YouTube is probably one of the most used applications on mobile devices, smart displays, smart TVs, etc. But it seems that Google continues to anger various OEMs that sometimes the presence of this video social networking service is “in jeopardy” on certain devices. Now it appears that Roku users may lose access to the YouTube app unless they can resolve their current issue with the tech giant. In fact, Roku urges its users to urge Google to settle with them.
According to The Verge, Roku is accusing Google of forcing them to accept “predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory terms” that will cause harm to the company and its users. Basically what they are saying is that Google is using their position to provide preferential treatment to the YouTube app and that access to the app for its users will depend on whether or not Roku agrees to its terms.
Some of the demands that Google is allegedly requesting include access to Roku’s consumer data, creating a dedicated search results row for YouTube on their platform interface, and meeting the specific hardware specifications they request. Since Roku is a relatively smaller company, they say Google is using their “YouTube monopoly position” to get them to agree to the terms.
It’s not really surprising that the two are colliding, as Google has its own hardware – Chromecast if you didn’t know – that is in direct competition with the Roku device. The advantage of the Roku is that it has almost 45% of the display time of the set-top box and therefore they have some influence on the applications that want to be included in that. For example, HBO Max was criticized for failing to finalize a deal with Roku before its official launch last year.
Google says they have been trying to work out a deal with Roku, but says the latter “engages in these kinds of tactics” when it comes to negotiating with other brands. As with most of Google’s disputes with other services, the loser at the end of the day if they don’t reach an agreement is always the consumer. Let’s see how this “showdown” will end.