In the latest move in the tech giants battle for your cash Amazon are set to ban sales of Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast devices from October 29th. Not only will Amazon itself stop selling these items, but no 3rd party merchant will be able to do so. The reason, according to Amazon, is that these devices “don’t interact well” with Amazon’s Prime video service whereas , it claims, the Xbox, Playstation and Roku Boxes do. The truth of the matter is somewhat different.
Both Apple TV and Chromecast are more than capable of playing video streams from Amazon Prime, but they also both take a 30% cut of in app purchases which obviously eats into Amazons profit margin. With Amazon pushing prime in a big way, including snapping up Jeremy Clarkson and chums for their new series “Three middle aged xenophobes farting around in cars”* and also trying to get sales of Kindle Fire tablets, sticks and TV boxes out of the toilet, banning it’s biggest rivals from the biggest name in online shopping is designed to push people into buying their products and then locking them into their ecosystem, rather than that of any rivals.
This plan may work. Certainly on those who don’t know that the phrase “exclusive content” should be consigned to the same word museum as “job for life” and “compassionate conservatism”. On the other hand Apple and Google have been in the content shipping business longer than Amazon, so there are going to be far more people who are tied into their ecosystems. Others will simply turn to the various less official ways of obtaining content, generally meaning that Amazon will lose 100% of the money rather than just 30%.
Frankly the whole idea of not being able to see what you want, when you want on whatever device you want is so 20th century and while the networks, the movie studios and the tech giants argue it out, more and more people are just going to find their way around the fences. The Music industry has shown that if you allow the people to download your product in a simple and reasonably priced way many will do so. It’s time everyone else caught up.
*This may not be the final name of the show, but it’s a pretty good working title.