The TV Answer Man!

Will Amazon Launch a YouTube Competitor?

Google is threatening to pull its YouTube app from Amazon’s Fire TV devices on January 1, but Amazon may be preparing to launch a YouTube competitor in case it does.

On December 5, Google posted a message on the YouTube app on Fire TV devices that it would remove the app on January 1. (The warning notice is still there today.)

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The company is protesting Amazon’s policy not to sell Google-owned products that compete with Amazon devices such as the Chromecast and Google Home. Google is also upset that Amazon will not permit its Amazon Video service to be offered on Chromecast.

On the very day that Google posted the January 1 warning on the YouTube app, Amazon filed trademark requests for ‘Amazon Tube’ and ‘Open Tube.’ While Amazon does not mention YouTube in its applications, the lengthy descriptions for the two names bare an interesting similarity to YouTube’s main features.

Amazon says Amazon Tube and/or Open Tube would provide “non-downloadable pre-recorded audio, visual and audiovisual works via wireless networks on a variety of topics.”

Later in the description, Amazon says the new service would also provide “on-line network services that enable users to share content, photos videos, text, data, images and other electronic works relating to entertainment, including, movies, television, audiovisual works, music, audio works, books, theatre, literary works, sporting events, recreational activities, leisure activities, tournaments, art, dance, musicals, exhibitions, sports instruction, clubs, radio, comedy, contests, visual works, games, gaming, festivals, museums, parks, cultural events, concerts, publishing, animation, current events, fashion, multimedia presentations, history, language, liberal arts, math, business, science, technology, hobbies, culture, sports, arts, psychology, and philosophy.”

Users sharing photos, video, text, data and images. Kinda’ sounds like YouTube, doesn’t it?

If Amazon actually launches Amazon Tube or Open Tube, it would likely prompt a legal challenge from Google.

The TV Answer Man has asked Amazon’s press office for a comment and will report back here if we receive one.

Google and Amazon say they are trying to resolve the dispute before January 1, and Amazon last week said it was preparing to put the Chromecast back on its site. However, as of today, it’s still not there.

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— Phillip Swann