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After a year of hostile negotiations between Google and Roku, they have decided to finally part ways. They announced that as of December 9, 2021, YouTube will no longer be available for download on new Roku devices. However, both parties took steps to ensure all existing users will still have access.
Roku has already shown that tensions were high between the two when they cut YouTube TV for all new devices in April. In their October statement, Roku said: “Rather than embracing a mutually beneficial partnership approach, some Big Tech enterprises are using their market power to extend control over independent businesses, like Roku, to benefit their broader business objectives at the expense of the consumer, putting a fair and open competitive streaming marketplace at risk.”
Google however tells a different story, which claims “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.”
It seems clear that both Google and Roku believe this is a necessary step in the cooperation of the two companies, if ever. Whether YouTube or Youtube TV will be available to new Roku users again is unclear, although it seems Google will definitely make more statements regarding this issue. As for exisitng Roku users, their experience will not change, as both companies ensured the usability of YouTube and YouTube TV for those who have already been using them. For new users, however, YouTube and YouTube TV will not be available to you, at least for now.
Written by Joseph Nelson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
USA TODAY: Google to pull YouTube from some Roku devices in December amid dispute; by Brett Molina
CHROME UNBOXED: IN JUST A FEW WEEKS, NEW ROKU DEVICES WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO INSTALL YOUTUBE EITHER; by Michael Perrigo
AXIOS: Roku tells customers it is unable to strike a deal with YouTube; by Sara Fischer
THE VERGE: Roku could lose YouTube TV in standoff with Google; by Makena Kelly
Featured Image Courtesy of Mike Mozart’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Amancay Black’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License