E-commerce giant Amazon has stated that it will stop selling media-streaming devices from tech giants Google and Apple as they do not interact well with its own video service Amazon Prime. The timing of the move, just before the year-end holiday shopping season, indicates Amazon's willingness to sacrifice sales of the popular brands to boost sales of its own video-streaming service. This could also lead customers interested in purchasing Google and Apple streaming devices to competitors such as Best Buy.
"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," according to an Amazon mail that was sent out to its marketplace sellers.
Amazon's investment in TV streaming is huge. It invested in releasing original and exclusive shows such as the transgender comedy Transparent. Besides, it has signed a new car show with Jeremy Clarkson and the rest of the former Top Gear crew, and entered into exclusive licensing agreements with networks like CBS. The investments are a way to attract new Prime subscribers that are charged $99 (£65.37, €88.55) a year for access to videos, speedy shipping and other services.
Amazon could now turn the spotlight on its own recently revamped devices, Amazon Fire TV and Fire stick. Fire stick, currently Amazon's best-selling electronic device, can connect televisions with streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video by plugging into a HDMI port.
However, Roku's set-top device, Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation will continue to be sold on Amazon as they support Amazon Prime. The move also brings to light the growing competition between Amazon, Apple and Google.
According to an August report by research firm Parks Associates, 86% of all media-streaming products sold to US households with broadband in 2014 consisted of Amazon, Apple, Google and Roku's devices and it is estimated that around 86 million media-streaming devices will be sold globally in 2019. "This has the potential to hurt Amazon as much as it does Apple and Google. As a retailer, I want to give people a reason to come to me. When I take out best-selling brands, I take away those reasons," said Barbara Kraus, an analyst at Parks Associates.