An ongoing feud between Google and Roku reached a new level this morning when YouTube TV left the platform, but now Google is talking on its side of the story, and it is clear that Roku is not as innocent as many thought.
In a blog post, Google explains that Roku was the one who “chose” to renegotiate the terms of YouTube TV distribution on the platform when “initial calls” were only set to renew the current, now previous terms of the “ongoing agreement”.
Our first conversations started with Roku only to renew the current terms of their ongoing agreement with YouTube TV, which has been in place for several years. Our offer to Roku was simple and still: Renew the YouTube TV agreement under the existing reasonable terms.
Roku originally told users that Google was using its position to impose “competitive”
Google directly states that Roku’s claims that YouTube and YouTube TV are changing the search results are “baseless and false.”
To be clear, we have never, as they have claimed, made requests to access user data or interfere with search results. This claim is baseless and false.
Google further explains that Roku asked for “exceptions” to the technical requirements set by Google for a “high quality experience” on YouTube. These Roku exceptions would apparently “ruin the YouTube experience and limit our ability to update YouTube to resolve issues or add new features.” The company specifically points to video codecs and says that 4K HDR or 8K may not work even if Roku purchased supports these resolutions. This suggests AV1, which is widely speculated as a source of conflict between the two companies.
Our agreements with partners have technical requirements to ensure a high quality experience on YouTube. Roku asked for exceptions that would ruin the YouTube experience and limit our ability to update YouTube to resolve issues or add new features. For example, if you do not support open source video codecs, you will not be able to watch YouTube in 4K HDR or 8K even if you purchased a Roku device that supports that resolution.
As Roku explained this morning, the YouTube TV app will be removed for download, but will remain in place for current users. Google repeats this point, and it sounds like the company has no intention of removing the app altogether.
Google again mentioned that “Roku has often engaged in this tactic with other power providers” when they explained that Roku terminated the agreement in “bad faith” during the negotiations.
In particular, Google is asking direct YouTube TV customers to tweet Roku about the removal, a tactic that Roku also asked of its customers. An email reads in part:
In light of Roku’s current position, we encourage you to contact their customer support team to request that they keep YouTube TV on Roku devices here or tweet @roku.
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