Roku woke up this Monday ready for beef, and honestly, I’m here for it. This morning, the popular streaming box company sent to customers an email straight up blasting Google, accusing it of “unfair and anticompetitive requirements,” designed to manipulate user search results and to collect user data. In case any of you are living under a rock, this is Google’s modus operandi, so let’s say we’re not exactly shooketh by these claims.
This all apparently stems from Google’s negotiations with Roku to keep YouTube TV on the platform, and because Roku values its users very highly, Roku customers may soon lose their access to YouTube TV if Google doesn’t change their requirements.
Here’s the complete message headed out to Roku user inboxes.
We are sending this email to update you on the possibility that Google may take away your access to the YouTube TV channel on Roku. Recent negotiations with Google to carry YouTube TV have broken down because Roku cannot accept Google’s unfair terms as we believe they could harm our users.
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.
While we are deeply disappointed in Google’s decision to use their monopoly power to try and force terms that will directly harm streamers, we remain committed to reaching an agreement with Google that preserves your access to YouTube TV, protects your data and ensures a level playing field for companies to compete. We encourage you to contact Google and urge them to reach an agreement to continue offering YouTube TV on Roku and to follow standard industry practices pledging not to require access to sensitive search data or to manipulate your search results.
This, obviously, is unfortunate to hear. Many people make the conscious decision to use Google services, knowing their data, location history, and everything else is being collected and used against them to sell them stuff. That is Google’s business and it’s very profitable for them. However, Roku did just use some major fighting words, so it’ll be interesting to see if Google claps back. We doubt they will, but it sure would be awesome.
Sadly, when the likes of these companies fight, it’s the users who suffer. We’ll keep you updated on this.