Amazon.com will soon begin selling the Apple TV set-top box and Google Chromecast, two streaming devices that have been unavailable from the leading online retailer for over two years. Listings for both products have returned to the site, but Amazon isn’t accepting orders just yet. The company has directly confirmed to The Verge that it intends to do so in the near future. “I can confirm that we are assorting Apple TV and Chromecast,” a spokesperson said by email. The news was first reported by CNet.
Both the Apple TV and Chromecast were pulled from Amazon in late 2015. The company’s justification for the move was that consumers would be confused and frustrated if they purchased streaming devices that didn’t offer a direct, convenient way to view Amazon Prime Video content. In Apple’s case, that impasse lasted until earlier this month when Amazon finally released a Prime Video app for Apple TV. (The new software has been met with some unfavorable reviews.)
The Google situation is a bit more interesting for two reasons. First, Amazon Video still doesn’t support the extremely popular Chromecast. And second, Amazon and Google are embroiled in a feud. Google is angry at Amazon for failing to support Google Cast (the technology that powers Chromecast) and for the retailer’s long-running refusal to sell Google-branded products and some newer devices from its Nest subsidiary. (Google Home, for example, is still completely absent from Amazon.com.)
Things got pretty ugly and unnecessarily petty. If you asked an Echo device to order a Chromecast, Amazon would automatically put a Fire Stick in your cart instead. In retaliation to Amazon’s moves, Google recently pulled YouTube from the Echo Show and announced plans to remove the app from Fire TV streaming devices as of January 1st. Amazon claims this amounts to “selectively blocking customer access to an open website.”
Amazon’s restoration of Chromecast sales can be seen as a way of easing the escalating tensions between two tech giants. Perhaps Google might rethink its decision as a result and allow Fire TV owners to keep YouTube after all. The companies would do well to work things out: earlier today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai referenced the public spat between Amazon and Google in his remarks during the commission’s vote to kill net neutrality.
Here are the product listings for Apple TV and Chromecast: