Competition between online retailers has often left us gawking at the blatant disregard for anything resembling a healthy spirit of competition. That is probably why, when Amazon brought its market reach to bear upon slowing the sales of media streaming products from Google and Apple, we weren’t all that shocked.
As per a Bloomberg report, Amazon has sent an email to various marketplace resellers, that quite clearly expresses its inability to post listings for the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast video streaming products after October 29 — devices which incidentally, are not an easy fit for Amazon’s own video service, the Prime Video.
As per Amazon,
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.
Other devices, including Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Roku Inc.’s hardware — all of which are quite compatible with Prime, are completely unaffected by the change.
Another reason behind banning these products could be the fact, that several of them offer services similar to Amazon’s Fire Stick, and can be used to plug into television ports to stream videos from Netflix and Prime Video. Hence, Amazon is probably hoping to boost sales of the Fire Stick, already the company’s most selling electronic gadget, by refusing to host competing devices on the markets.
However, the move has drawn criticism from various sectors, who labeled Amazon’s excuses about wanting to avoid consumer confusion as “especially weak”. As per Michael Pachter, Analyst at Wedbush Securities, Los Angeles, the move may just rebound on Amazon someday.
Fewer than 20 percent of Amazon customers are Prime members, What about the 80 percent who want an Apple TV to stream Netflix? I think that the excuse of avoiding customer confusion is a not-so-veiled attempt to favor Amazon first-party products over third-party products, and think it was a bad move.
Also, lets not forget that Google and Apple are giants in their own right, possessing considerable market and media outreach of their own, and should they choose to resort to similar tactics, Amazon may just end up losing more than it gains out of its recent stunt to improve its Prime Video subscription.