Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices, escalating spat

In September, Google cut off YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show, which had displayed videos on its touchscreen without video recommendations, channel subscriptions and other features. (Reuters)
Updated 06 December 2017
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Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices, escalating spat

SAN FRANCISCO: A rare public spat in the technology industry escalated on Tuesday when Google said it would block its video streaming application YouTube from two Amazon.com Inc. devices and criticized the online retailer for not selling Google hardware.
The feud is the latest in Silicon Valley to put customers in the crossfire of major competitors. Amazon and Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, square off in many areas, from cloud computing and online search, to selling voice-controlled gadgets like the Google Home and Amazon Echo Show.
The stakes are high: many in the technology industry expect that interacting with computers by voice will become widespread, and it is unclear if Amazon, Google or another company will dominate the space. Amazon’s suite of voice-controlled devices has outsold Google’s so far, according to a study by research firm eMarketer from earlier this year.
In a statement, Google said, “Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make (its) Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of (our sister company) Nest’s latest products.
“Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV,” Google said. “We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”
Amazon said in a statement, “Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website.”
It said it hoped to resolve the issue with Google as soon as possible but customers could access YouTube through the Internet — not an app — on the devices in the meantime.
The break has been a long time coming. Amazon kicked the Chromecast, Google’s television player, off its retail website in 2015, along with Apple Inc’s TV player. Amazon had explained the move by saying it wanted to avoid confusing customers who might expect its Prime Video service to be available on devices sold by Amazon.
Amazon and Apple mended ties earlier this year when it was announced Prime Video would come to Apple TV. Not so with Google.
In September, Google cut off YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show, which had displayed videos on its touchscreen without video recommendations, channel subscriptions and other features. Amazon later reintroduced YouTube to the device, but the voice commands it added violated the use terms and on Tuesday Google again removed the service.
The Fire TV loses access to its YouTube app on January 1, Google said. Amazon has sold that device for longer than the Echo Show, meaning more customers may now be affected.


Japan, EU sign landmark trade deal

Updated 14 min 3 sec ago
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Japan, EU sign landmark trade deal

  • Both sides are heralding the deal, which covers a third of the global economy and more than 600 million people
  • Besides the latest deal with the EU, Japan is working on other trade agreements, including a far-reaching trans-Pacific deal
The EU and Japan signed a sweeping free trade deal Tuesday that officials called a “clear message” against protectionism, as Washington imposes controversial tariffs and threatens a trade war.
The deal signed in Tokyo by the EU’s top officials and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the biggest ever negotiated by the EU and creates a free trade zone covering nearly a third of the world’s GDP.
“We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism,” EU Council President Donald Tusk said.
“Together we are making — by signing this agreement — a statement about free and fair trade, we are showing that we are stronger and better off when we work together,” added Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.
The huge deal was signed as President Donald Trump unsettles allies and provokes rivals with his aggressive “America First” trade policy.
Both the EU and Japan have been hit with new US tariffs despite their longstanding alliances with Washington.
Juncker said the deal sent a message that “trade is about more than tariffs and barriers, it is about values.”
“There is no protection in protectionism,” he said.
Abe, standing alongside the two EU officials, said the agreement, “shows the world the unshaken political will of Japan and the EU to lead the world as the champions of free trade at a time when protectionism has spread.”