me. There are many offers on Amazon, by other vendors, that try to take advantage of the customer.

    Should Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos be talking about going into space when he isn't managing Amazon well?

    It seems to me that Bezos is tired and overloaded and should be replaced.
    • Perhaps sending Bezos into space is actually a really good idea, along with it being a solution to the problem.

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

      Well, I'm repeating myself here, but the awkward thing here is that they withheld apps for Prime from other devices while they were trying to sell kindles. I wouldn't buy a kindle for Prime, I doubt anyone would. In fact, people don't buy prime for the video, they just take advantage of the video after signing up for free 2-day shipping, which is what the vast majority of people who sign up for prime are looking for.

      But the point is a few years ago they withheld general android support trying to get peopl

      • In fact, people don't buy prime for the video, they just take advantage of the video after signing up for free 2-day shipping, which is what the vast majority of people who sign up for prime are looking for.

        We did. Since it went on sale for one-third off for a day, it's cheaper per-month than Netflix this year. It has a ton of HBO content which is right up our alley, especially stand-up. The two-day shipping is just icing as far as I'm concerned.

    • The fundamental issue seems to be that Amazon is very poorly managed.

      Amazon has junky web pages that try to sell me other things before I've finished reading about the item that interests me. There are many offers on Amazon, by other vendors, that try to take advantage of the customer.

      Should Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos be talking about going into space when he isn't managing Amazon well?

      It seems to me that Bezos is tired and overloaded and should be replaced.

      There's a reason they call him Jeff Bozos, and it's not just because of the "more deals than Black Friday" Prime Day fiasco.
      It's 2015 and Amazon still doesn't have a functioning search or sort system. (Go search for a specific model of video card and then sort by price - you'll get tons of OTHER video cards in there and nothing will be sorted by price. Works for just about any search.)

  • Is Amazon not on Apple TV because Apple refuses to allow it, or because Amazon won't develop the channel? I'm too tired to trust Google for answers, plus you guys are smart.
  • I don't want their Fire devices just to watch a damn video stream. Compatibility issues my ass.
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @05:16PM (#50639887)

    The problem is actually Amazon's DRM system.

    Amazon Prime uses Adobe FlashAccess for it's DRM to prevent copying of rented and purchased content (forget that I could just hook up an LVDS emulator as my "LCD Display" and copy it all anyway).

    ChromeCast and Apple TV don't support FlashAccess because they don't support Flash.

    On the other hand, I have a friend who just bought a Samsung TV on clearance, and it's Amazon Prime video quit running because it started demanding that the Flash version be updated in the TV, which would be great, but it's an embedded system with no way to do that without updating the browser, and Samsung is somewhat notorious for not updating hardware once it's been sold.

    Mostly because it would cost them their ability to write firmware for a new television set, were they to take their television team, and put them on updating an older product that they're not even manufacturing any more, and that won't get them into the consumer's wallets anyway, unless they started charing about half the cost of a new TV for the firmware updates.

    Amazon needs to drop their proprietary system, or insist that Adobe (1) quit changing their DRM implementation, or (2) provide the updates as plugins that *can* be downloaded to any TV, based on the fact that they are running ARM processors. #2 is problematic, since a port of Chrome is the browser used on most of these (the source code costs Samsung nothing), and Chrome quit supporting non-sandboxed third party plugins not purchased through the Chrome App store and/or Google Play.

    So Amazon is pretty screwed here.

    • So you're saying that my Roku is running Flash?

      • So you're saying that my Roku is running Flash?

        No, the Roku is using the Adobe Primetime Player SDK, which is capable of content playback as well. It will do HLS streaming playback, but not FLV.

        You can read Adobe's take on it here:

        https://www.overdigital.com/20... [overdigital.com]

        The SDK can be read about here:

        http://www.adobe.com/solutions... [adobe.com]

        You must license it, and it generally only comes in binary form for runtime linking. This allows you to ship a GPL'ed product, but Adobe then does not have to GPL the library for the player SDK.

        Again, it's only for HLS content.

  • by multi io ( 640409 ) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Thursday October 01, 2015 @05:17PM (#50639895)
    So Amazon is jeopardising their own reputation as the one-stop online shop where you can buy any popular goods and items in existence -- just because they want to sell more of their own video streaming gadget? They must be terrified of their competitors.
  • Try it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @05:42PM (#50640161) Homepage

    I watch Amazon Instant Video, using Chrome, pushed across a ChromeCast to my TV.

    When Chrome brought out the new ChromeCast, I bought one immediately just to get the 5GHz version, if nothing else (my 5GHz channels are dead, but the 2.4Ghz are jam-packed).

    Fuck that up for me, Amazon, and I will just cancel the Prime subscription and not trust any software or online service from you again. I won't stop buying physical products, but you can forget all the add-on shit. No way I'm having my video library (which is 50% Amazon, 50% Google Play at the moment) tied into a format that I am denied playing how I like even though there is NO TECHNICAL BARRIER as far as I'm concerned. It works today, it should work tomorrow. If it doesn't, I'll reconsider how I use your service.

    P.S. Why you'd buy a ChromeCast from Amazon anyway, I can't fathom. Bought from the Google website yesterday, have a delivery waiting for me at the post office today - not bad given that everyone was buying them. Same experience when I bought a Nexus for my daughter. Amazon is great, but you don't buy everything from Amazon just because it's convenient. It still has to be a good deal that you can't get elsewhere.

  • by SJ ( 13711 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @06:08PM (#50640373)

    I'm sure the DOJ will be filing suit against Apple for this very shortly.

  • They don't want to support Chromecast and Apple TV because they are competitors to the Fire TV (except, they aren't really) and then they have the balls to outright lie about why, even when everybody knows damn well what they are doing.

    I'm henceforth going to throw the Amazon apps off my Android phone and when my Prime sub comes up for renewal, I'll bury that sucker and let it rot.

    Amazon's job in this world should be to provide a place to buy almost anything without regard to bullshit pissing matches like t

  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Friday October 02, 2015 @09:12AM (#50644279) Homepage

    Man, do you guys NOT understand anti-trust laws at all.

    There is NOTHING that mandates a retailer must sell a competitors product. How in the world would that be an anti-trust law. If so, does Verizon have to sell AT&T phones and contracts? Are Ford dealers required to sell Chevy's?

    Goodness gracious the stupidity on Slashdot is enormous today. They're not even trolls, they're more like ignorant orcs.

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