If you search Amazon for streaming media players, you’ll find plenty of them. The one thing you won’t find is any Chromecast devices, and company CEO Jeff Bezos told the Re/code conference why not. Chromecast doesn’t currently offer access to Amazon’s own Prime Video platform, and Bezos says that isn’t because Google refuses to include it, but because it wants too much money for doing so.
[W]hen we sell those devices, we want our player — our Prime Video player — to be on the device, and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms. You can always get the player on the device. The question is, can you get it on there with acceptable business terms?
While he doesn’t say so outright, the meaning of the vague phrase is pretty clear …
Google takes a 30% cut of all sales made through apps on the platform, which would mean Amazon paying a commission on all paid downloads as well as on Prime subscriptions sold through the app. Amazon famously operates on razor-thin margins to maximize revenue, so a 30% commission on all sales just isn’t going to be viable.
For Google’s part, the company would definitely not want to set a precedent by making an exception for Amazon even if it saw any reason to do so. But with both companies competing for download sales and rentals, and Google’s move into subscription TV through YouTube Red, it would have no motivation at all here to even consider a workaround.
The two companies may soon be competing on another front too: it was yesterday suggested that Google Home is essentially nothing more than a Chromecast with speakers and microphone, and might considerably undercut Amazon’s own Echo device.