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Amazon Follows Through: Drops Apple TV, Chromecast 233

Hot Hardware notes that Amazon has stopped selling two pieces of hardware -- Apple TV and Google's Chromecast -- that compete with Amazon's own streaming business. (They promised to drop them a while back; not everyone though they actually would.) From the article: While some have likened this move to being anti-competitive, it's hard to grasp whether the legal system would agree. Amazon's defense is that since these devices don't support Prime Video, it doesn't want to sell products to its customers and have them assume that they will."
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Amazon Follows Through: Drops Apple TV, Chromecast

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 31, 2015 @07:43PM (#50839953)

    Amazon's defense is that since these devices don't support Prime Video, it doesn't want to sell products to its customers and have them assume that they will.

    Never mind the fact that Amazon seems to intentionally not be developing for either device, when smaller streaming services support Apple TV and the Chromecast API is open?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'd strongly suggest that there's a large iff of anti-trust about this move. Leveraging a strong market position in one sector to gain in another?

      • by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @08:36PM (#50840179)

        It's okay bro because rich people.

      • by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @09:30PM (#50840341)

        I don't know that it's legally anti-competitive. It's not like Amazon is preventing people from buying competing products or locking those products out, it's just isn't stocking them. Can a store be required to sell certain products?

        • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @09:42PM (#50840369) Journal

          Can a store be required to sell certain products?

          Well, Amazon allows people to sell stuff in the Amazon store. I wonder if they'd forbid me from selling a used Apple TV or Chromecast there.

          • I do believe that's exactly what they did.
          • Unfortunately yes. As of now searches for Chromecast do not bring up Chromecasts. If they were allowing used sales or third party sales, there'd still be a page for it.

            Amazon seems to be throwing a tantrum in this case, and I can't understand why given Chromecast could support its streaming services if Amazon would just write an app. Amazon wrote, and support, an Amazon Instant Video "app" for the f---ing Nintendo Wii yet cannot be bothered to write one for one of the most popular media streaming devices

            • by teg ( 97890 )

              (I don't have one, I have a Roku, but I can't help but wonder if that's next. Yeah, Amazon has actually bothered to write an app for it, but given the ease they could have done so for at least one - perhaps both - of the devices here, I'm not believing that's the reason. If they drop Roku, bye-bye Prime membership.)

              Of course they could. It's probably simple for the Chromecast, but for the AppleTV it's trivial . They've already got the app for iOS, so submitting it for TtvOS is not a lot of work - if they actually wanted to support it.

        • Can a store be required to sell certain products?

          A company can be compelled to sell a product if doing otherwise would be abuse of monopoly power. But Amazon does not have a monopoly in retailing, in on-line retailing, or in video. So it is unlikely if there is any legal basis to compel them to sell anything.

      • Nonsense. Amazon has nothing even approaching a monopoly on entertainment, and there's no reason in the world that a capable and innovative group of people shouldn't pursue more than one line of business. Trotting out "anti-trust" under these conditions is about as accurate as saying "fascists" or any other completely incorrect word that the anti-business crown likes to use. So off base that there's no way the term was even meant honestly.
      • by teg ( 97890 )

        I'd strongly suggest that there's a large iff of anti-trust about this move. Leveraging a strong market position in one sector to gain in another?

        It's an anti-competetive mode, sure - but Amazon is not even close to being dominant for that to matter in this market segment. So just buy it somewhere else, and keep in mind that Amazon is no longer a store where they sell everything. Start to look elsewhere for most purchases.

        • The question is not whether they are dominant in the streaming video sector, obviously they are not. The question is whether the are dominant in another sector, and using that dominance to move into the streaming video sector. Microsoft for example was not at all dominant in web-browsing software when the bundled Internet Explorer with Windows.

          • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

            The only sector that would matter is retailers. And since Walmart has about 5x the revenue of Amazon, they certainly are not the dominant retailer.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @08:11PM (#50840075)

      This is all on Amazon - they just are hoping people won't notice.

      There's an Amazon Video app on both my phone and iPad. I can watch Prime video there, although I rarely do since Prime Video largely sucks (most of what is there is obviously intended to drive the purchase of other Amazon video - it's all about "the first one is free").

      Meanwhile, my Apple TV has had Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc. for years.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ganjadude ( 952775 )
        prime is the worst streaming service. For example I decided to be bob ross for halloween. so I thought i would watch a bunch of episodes to work on my mannerisms

        prime offered a few episodes from each season for free, and than wanted to charge 2.99 per episode for the rest

        for those who arent in america bob ross was a painter on PBS (you know that free channel?) and literally all the episodes are avail for free in a number of legit places, youtube for one.

        i have yet to find a single time on my roku w
        • Amazon on demand rentals of current and new movies is good. But you are right I don't watch much "prime video" there

        • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @09:18PM (#50840305)

          Actually PBS asserts copyright on everything it owns, and they make a LOT of money off of DVD and streaming licenses. Don't assume that nonprofit means that its owners don't make a profit.

          • fair enough, but as i said when they are hosting it in other places for free, what reason would i pay?
        • I hope you know about Twitch TV's Bob Ross channel. They've been streaming a marathon of his shows the past few days.

          http://www.twitch.tv/bobross [twitch.tv]

          They've been getting 50-60,000 viewers almost round the clock. The comments have been pretty funny, too.

          • i actually had no idea until i got to work today. everyone has been informing me of it. I cant wait to check it out. thanks for the link!
        • If you still want to watch bob Ross, twitch is streaming all of the joy of painting for the next week or so www.twitch.tv/bobross

        • prime offered a few episodes from each season for free, and than wanted to charge 2.99 per episode for the rest

          Sure, but Netflix doesn't even have bob ross, except for a DVD you can rent via the mail. So on what basis are you complaining?

          literally all the episodes are avail for free in a number of legit places, youtube for one

          And Stargate and Dark Matter are included with Prime, but not with youtube or even netflix. (Stargate was on netflix, but apparently Amazon paid them more.) I don't want to watch Bob Ross, and if I did, I'd watch him on Youtube. Problem solved. We got Prime for a year when they knocked a third off of it, and it's been a better source of material than I imagined. They also have a lot

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I was quite annoyed to find that I could not use google play with firetv.

      Google play doesn't seem to work with much of anything really.

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      There really isn't an excuse for Chromecast, but not supporting or selling Apple TV makes perfect sense.

      Only a complete Apple Fanboy could complain about a streaming service not supporting Apple TV as an ANTITRUST issue, since the main reason streaming services don't support Apple TV is that Apple wants to take 30% of their GROSS on every transaction if they do "support" it.

      • by teg ( 97890 )

        There really isn't an excuse for Chromecast, but not supporting or selling Apple TV makes perfect sense.

        Only a complete Apple Fanboy could complain about a streaming service not supporting Apple TV as an ANTITRUST issue, since the main reason streaming services don't support Apple TV is that Apple wants to take 30% of their GROSS on every transaction if they do "support" it.

        That's only if you buy the service through the apple store. Just use it for existing customers signed up elsewhere, or increase the prices if you sign up there. Problem solved. And they're already doing some variation of this on iPad/iPhone, as there is an app there.

  • What if I buy a Prime-capable device, but I'm not a Prime customers. Won't I be confused?
  • anti-competitive (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @07:50PM (#50839985) Journal
    If you want an anti-trust lawsuit, usually you need political connections, and better political connections than your opponent. And Amazon keeps up on their payments [opensecrets.org], to both parties.
    • You also need a valid case. The fact that your local Ford dealership doesn't sell Chevys isn't a basis for a lawsuit.
      • You also need a valid case. The fact that your local Ford dealership doesn't sell Chevys isn't a basis for a lawsuit.

        Making a valid case is what lawyers do. Anti-trust law is vague enough that your local Ford dealership can start to look like a cartel colluding with other car dealerships, for example.

        • You say that like it's a good thing. Why?
          • Oh, I think it's a moronic thing.
            If there was any tone of pleasure in my post, it was the pleasure with which a scientist observes and investigates a family of ants or termites.
      • by teg ( 97890 )

        You also need a valid case. The fact that your local Ford dealership doesn't sell Chevys isn't a basis for a lawsuit.

        Indeed. However, if you were the dominant reseller of cars in the country of all brands, e.g. with a 60% market share - and then started selling your own brand cars and stopping sales of some of your competition, you'd be in trouble.

        Amazon would be in big trouble if they were a dominant player in the market (and I'm sure lawyers would have a long fight to determine which market...). They aren't, thus no case. Just remember that Amazon sells their own stuff rather than better alternatives, so don't go to

    • And you think Google and Apple don't?
  • by ClaraBow ( 212734 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @07:51PM (#50839987)
    Here is the response I received from Amazon when I contacted customer service: Amazon Your Account Amazon.com Message From Customer Service Hello, I am sorry for the inconvenience you experienced in this case. After looking into your inquiry about the item new Apple TV that you could not find in the website, I feel we could best resolve this concern for you over the phone so that we can help you locate the item. This way, you can speak to our live customer support team who can ensure we resolve this concern to your satisfaction. I realize that, at this point, asking you to contact us again would be disappointing; however, we really feel that the best way to assist you with this concern is over the phone. Your patience and understanding are greatly appreciated. So in this case, I request you to please visit the following link, enter your phone number through the Phone tab, and we'll call you: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help... [amazon.com] We're available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please be rest assured that we are here to make things easier for you and we'll take every action to prevent you from bearing any loss. On a personal level, I highly appreciate your patience, cooperation and understanding in this matter. It is our privilege to have you as our valued customer & we want to make sure you are always taken care of. Thanks for your cooperation. We'd appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today. Best regards, Johann S.
    • Call them and see what they say. Type a transcript (or summary)
    • We have been instructed not to create a record of our communication with you. We realize that this record could be used against in court or in public. Phone calls are less likely to be used against us in court or in public.

      • We have been instructed not to create a record of our communication with you. We realize that this record could be used against in court or in public. Phone calls are less likely to be used against us in court or in public.

        Except that most customer service calls are recorded "for quality assurance". Which means the recordings could be compelled during discovery anyway. I suppose it's more work to find them.

        • by nojayuk ( 567177 )

          I worked as an Amazon customer service rep last year. All calls are recorded and retained, as are emails, web chats and Kindle Mayday video chats. They use the weasel-words "may be recorded" since the recording system might break.

          • They use the weasel-words "may be recorded" since the recording system might break.

            ... and given how these warnings are worded, they may be (mis)understood as a permission for the other party to record. "may" = "there is a possibility that..." or "you are allowed to...". Crafty consumers understand the second, and that's how legally sound incriminating records get into the public domain and into anti-trust court cases... :-)

    • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

      Looks like a fun way to get Amazon to crank call people for you. That's s really weird way for them to get someone on the phone.

  • Is Amazon dropping all other streaming devices that don't support Prime Video? And if not, will that undermine their argument?

    All of which is really putting the cart before the horse - in terms of legal arguments, does their rationale actually hold any water to start with?

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      I won't buy an AppleTV because I need a device that supports Plex. As a disclaimer, I do have pretty much everything else that Apple makes. Likewise, I don't buy videos from any service because each is locked in to a specific service. Since I am not going to buy Apple video content, that is another reason to buy an Apple TV. Amazon streams video for free, and the Amazon device supports Plex, Hulu, Netflix, et al, so I do have a Amazon Fire TV. I think the best thing Apple could do is make the AppleTV and
  • It would get really interesting if Google would block Amazon from their search results, and Apple from their computers in response.
  • And now Amazon will learn the lesson that attempts to impose control only create chaos and harm. It's a simple and ancient axiom and one the shareholders deserve to have observed.

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @08:03PM (#50840035)
    But Amazon would be happy to sell me another one...
  • Right after Black Friday and Holiday sales.

  • by tylersoze ( 789256 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @08:44PM (#50840203)

    Since of course the reason those devices don't support Prime Video is that Amazon decided not to provide Prime Video on those devices, unlike say Netflix, Hulu, and every other streaming provider under the sun.

    • In their defense, at least in-regards-to Apple TV, it's only with the latest version of Apple TV that they actually can provide Amazon Prime Video without having to beg Apple.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        Which is why it makes perfect sense for them to do this now, after Apple opened up their TV platform to Amazon and others—something about stabbing someone with the olive branch....

  • by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @10:38PM (#50840553)
    For the same reason that the Samsung TVs only plays content from Samsung affiliated organizations, and Sony TVs only shows Sony created content, and you can't cook a microwave dinner in a Sanyo microwave unless it is from an affiliate so it will not heat something from Stoffer's or Lean Cuisine, and Apple and Android phones can't call each other, and the Chevron gas nozzle won't fit the Ford gas tank.

    That's what anti-competitive capitalists really lust after, total lock in and unlimited profit with crappy products. None of this level playing field and competing on price and service. And to a great extent their wishes have been granted. Look at the entire US banking and Wall Street economic sector, pharmaceuticals, telcos, agribusiness, brewing (the two biggest brewing groups in the world want to merge), ad nauseam.

    Amazon doesn't own the internet, no more then ABC owns the broadcast bandwidth that they use. Broadcast TV providers are allowed to use a common resource when they follow the rules, pay their taxes and fees, and engage in honest business. So why the hell is Amazon, or any of these other scum sucking pigs, allowed to have their walled garden carved out of the open common resource that is the internet?

    It's just more of the DMCA crap, or the upcoming TPP. Corrupt insiders are writing the rules so that they have permanent control, no competition, no oversight and guaranteed high profit margins. The game is rigged, and the less you have the more they have. Out of your pocket, into theirs.

    • My $150 mini PC plus my VPN+torrent service allows me to watch all Netflix, HBO, Amazon, etc. I get most of my content from the kat.cr store.

  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @11:12PM (#50840667) Homepage

    Since Amazon has decided to play hardball, maybe Google and Apple should yank Amazon's Shopping app for the app stores.

  • Don't forget Amazon still has an Amazon Prime video app in the iOS store - AND that app uses AirPlay just fine to stream to an AppleTV (even the new one).

  • Is Amazon video missing on AppleTV because Apple wouldn't allow them on it, or because Amazon chose not to be on it?

    Did it boil down to Apple maybe allowing them as long as Amazon kicked back 5% of on-demand revenue? For prime videos, were they asking for a percentage there, too? Is there some upfront cost to be on Apple TV + percentages?

    I can only see Apple's demands for money as being part of the equation, although I don't know how it works for Netflix -- does Netflix pay Apple just for presence? Some

  • If you have a US prime account you can stream anywhere. Uh... unless you leave the country. Can't stream in Canada with a US account.

  • "While some have likened this move to being anti-competitive..."

    Yes, "some" in this case means "approaching 99.99999%". This, to me, seems to be the very essence of what "anti-competitive" means.

    Honestly, this is such an obvious anti-competitive move that I can't believe it's even being debated, especially since they were selling Apple TV and Chromecast before they came out with their specific brand-locked bullshit product. But we can't have people buying stuff that might cut into our profits, can we?

    So if

  • ... to sell any particular product? If someone complains, will Apple be obligated to sell Chromecast devices on their website? When I walk into Safeway, I cannot find any of the Loblaws house brands on sale. Likewise, when I walk into Loblaws, I cannot find any of the Safeway house brands on sale. Yet, in neither case does anyone complain that these companies are being anticompetitive.

    No retailer should be obligated to sell any particular product. Apple has both its own website and physical stores. Ch

  • Shop elsewhere. Next topic.
  • Honestly, the only reason I shop at Amazon is because they seem to have everything. As I have been noticing that they depart from that, or their prices get higher, I'm starting to look elsewhere. They were the best marketplace option but are becoming less so over the past year or so, and their competition is seeming a little better. But the competition still do not offer a really good comprehensive service... so I'm looking for other options but what I'm finding isn't great.

  • I'm in canada, where prime video is not available on any device unless I lie about my location and/or use a VPN. As such removing from sale devices that do not support a format that I cannot use from their store only succeeds in ensuring they will not get my business for these devices.

    DICK move Amazon!

  • Amazon sells both the PS4 and Xbox One but not the Wii U, maybe Nintendo should sue them? I really don't see how Amazon should be required by law to sell any device it doesn't want to. I don't see any violation of race, religion or sexual orientation or age or anything else, it' just electronics. Target stopped selling Amazon Fire tablets a couple of years ago, don't recall anybody getting their panties in a bunch.

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