Amazon says more than half a dozen hardware vendors have indicated they cannot enter into a TV production relationship with the e-commerce group for fear of retaliation from Google, escalating tensions with the search giant it competes with in several companies.
The disclosure, officially first shared by Amazon, was made by the company’s India unit to the Competition Commission of India as part of the antitrust watchdog’s long-standing investigation into Google over claims it is abusing its dominant position in Android. . google is abusing its dominant position in Android, the regulator said in a statement on Thursday, fined $162 million on Thursday.
As part of the investigation, the Competition Commission of India interviewed several industry players, including Samsung, Microsoft and Mozilla. But no one spoke more freely than Amazon, a quick analysis of the Order of 293 pages published on Friday.
Here’s what Amazon told the CCI:
Amazon has explored partnerships with mobile OEMs/ODMs/CMs who also manufacture non-mobile smart media devices, such as smart TVs, to enable those manufacturers to use non-mobile smart media devices (including smart TVs) with the Fire OS (eg Fire TV Edition (FTVE) for smart TVs). In these discussions with OEMs, at least seven OEMs have indicated that their ability to enter into such a manufacturing relationship with Amazon is either completely blocked or significantly limited (e.g. in terms of geographic scope) by their contractual obligations to Google and the fear that Google would retaliate against another OEM company that manufactures Android devices.
Amazon claimed that the device manufacturer has indicated in “several cases” that it cannot cooperate with Amazon “despite a expressed desire to do so in connection with smart TVs”. Even if the manufacturers agreed not to work on Android-powered smart TVs, they were still concerned that by working with Amazon on Fire OS-powered TVs, they would still be risking their GMS license from Google for other companies, it said. Amazon.
In addition, companies including Foxconn and Panasonic tried to get permission from Google to work with Amazon, the e-commerce giant said.
In other cases, the OEM has tried to obtain “permission” from Google, but failed. Such discussions have taken place, for example, with Skyworth, TPV (with regard to the Philips brand), UMC (with regard to the Sharp brand), Foxconn (with regard to the Sharp brand) and Panasonic. Panasonic also shared its concerns about potential retaliation by Google against its automotive and aviation operations if it continued to install FTVE on smart TVs.
In a series of other allegations, Amazon also said smartphone vendors told the company that their terms with Google required them to have Google Chrome preinstalled on their handsets and display a mobile browser shortcut on the device’s home screen. in a move that hurt the growth of Amazon’s browser, Silk.
This impacted the adoption of Amazon Silk as Amazon’s research at the time found that the default browser was used by 58% of users, forcing Amazon Silk to compete with other web browsers such as Opera, Firefox and UC for the minority of users using the default browser. not used browser.
Another potential barrier to distribution was OEMs’ request that Amazon pay significant amounts to be pre-installed on the device, but even with payment, OEMs would make no guarantees about the app’s placement or willingness to use Chrome Browser as default browser (which would require them to remove the Google Play Store and other Google apps).
(As an aside, Amazon said it has been investigating distribution agreements with Reliance Jio, Micromax and Intel, something not previously publicly known, but the discussions did not lead to significant success for Silk.)
Amazon, which operates Android-powered Fire OS that comes without all of Google’s popular mobile services, internally assessed whether Android OS and GMS would be licensed “because of the barriers created by the absence of GMS,” but decided against it. to do so “because it’s a ‘one-way door’ and result in relinquishing too much control to Google over Amazon’s current and future devices,” the company told the regulator.
The retailer cited lack of access to Google Play and its apps as the main reasons for the failure of Fire Phone, the company’s smartphone.