Opinion | Android TV, another example of how Google abuses its market dominance
It seems that Google is up to its old tricks, this time locking out manufacturers from using the Amazon Fire TV platform. Initially reported by Protocol, Google has already been fined billions of Euros in the last few years for abusing its dominance in various markets. Last year, for example, the EU Commission fined Google €1.49 billion for Google AdSense restrictions. Google is currently being investigated by the Indian Competition Commission for monopolistic practices, too.
Now, Protocol reports that Google is using the Android Compatibility Commitment (ACC) to lock manufacturers into using its services. Formerly known as the Anti-Fragmentation Agreement (AFA), the ACC applies to all Google services, not just Android TV.
Citing a "senior employee of a major TV manufacturer", Protocol states that the ACC also applies across markets. Hence, if a manufacturer releases an Android smartphone, it cannot then release an Amazon Fire OS-powered TV. Doing so would apparently risk a manufacturer's access to the Play Store and other Google services.
This may explain why there are so few Amazon Fire TV Edition devices on the market. By our count, there are five Fire TV Edition manufacturers including JVC, Panasonic and Toshiba. Most manufacturers only operate in select markets, though. In the UK, for example, only JVC sells Fire TV Edition devices.
In short, manufacturers cannot release Fire TV Edition TVs if they integrate Android within any of their other products. Seeing as Android currently has about a 73% smartphone market share worldwide and that Google has agreements with 6 of the top 10 smart TV manufacturers, it would seem that the ACC has handicapped Amazon Fire TV Edition TVs from taking off.
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