Amazon Fire TV
This just in: Amazon thinks it's a platform. According to Bloomberg, Amazon has ordered Apple TV and Google Chromecast devices out of its stores because they aren't compatible with Amazon's own Prime television subscription content.
"Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime," Amazon said in an internal e-mail. "It's important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion."
This, despite the fact both Apple TV and Google Chromecast outsold Amazon's own Fire TV settop device that streams Prime Video.
It's unclear if this is a negotiating tactic to get Prime Video onto those two companies' devices or if Amazon is simply willing to sacrifice sales to boost its own devices. Roku devices, Microsoft's Xbox, and Sony PlayStation devices all stream Prime Video and will remain on the retailing giant's virtual shelves.
Either way, I suspect Amazon is getting way ahead of itself. Amazon Prime is used by some 20 percent of its customers, according to Bloomberg. Prime Video has been hailed as a success, and the company's original content produced for Prime Video, like Transparent, is getting all kinds of kudos.
But, Amazon isn't a platform. It's just not. It's a giant retailer that doesn't profit. People use Amazon because it's cheap and the company's logistics are out of this world. Amazon loves to pull vendors off its shelves in order to promote its own products and services, but it's hard to see how this helps Amazon.
It certainly doesn't help Amazon's customers, and it makes Amazon.com that much less of a destination shopping place.
That said, if it is a negotiating tactic to get Prime Video on Apple TV and Google Chromecast, it could work. I don't care that much about Chromecast in that I'm not particularly keen to let Google add my TV watching to its Bryan Chaffin Portfolio™, but Prime Video is a good fit for Apple TV.
Time will tell on this move, but I think Amazon has jumped way ahead of itself on this one.