Google’s YouTube app is blocked on Fire TV ahead of schedule as Amazon directs users to workaround

Google and Amazon’s power struggle appears to have claimed its first casualties with some Fire TV owners finding that the YouTube app has already been deactivated a couple of days ahead of the previous January 1st deadline given by the search giant. Fire TV owners are instead advised to install either Amazon’s own Silk browser or Firefox if they want to access YouTube. 

As you can see, Max the cat is not best pleased with this new development in Amazon and Google’s power play. The spat began months, if not years ago thanks to Amazon refusing to sell Google hardware on its site as well as omitting Chromecast support on its Prime Video service.

Despite reports that Amazon and Google are in productive discussions, which has already resulted in a product listing for Google’s Chromecast devices appearing on the retailer’s website and a Prime Video app being made available for Android TV, the YouTube app would appear to be a trickier subject.

Google had stated this fall that it would also pull YouTube support for both the Fire TV and Echo Show devices due to licensing violations and a ‘lack of reciprocity’ from Amazon. Basically, it seems that Google has had enough of Amazon’s passive-aggressive behavior and has decided to push back some. Amazon, for its part, pushed the ability to sidestep Google’s upcoming blockade of YouTube with the Silk and Firefox browsers. It’s hard to say for certain whether Amazon’s actions goaded Google into pulling YouTube support a couple of days earlier than scheduled, or whether the retailer has taken it upon itself to push users to the aforementioned browsers to get around Google pulling support on January 1st, but the end result is the same.

In the end, the only loser in this battle is the consumer. For its part, Amazon has to understand that YouTube is a service that almost everyone wants present on their Fire TV and Echo Show devices, and as such, the online retailer may have to eat a little humble pie to achieve the required result. Google, well, Google, should have taken steps to remedy the situation when Amazon first decided it wasn’t going to allow the search giants’ products on its site and that its Prime Video service wouldn’t feature any Chromecast support, instead of sitting back and allowing the feud to fester and reach the crisis point that it has.

As someone affected by this squabble, I hope that Google and Amazon can behave like grown-ups at some point and remember that the consumer, not their bruised egos, is the most important part of the equation. For the moment, it’s probably best that you install the Silk or Firefox browser on your Fire TV or Echo Show device if you want to watch YouTube on it.

About the Author: Peter Holden

He's been an Android fan ever since owning an HTC Hero, with the Dell Streak being his first phablet. He currently carries a Pixel 2 XL, Huawei P20 Pro, and a Huawei MediaPad M5 (8.4) in his pockets and thinks nothing of lugging a 17-inch laptop around in his backpack. When not immersed in the world of Android and gadgets, he's an avid sports fan, and like all South Africans, he loves a good Braai (BBQ).