Amazon to stop selling Google Chromecast, Apple TV

The e-commerce giant wants to "avoid customer confusion" by directing buyers to other video-streaming devices, including its own family of Fire TV gadgets.

Amazon will dump two of the most popular video-streaming devices from its site. Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon is banning sales of Apple and Google video-streaming devices on its site, in a potential effort to outmaneuver two main competitors.

The world's largest online retailer sent an email to its marketplace sellers, saying it will stop offering Apple TV and Google's Chromecast, according to a Bloomberg report. No new listings will be allowed and all inventory will be removed October 29.

An Amazon spokesperson said the change had to do with its Prime Video service, which isn't easily available on the Apple and Google devices.

"Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime," an Amazon spokesperson said Thursday in an email to CNET. "It's important that the streaming-media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion."

The new ban comes just ahead of the holiday season, when retailers make most of their money. In anticipation of all that purchasing, Apple and Google last month updated their video-streaming devices, as did Amazon, which makes a family of streaming gadgets under the moniker Fire TV.

Amazon's ban on Chromecasts is global and includes all Chromecast devices, including older-generation models, according to a personal familiar with the matter. Google's Nexus Player video-streaming box will also be removed from Amazon's site.

The move underscores Amazon's dedication to nurturing its homegrown hardware as well as its Prime $99-a-year premium membership program, even at the expense of e-commerce sales. Prime Video, Amazon's rival to Netflix, is an arm of Prime that lets members stream as much as they like from a set catalog of video. The company has been dedicating more resources to Prime Video, sealing deals for top content like HBO original series and funneling investment to its own TV shows, like Emmy-winning comedy "Transparent."

Banning the Google and Apple streaming-media devices means Amazon will be eliminating two of the most popular electronics in its online store. Google's Chromecast is routinely on Amazon's Top 10 ranking for best-selling electronics. On Thursday, it was No. 6 and the first non-Amazon device on the list. Apple TV is the 16th most popular device Amazon sells.

The Amazon spokesperson said Roku's streaming player, Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation, along with Amazon's own Fire TV, "are excellent choices" -- referencing that these devices won't be affected by the change.

A representative for Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.

According to researcher eMarketer, connected game consoles -- like the Xbox and PlayStation -- have the most US connected-TV users, with nearly 52 million this year. Further down the list, Chromecast and Roku both have nearly 23 million users and Apple TV has about 18 million. Amazon's Fire TV didn't make the cut for being in the top six.

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