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Google’s Smart TV Turf War With Amazon Extends to Android TV Partners

Nvidia Shield NewThe ecosystem battle between Google and Amazon has been going on for years — YouTube, for instance, finally arrived on Fire TV models just last year. But a new Protocol report details how Google is currently preventing its Android TV partners from also supporting Fire TV, potentially blocking some key TV makers from working with Amazon.

According to the report, companies that license Google’s smart TV platform, or Android itself, as an operating system, must agree not to support devices using forked versions of the mobile OS, including Amazon’s Fire TV.

The basis for this freeze out seems to be the Android Compatibility Commitment, a set of policies Android manufacturers must adhere to in order to access Google’s Play Store. The policies include not just Android TV devices, but also other products using Android OS, including mobile phones and tablets.

An unnamed source describes the agreement as “completely unique” within the industry.

Google’s efforts appear to be working, with the company touting partnerships with the majority of smart TV manufacturers.

It’s unlikely this will be the last we hear about Google’s and Amazon’s ongoing war. Amazon famously pulled Chromecast devices from its storefront several years ago, though it added them back later. Last year, the two companies came to an agreement that allowed official YouTube apps on Amazon’s Fire TV devices.

Of course, we’ll continue following the battle closely and report from the front line as news develops.

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