Though Google had announced that the YouTube app would be removed from Fire TV beginning January 1, 2018, that action has now been take four days earlier. As a counter measure users of Fire TV are now being instructed to watch YouTube on a web browser where they have a choice of Firefox or Amazon’s Silk.
The spat between Google and Amazon started years ago and can be traced to Amazon’s refusal to sell hardware belonging to rivals. For a long time the Seattle, Washington-based online retail giant has decline to stock hardware which competed with its devices and this includes smart speakers such as Google Home and media players such as Chromecast and Apple TV. This is aimed at promoting its in-house devices such as Fire TV and Echo speakers. Recently Apple and Amazon reached a deal which will see the latter stocking Apple TV and the former allowing the Prime Video app on Apple TV.
Holiday shopping season
The spat between Amazon and Google comes in the wake of the former releasing preliminary data showing that the holiday shopping season of this year broke records. The online retail giant saw an increase of 70% in shopping conducted via its app. In one week the number of Amazon Prime subscribers went up by four million. During that period the top-selling items were Fire TV stick and Echo Dot.
Due to the spectacular performance during this year’s holiday season analysts expects Amazon to beat estimates when it releases its quarterly earnings next year later in January. According to research firm GBH Insights, between 45% and 50% of all e-commerce sales made in the United States were captured by Amazon. This was an increase from a figure of 38% of all sales which was recorded last year.
Fourth quarter earnings
“…it appears Amazon has significant momentum heading into 2018 and could beat the Street ’s 4Q top-line estimate by 4 to 5 percent if these projections prove out,” Daniel Ives, the technology research head at GBH Insights said.
Per GBH Insights in the last one year the number of Amazon Prime subscribers increased by 40% to reach a figure of 88 million. During the holiday season the amount of spending by Amazon Prime members increased by 22%. Besides the well-observed fact that Amazon Prime members typically spend more on Amazon than other shoppers, the program has also helped the online retail giant insulate itself from competition presented by Walmart and others.