Roku accuses Google of anti-competitive tactics in YouTube TV negotiations
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The streaming platform issued a warning to its customers that the popular service could be pulled in the coming days. Roku accused Google of using its "monopoly position" to force Roku into accepting worse terms.
"Google is attempting to … force Roku into accepting predatory, anticompetitive and discriminatory terms that will directly harm Roku and our users," Roku said in a statement Monday. "Given antitrust suits against Google, investigations by competition authorities of anti-competitive behavior and congressional hearings into Google’s practices, it should come as no surprise that Google is now demanding unfair and anti-competitive terms that harm Roku’s users."
Roku claims that Google has conditioned access to host YouTube TV on providing additional support for the YouTube app, including access to consumer data and an additional, dedicated search for YouTube in the platform’s interface, Axios reported.
Google also allegedly made spec demands on Roku devices, which Roku claims would force them to increase the price of hardware – a move that would help Google’s own Chromecast.
A Google spokesperson responded to the allegations, arguing that the tech giant has worked "in good faith" with Roku and is disappointed in Roku’s "baseless claims."
"All of our work with them has been focused on ensuring a high quality and consistent experience for our viewers," the spokesperson told The Verge. "We have made no requests to access user data or interfere with search results. WE hope we can resolve this for the sake of our mutual users."
Roku controls 38% of streaming market share, according to NPD statistics – a significant advantage in its discussions with Google: Despite that, Roku claimed that it has not demanded any additional money to extend the partnership to YouTube TV.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department has been investigating Google in relation to other antitrust allegations over search and advertising data.