Roku is currently in a battle with Google. Roku customers recently received an email that warns that customers may soon lose access to the YouTube TV as a part of this battle.
According to Axios, Roku stated in its email to customers that Google has been asking for preferential treatment on Roku devices. The company says that this has been going on for a while and that it is beginning to fight back against these requirements.
The email states that Google has required preferential treatment in the form of promoting its apps over others in search results. Basically, Google wants anything relative to YouTube or YouTube TV to bring up those apps first when being searched. Roku views this as predatory, saying that Google’s requirements are “unfair and anticompetitive.” The company wants to ensure that its platform maintains a level playing field, where companies have an equal chance at being competitive.
Can Roku fight off the giant that is Google?
Roku is claiming that Google is leveraging the YouTube TV app to get its way. By threatening to take the YouTube TV app off of Roku devices, Google is trying to force its requirements into reality. In a statement to The Verge, a Google spokesperson said Roku is making these claims in an attempt to leverage negotiations for a new carriage deal:
“We have been working with Roku in good faith to reach an agreement that benefits our viewers and their customers. Unfortunately, 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. 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.”
Ultimately, there is still more to come with this story, and it will be interesting to see how things move forward. For Roku, these apps are certainly an important part of bringing people to the platform. It will be interesting to see how Google leverages its power to ultimately get what it wants in the end.
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