Amazon makes a stupid mistake by banning sales of new Apple TV

“According to BloombergBusiness, Amazon sent an email to its marketplace sellers informing them of its decision to stop allowing that sale of the competing streaming devices, which takes effect on Oct. 29,” Andrés Cardenal writes for The Motley Fool. “The official explanation is that some consumers were getting confused between all the options when looking for a streaming device, and that Apple TV and Chromecast ‘don’t interact well’ with Prime Video, which it now considers a major selling point for Amazon Prime.”

“However, you don’t need a Ph.D. in astrophysics to distinguish between Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast,” Cardenal writes. “In any case, the right solution for that problem would be educating consumers and providing clearer information, not banning competing products from its store. At the end of the day, Amazon’s explanation sounds more like an excuse, and not even a very creative one.”

“From a strategic perspective, Amazon is running a considerable risk here. If Apple and Alphabet decide to retaliate — for example, by removing Amazon’s shopping app from iOS and Android devices — things could get much more serious. It seems like Amazon has more to lose than Apple and Alphabet from a full-blown ecosystem war,” Cardenal writes. “Even worse, Amazon’s move is hurting consumers by limiting their choices and product availability, and this is one of the worst things the company can do. Amazon is first and foremost a retailer, so taking care of customers in its retail business should be its top priority… The decision to ban Apple TV and Chromecast goes against Amazon’s culture and long-term success strategy, so it doesn’t look like a smart move from the online retailer.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on October 3rd:

Amazon had better be careful lest they gain and cement the reputation as “the everything store that doesn’t offer everything.”

Amazon pulled Apple TV from their store, so Apple should pull Amazon apps from their App Store – October 3, 2015
By banning Apple TV and Chromecast, Amazon shows what it means to be a monopolist – October 2, 2015
Amazon to ban sale of Apple TV, other streaming devices – October 1, 2015
Apple TV and voice control: What Siri does that the others don’t – September 18, 2015
With the all-new Apple TV, Apple changes the game, yet again – September 14, 2015
What Apple got right in Apple TV’s user interface – and what needs work – September 11, 2015
New Apple TV has the potential to do for television what iPhone did for mobile phones – September 11, 2015
Apple preps to conquer living room with all-new Apple TV – September 11, 2015
Hands-on with the all-new Apple TV – September 10, 2015
Gruber: Apple TV will define how all TVs will work in a few years – September 10, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward W.” for the heads up.]


  1. This is particularly illegal.

    It would be similar to a mall telling Sears they can’t sell Sony TVs because the mall has landed a Samsung store a few stalls down.

    Let’s look it another way, the mall telling Footlocker they can’t sell Nike Air Jordan’s, for any reason.

    The Market Place merchants that sell Apple TVs should tell Amazon to STFU.

    1. Illegal? Since when can’t stores sell what they want to sell? Amazon isn’t a mall renting space to autonomous businesses. It is a retail business that allows people to use it’s built in customer base to sell more products. People who don’t like it can sell somewhere else. They’re not locked in to selling at Amazon. Go sell at eBay.
      But Amazon surely has the right to sell what it wants on its own Web site. By your brilliant logic, Apple should be required to sell Microsoft Surface at its stores?
      Illegal. LOL. Suuuuuree….

      1. When a vendor has a product to sell, even though Amazon provides the market place, they cannot tell a vendor what to sell or not sell, as long as it’s not illegal. They can’t sell knock-offs, but surely they do. Amazon does not police that. They can’t sell illicit drugs, or drugs at all, but they do sell vitamins. The vendor typically packages and ships from their own residence. Seriously it would be the same as eBay telling their users that they can’t sell Apple TVs. Jesus toast is a grey area, not sure about that.

        Amazon cannot tell market place sellers that they can’t sell Apple TVs. This is an anti-trust issue, simple. Apple, on the other hand, can stop selling Bose headphones because they are the proprietor.

        The only thing Amazon can do, and they do this a lot, is not sell as “Shipped and Sold by Amazon.” Which means they are the proprietor.

        Does your town have a flea market? What if the market told the vendors they couldn’t sell fishing poles? It’s that silly, I assure you.

          1. Okay I agree on that one. And that’s the kind of argument I need. I may have lost here. One more try…

            I am thinking that food preparation is a special case and is regulated in a different way.

            There is the whole Coke Pepsi thing. What do malls and markets do with soft drink agreements?

        1. Depending on what was in the agreement vendors make with Amazon, it’s not a problem or illegal at all.. Simply Amazon exercising a clause that was agreed upon. When is the last time a Bank sent you a notice that the agreement is being changed?

            1. Since both parties agreed to the agreement containing the clause and precedent for “may be changed at any time” clauses exist, it may be hard to argue in court that the clause Amazon used in the agreement is null and void. If found to be invalid, a new agreement will have to be drawn up which may not be to the further benefit of the vendor. On the other hand you can think that since Amazon refuses to allow sale of such products, the vendor is now not responsible for ‘matching’ the price at Amazon of such items for sale via other outlets.

      2. Actually Amazon IS the Mall. if Apple allowed other sellers on its site then those would have to be allowed to sell what they choose. So yes, what Amazon is doing is illegal.

        1. You’re mostly correct. Yes, Amazon is the mall, but what they’re doing is not illegal. Amazon retains the right to change its terms and conditions for 3rd party vendors selling goods through Amazon’s Marketplace.

          It could be considered illegal if they also prohibited those vendors from selling the same goods through some other means, such as their own website perhaps. Which I don’t believe is the case?

      1. There is no monopoly issue here, not even a shadow of one. Apple can sell Apple TVs through any number of alternate retailers.

        But its a stupid move for Amazon. Damages their brand to be seen playing selfish games like this against their own customers.

            1. Collusion usually requires peers to conspire as was the case with the ebook case.. Apple simply got caught up in it by agreeing with it and participating in making their own additions to the final agreement. Apple had the same right of refusal as Amazon does now.

      2. Working on it. Second stooge soon to be hired to monitor Apple just because it’s Apple. DOJ is working on modifying documents to make sure Amazon is free an clear to this crap. Another set of documents are being prepared just in case Apple gets pissed and complains about it. Look for a 800 Million Fine just for complaining and another 1.5 Billion just because it’s Apple. hehe

      1. No. And I’m not sure why people have a hard time understanding this… Apple only collects a share of digital content that is pushed to users through their distribution channel. The 30% fee basically pays for storage on the server and the bandwidth to distribute the app and of course goes towards development of the platform.

        1. So you’re saying if ebooks, digital movies and music is purchased through the Amazon iOS App they get charged 30% and physical items purchased through the App don’t? How is that managed so Apple gets the ‘right’ amount in a mixed shopping cart?

  2. If Apple really wanted to retaliate against Amazon, all they have to do is partner up with which could cut into Amazon’s stranglehold on the marketplace. Then, Amazon would really be shooting themselves in the foot!

    1. the only customers lost when they quit selling confederate merch, from years growing up and attending college in that area, are the “brave: meatheads who are inclined to violence as long as they have a mob behind them, who aren’t very well educated and/or who desperately need something to hold up their own ego they have into a fight that ended years ago,,,,that some of their grandpa’s soundly lost.

  3. Would it help if the DOJ forced Amazon to split up in 2 companies? The on-line store itself, and a new company that produces actual Amazon products like Kindle, data on people’s searching/buying behavior, etc. ?
    Oh yeah, and they need to appoint a monitor to spy on Amazon’s activities from the inside who charges them horrendous fees.

  4. They are making Best Buy’s mistake. Reducing their Apple supplies is a huge mistake. If they have no Apple products it won’t even be worth it to pay for Amazon Prime. Electronics are more and more becoming something I do not need or want if Apple didn’t make it. It was different when I needed disks, would buy physical software, various devices that have all been replaced by software and online services, but now most electronics stores are antiquated time capsules with nothing any modern person needs.

    1. I’m sure Apple sales are a much larger portion of revenues for stores like Best Buy. On Amazon it would be interesting to see how big a portion it really is. Combined Chromecast and AppleTV sales on Amazon probably don’t even make a drop in the bucket towards Amazon’s revenue stream.

    2. Wait, you pay for Amazon Prime just so you can order Apple products? Then of course it makes no sense for you to keep Prime. In fact, that’s a total waste of money.

      I happen to really like Prime for the fast delivery and I’ve never ordered (nor will I ever) an Apple product from them.

  5. For a company that has never had a positive quarter since it’s inception, this is rich. “We can’t turn a profit, so lets sell even less stuff.” With margins so thin on almost everything they sell, they need their consumer electronics to pick up the slack and it has always looked desperate to me.

    Bezos needs to step down from Amazon and go invent a flying car with Elon Musk.

    I like Amazon for their primary business purpose, delivering my toothpaste. They cheapen the brand when they try to produce consumer electronics. Take their tablet for example, it sucks and they know it, so they don’t want it on the same page as an iPad. Ditto on the FireTV, that dumb Alexa thing, and that flop of a smartphone.

    All that being said, I support Amazon’s decision to boot AppleTV and Chromecast. It is their platform, they can do whatever they want. Besides, I don’t see Apple selling any Kindle’s on their website.

    1. Fire TV vs Apple TV…..we’ll see soon enough. However, according to the reviews of Amazon’s Fire TV it doesn’t look to promising at the moment as some are having serious issues with it.

      IMO, if you have the killer streaming platform of choice for consumers then you can do crap like this but at the moment Amazon is far away from having the platform of choice, much less a killer one, and the “confusion” excuse really stinks to high heaven. At the moment, I think I’d stick to retail sales if I were Amazon instead of firing the first shots of a potential streaming platform war with competitors who have a better platform/service.

  6. As a long-term Apple customer (since Apple II+ in 1979) and shareholder, and also a long-time Amazon Prime customer, this decision by Amazon does not surprise nor bother me. In fact, since there has never been an Amazon Instant Video channel on Apple TV (while there is HULU and NETFLIX), the decision by Amazon could be justified.

    Of course, I don’t know if Apple or Amazon is responsible for the lack of a channel, but as an owner of both Amazon videos and iTunes videos, I find it inconvenient. In fact, I resisted buying an AppleTV for years because it lacked an Amazon channel and I tend to use other streaming devices (Sony PS3, and built in to TV) more often than my AppleTV. AppleTV is the only streaming platform that I can think of (other than Google) that does not have an Amazon video channel.

    (I have always personally believed that Apple has resisted offering the Amazon channel, but this is speculation on my part. Perhaps Amazon’s decision is justified since customers of Amazon instant video cannot play their owned products on Apple devices.)

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.