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Roku Calls Google an ‘Unchecked Monopolist’ in Move to Circumvent Roku Channel Store with YouTube TV

Jason Gurwin

In their growing feud, earlier today YouTube embedded access to YouTube TV in their Roku App. By doing this, they created a work-around, despite the fact that they no longer have a deal with Roku to distribute YouTube TV on the Roku Channel Store.

In a statement to The Streamable, Roku said:

Google’s actions are the clear conduct of an unchecked monopolist bent on crushing fair competition and harming consumer choice. The bundling announcement by YouTube highlights the kind of predatory business practices used by Google that Congress, Attorneys General and regulatory bodies around the world are investigating. Roku has not asked for one additional dollar in financial value from YouTubeTV.

We have simply asked Google to stop their anticompetitive behavior of manipulating user search results to their unique financial benefit and to stop demanding access to sensitive data that no other partner on our platform receives today. In response, Google has continued its practice of blatantly leveraging its YouTube monopoly to force an independent company into an agreement that is both bad for consumers and bad for fair competition.

At this point, Roku hasn’t removed the YouTube app for the Roku Channel Store.

YouTube TV subscribers who use Roku as their streaming device can now access YouTube TV through the regular YouTube app. From the YouTube App, there is now an option to “Go to YouTube TV” on their YouTube sidebar. Selecting this option will switch them over to the YouTube TV interface. Be advised: you won’t be able to sign up for YouTube TV through this workaround — you’ll have to either be an existing customer or sign up elsewhere.

Currently, Roku and Google are at a standstill on a new deal — Roku is concerned with Google’s insistence on capturing user data and manipulating the platform’s search results to favor YouTube, while Google is unsure of Roku’s technological capabilities and wants assurance the company will upgrade its tech. Just yesterday, Roku exec Scott Rosenberg said he had no news on the topic but wants to resolve this issue “in a positive way for Roku and Google and, ultimately, for consumers.”

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