- Amid a contract dispute between Google and Roku, YouTube TV has been pulled from Roku devices.
- Each company has lobbed a variety of accusations at the other as the dispute has gone public.
- Roku is the industry-leader in set-top boxes, and produces an operating system for many smart TVs.
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Google’s live TV streaming service, YouTube TV, has been pulled from Roku devices worldwide.
Roku users who have already downloaded the app can still use it, but the company warned against deleting the app, “as it will not be available for download to Roku devices” as of Friday. The ability to sign up for a new account has also been severed.
The reason: A contract dispute between Google and Roku that, in recent days, has become a very public spat.
“Google is attempting to use its YouTube monopoly position to force Roku into accepting predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory terms that will directly harm Roku and our users,” a Roku spokesperson told The Verge on Monday.
“Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations,” a Google representative said in response. “We’re disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations.”
This isn’t the first time that Roku, which dominates the set-top box market and also produces an operating system used by millions of smart TVs, has butted heads with a major app maker. HBO Max notoriously didn’t appear on Roku at launch, and wasn’t available for months, as the two companies negotiated terms. It eventually launched on Roku over half a year after the app originally launched.
“We are disappointed that Google has allowed our agreement for the distribution of YouTube TV to expire,” a Roku representative said in a statement sent to Insider. In reference to the ongoing contract dispute between the two companies, the statement said Roku didn’t ask for more money from Google.
“We have only asked Google for four simple commitments,” the statement said. “First, not to manipulate consumer search results. Second, not to require access to data not available to anyone else. Third, not to leverage their YouTube monopoly to force Roku to accept hardware requirements that would increase consumer costs. Fourth, not to act in a discriminatory and anticompetitive manner against Roku.”
In response, Google called Roku’s assertions “baseless and false” in a statement sent to Insider. Roku used the YouTube TV contract negotation, “as an opportunity to renegotiate a separate deal encompassing the YouTube main app, which does not expire until December,” Google’s statement said. The full statement is available on Google’s blog.
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