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Roku calls out Google in abrasive email, may no longer carry Youtube TV

In an email sent out to Roku users today, Google was put in the hot seat in a way that rarely ever happens for the public to see. Roku stated that it may no longer carry Youtube TV or provide its users with the service since negotiations with Google have broken down. It seems as though the two companies can’t make a deal that is beneficial for users.

Roku states that it can’t accept the unfair terms that the search giant has put forth in order for the service to continue functioning on its televisions. According to the email, these terms – whatever they happen to be (the details were not publicly released – would make it easier for Google to manipulate search results, impact the usage of user data and “cost more”, whatever that means.

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With absolutely no holds barred, Roku says that Google’s behavior is anti-competitive, and accused it of using its “monopoly power to try and force terms that will directly harm streamers.” Wow, those are some heavy words! To me, it sounds like communications did more than break down – there must have been a private argument between two big wigs at each company and Roku likely took directly to the email inbox to write a draft. It’s unclear whether or not Google will respond to this, but it may be in its best interest to do so.

Ensuring a great streaming experience at an exceptional value is the core of our business. We will always stand up for our users, which is why we cannot accept Google’s unfair and anticompetitive requirements to manipulate your search results, impact the usage of your data and ultimately cost you more.

Snippet of the Roku email

Roku reinforced its commitment to its users near the end of the email and remains committed to reaching an agreement with Google that preserves its user’s access to Youtube TV, so long as Google agrees to terms that protect data and ensure competition can still operate on level ground. Youtube TV will likely be removed from Roku televisions soon if Google continues to require access to sensitive search data of its users.

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