Amazon Banks on Browsers to Keep YouTube on Fire TV

Amazon has found a new work-around to keep YouTube on its Fire TV devices despite Google’s threat to block access to its video service by January 1: Fire TV users who opened the YouTube app on the device Thursday were being told to access the service via a TV-optimized web browser instead.

Amazon recently began to distribute both its own Silk browser as well as Mozilla’s Firefox on Fire TV. Now, the company is looking to use those browsers as ways to keep YouTube accessible on the device. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the change in a statement sent to Variety: “I can confirm that YouTube and millions of other websites are accessible by using a web browser like Firefox or Silk on Fire TV.”

Amazon’s use of browsers to access YouTube on Fire TV is just the latest in a long-simmering conflict between the two companies. The dispute between the two first caught the attention of the public when Amazon decided to ban Google’s streaming devices from its website two years ago. It intensified this fall, when Google began to block YouTube on Amazon’s new Echo Show smart speaker with built-in display — a move that was ostensibly about Amazon violating YouTube’s terms of service.

Amazon responded by implementing a work-around to bring YouTube back to the device.   Google struck back by not just once more blocking the video service on the Echo Show, but also threatening to block it on Amazon’s Fire TV devices starting January 1.

More recently, it looked like the two companies may be close to resolving their differences. Amazon started to list Google’s Chromecast on its website, albeit without resuming sales of the device. A Google spokesperson confirmed at the time that the two parties were talking, telling Variety: “We are in productive discussions with Amazon to reach an agreement for the benefit of our mutual customers. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

Amazon’s spokesperson didn’t comment on the status of those negotiations Thursday. Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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