Amazon will not stock new products from Google’s Nest unit, including a new Nest thermostat and a home security system. Nest, in response, will stop selling through Amazon altogether.
According to Business Insider, which broke the news, Nest employees who got the news on a conference call from Amazon were “under the impression that the decision had come from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos,” though that impression hasn’t been confirmed.
The decision comes as the two tech behemoths compete for control of connected home devices. Amazon’s Alexa has taken a decisive lead as a control hub for everything from lights to televisions. And this week, Amazon announced it was acquiring Ring, which makes a home security system that would compete directly with Nest’s.
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A major question hanging over Amazon’s decision is whether it violates antitrust rules. There’s little chance of action under the anti-regulation Trump administration, and one legal expert told BI Amazon’s move was “probably not illegal.” But Amazon’s use of its retail reach to stifle competition in a mostly unrelated business seems at the very least ethically dubious – and without a doubt harmful to consumers.
Google, though, has hardly kept its nose clean in the battle between the two giants. It recently stopped the YouTube app from running on some Amazon devices, a move made in response to prior Amazon decisions not to carry other Google devices.