According to a new report, Google has pressured TV manufacturers to push Android TV and limit the success of the competing Amazon Fire TV platform. Even if a company simply has an Android smartphone on offer, it is no longer allowed to sell Fire TV devices.
Protocol’s report cites industry insiders, stating that it’s no coincidence that none of the major smart TV manufacturers rely on the Fire TV platform, even though Amazon already has millions of Fire TV sticks (from $ 35 on Amazon) was able to sell and thus achieved a very large, satisfied customer base.
Accordingly, companies that either license Android TV for individual TV devices or use Android for smartphones undertake not to use any alternative Android versions, such as Fire TV in particular. If a company breaks this contract, there is a risk of losing access to the Play Store and all Google Apps. A TV manufacturer cannot offer models with Android TV and Fire TV at the same time.
Last year Google signed contracts with six of the ten largest manufacturers of smart TVs, making it extremely difficult for Amazon to gain a foothold in this sector. Although this approach protects Google’s market share, it should hardly be an advantage for the rest of the market – depending on the region and target group, it could be advantageous to use different Smart TV functions in different models.
While Android was developed as open source software, Google sets very strict requirements when partners want to use the Play Store and the company’s services. Above all, the compatibility requirements must be met, which Amazon does not meet.
In 2016, Google already had to pay a fine of 4.34 billion euros for this approach in the smartphone sector, since then the group has changed its guidelines so that smartphone manufacturers can also use alternative Android versions. However, the European Union investigation did not deal with smart TVs, so Google was able to continue undisturbed in this industry.