It looks like Amazon has decided to respond to the launch of the new Chromecast Audio and Chromecast 2 earlier this week by taking the low road.
Reports are coming in from Reddit (which have been confirmed by Amazon) that the retailer has banned marketplace sellers from listing the Chromecast, Nexus Player, or Apple TV. Earlier today one such seller reported on Reddit that he had received an email which informed him that the hardware was effectively banned from Amazon.com.
Another Reddit user has confirmed the restrictions, and Amazon has itself released an official statement:
Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime. It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion. Roku, XBOX, PlayStation and Fire TV are excellent choices.
Wow. I honestly would not have believed this story, but there you have it.
Amazon is interested in selling as much junk as possible to as many people as possible, so you would think they would want to continue selling streaming devices even if they don't work with Amazon's services. But that is no longer true.
While some hate this decision and say that Amazon is being a jerk, there's a bigger story here.
Amazon has just shown us that the streaming media market matters more to Amazon than device sales. Online video is now worth enough money to the retailer is willing to take a hit from bad publicity just to drive a point to device makers.
Edit: And here's the question I forgot to ask, but TechCrunch didn't: Why did Amazon not develop an app for the Apple TV and the Chromecast? After all, Amazon did develop the Amazon Video apps for Android, iOS, and other platforms.
Amazon is saying that if a streaming media device doesn't support Amazon's video store, it can't be sold on Amazon.com.
Now that is playing hardball, but more importantly: How long do you think it will be before Amazon pulls a similar trick with competing ebook readers?
I don't think Amazon sells enough non-Kindle ereaders for it to matter, but it would be the logical next step.