Amazon Says Fire TV Proliferation on Smart TVs Is Limited by Google Intimidation

(Image credit: Toshiba)

Bob Costas or Joe Buck? Notre Dame or Michigan? Khrushchev or Putin?

Yeah ... tough choices here. Which is kind of how Next TV feels about the reanimation of the technology cold war between Google and Amazon.

As detailed in a 293-page filing with the Competition Commission of India (hat tip to TechCrunch here), Amazon has accused Google of intimidating the smart TV OEM market.

Also read: Google and Amazon Officially End OTT Cold War By Launching Apps on Each Other's Platforms

Specifically, Amazon says it's having a hard time getting smart TV makers to adopt its Fire TV OS because these manufacturers fear reprisal from Google.

"At least seven OEMs have indicated that their ability to enter into a manufacturing relationship of this kind with Amazon is either blocked entirely or significantly limited (e.g., in terms of geographic scope) by their contractual commitments to Google and the concern that Google would retaliate against another of the OEM's businesses that produce Android devices," Amazon told the Competition Commission.

Also in the document, Amazon mentioned specific vendors: In some cases, Amazon noted, "the OEM has tried and failed to obtain 'permission' from Google. For example, such discussions occurred with Skyworth, TPV (with respect to the Philips brand), UMC (with respect to the Sharp brand), Foxconn (with respect to the Sharp brand), and Panasonic. Panasonic also shared concerns about possible retaliation by Google against its automotive and aviation businesses if it proceeded with FTVE installation on smart TVs."

The relationship between Google and Amazon Fire TV is tricky, as the TVOS is a "forked" version of Google's Android software. Google's guidelines for working with hardware vendors specify how -- and how not -- Android can be modified.

The two tech giants ended an even more bitter dissonance in 2019, when Google started supporting Amazon Prime Video on its OTT devices, and Amazon started selling Google gadgets in its store. ■

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!