Roku has pulled the YouTube app following a distribution agreement expiration, where terms to recommit could not be found following strong demands on both sides—causing consumers to lose out.
Roku and Google are fighting out terms to continue their distribution agreement following some fallout from steep terms from both companies, each alleging the other is taking things too far. While Roku is suggesting consumers not delete the app to ensure continued service, currently YouTube TV is no longer available for download.
New subscriptions for the service have been turned off for the time being and full removal of YouTube TV from all Roku devices might be coming next as each company plays hardball with the other.
“We have only asked Google for four simple commitments,” Roku said in a statement. “First, not to manipulate consumer search results. Second, not to require access to data not available to anyone else. Third, not to leverage their YouTube monopoly to force Roku to accept hardware requirements that would increase consumer costs. Fourth, not to act in a discriminatory and anticompetitive manner against Roku.”
On the flip side, Google is saying Roku is abusing its strong position in the streaming market to make unreasonable demands. “Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations. We’re disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations,” a Google spokesperson told The Verge. “All of our work with them has been focused on ensuring a high quality and consistent experience for our viewers. We have made no requests to access user data or interfere with search results. We hope we can resolve this for the sake of our mutual users.”
As streaming becomes a more and more dominant space for tech companies to squabble over, and companies jockey for position to take over the cable market, we are seeing what could only get worse. Applications like YouTube or Twitch could start to create partnerships that limit which applications show up on what hardware, making everything even more confusing for consumers.
Let’s hope things don’t get to that point, for our sake.