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Amazon and Google are putting consumers in the middle of a corporate battle between the two technology giants. According to the reports, Google has blocked YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show, and will be removing its YouTube app from Amazon’s Fire TV. This is in response to Amazon refusing to carry certain Google hardware products in its store. Public Knowledge contends that this behavior by major platforms jeopardizes consumer choice.
The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“Consumers should not be harmed in these kinds of business disputes. Both Amazon and Google need to put their customers first instead of putting them between a rock and a hard place as a result of corporate warfare.
“When discussing the idea that initially became Amazon, Jeff Bezos called it ‘the everything store’ -- a far cry from the current Amazon, which won't sell, or allow its platform to be used to sell, products from some competitors. The reasoning the company gives -- that consumers would be ‘confused’ by the ability to choose other products -- insults consumers’ intelligence at best, and overrides consumer preferences at worst.
“Google's mission statement is to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ Blocking Amazon users from accessing YouTube is hardly making information universally accessible. Consumers are being caught in the crossfire of this tit-for-tat.
“Both companies should live up to their stated values and end this standoff. With their powerful market positions, both Google and Amazon have a unique potential to suppress competition and harm consumer welfare, and they should go out of their way to do neither.
“Although the specific responsibilities of platform companies like Amazon and Google are (and should be) different than those of telecommunications carriers like broadband providers, they are still very real. Platform companies should not cause harm to competitive processes and should live up to the values they claim guide their business.”