‘Monopoly Power’: Roku Claims Google Demands Preferential Treatment, Threatens Anti-Competitive Policies


Maria Lencki Contributor
Font Size:

Roku officials said YouTube TV may be forced off of the platform due to Google demanding preferential treatment of its services, according to Axios. Roku is a service that allows users to stream shows, movies and live news.

Google reportedly asked Roku to give YouTube search results a prominent placement and block search results from other streaming providers while customers are using YouTube through Roku, Axios reported.

Roku also alleged that Google wants YouTube music results to be favored when voice commands are made, even when a user’s preference is set to another music app like Pandora. They also allegedly require Roku to use specific chipsets or memory cards, which would make the price of the product increase.

The company notified its users on Monday via email that Google may take away access to YouTube TV on their platform.

“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,” the email provided to Axios stated.

Roku added that while they were “deeply disappointed” that Google is using “their monopoly power to try and force terms that will directly harm streamers.”

Roku said they were committed to reaching an agreement with Google that “ensures a level playing field for companies to compete.”

A Google spokesperson said, according to Axios, that they have been “working with Roku in good faith to reach an agreement that benefits [Google’s] viewers and [Roku’s] customers.” (RELATED: Seven House Republicans Pledge To Deny Donations From Big Tech Companies)

“Unfortunately, Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations,” the spokesperson said. “We’re disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations.”

The spokesperson added that they have “made no requests to access user data or interfere with search results” and that they hope to resolve the disagreement.”