[Updated: Google Statement] Roku and Google Are Fighting Over YouTube TV and We’re the Losers

A Roku remote.

In an email sent Monday morning, Roku warned its customers that Roku streaming devices might lose access to the YouTube TV platform. The company states that negotiations over YouTube TV “broke down” due to anti-competitive demands from Google. A statement from Google denies the allegations and accuses Roku of “regularly” making baseless claims during previous negotiations.

Update: Google provided a statement with The Verge, which we have added to the end of this article.

According to Roku, Google wants preferential treatment in Roku’s search results. The company wants access to Roku search data and demands that Roku highlight YouTube videos in its searches. A report by Axios also alleges that Google is pushing Roku to use expensive chipsets in its products, which would increase the price of Roku sticks and make Chromecasts more attractive to people on a budget.

From the email sent by Roku to its customers:

While we are deeply disappointed in Google’s decision to use their monopoly power to try and force terms that will directly harm streamers, we remain committed to reaching an agreement with Google that preserves your access to YouTube TV, protects your data and ensures a level playing field for companies to compete. We encourage you to contact Google and urge them to reach an agreement to continue offering YouTube TV on Roku and to follow standard industry practices pledging not to require access to sensitive search data or to manipulate your search results.

If these claims are true, then Google is using its power to manipulate and harm a competitor. But Roku don’t have the best track record for these kinds of accusations, and of course, Google denies the allegations entirely.

From a statement by Google with The Verge:

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.

Is Google intentionally trying to hurt a competitor’s business? Or is Roku inflating the situation to avoid criticism from its users and get a better deal on YouTube TV? All we know is that people who paid money for Roku streaming sticks or the YouTube TV service may get screwed over because of these sour negotiations, which is annoying.

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Source: Thanks, Clifton Thomas!

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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