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Google to pull YouTube from Roku devices after failing to reach agreement

Roku Ultra and remote
Roku Ultra and remote (Image credit: Phil Nickinson / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Roku issued a statement calling Google out on its unfair treatment of the platform.
  • In response, Google has decided to pull the YouTube app from new Roku devices.
  • Current users will not be affected by this change.

The ongoing battle between Google and Roku continues as the YouTube app is being pulled from new Roku devices after December 9.

The decision came on Thursday after Roku posted a statement calling Google out for allegedly asserting its dominance to request special treatment on the platform. More specifically, for requiring YouTube as a search preference over other results and requesting special features on Roku that it doesn't mandate on other platforms.

In response, a YouTube spokesperson told Android Central that it's pulling its YouTube app from new Roku devices.

Since our negotiations with Roku earlier this year, we've continued to work with them to find a resolution that benefits our mutual users. Roku has once again chosen to make unproductive and baseless claims rather than try to work constructively with us.Since we haven't been able to continue our conversations in good faith, our partnership for all new Roku devices will unfortunately end on December 9. We are, however, giving Roku the ability to continue distributing both YouTube and YouTube TV apps to all existing users to make sure they are not impacted.

That means current users should still have access even after the December 9 deadline, but new devices will not be able to download either YouTube or YouTube TV.

This year, the two companies have been involved in a very public dispute over negotiations regarding the YouTube TV app. Roku refused to give the service special treatment on its platform and accused Google of "unfair and anti-competitive requirements to manipulate your search results."

This scuffle previously led to the removal of the YouTube TV app until Google folded it into the regular YouTube app. Meanwhile, Google has maintained that it's, in fact, Roku that is seeking special treatment by requesting "exceptions that would break the YouTube experience and limit our ability to update YouTube in order to fix issues or add new features."

In Thursday's statement, Roku highlights the ongoing antitrust lawsuits that Google faces for allegedly asserting dominance and giving its own apps and services preferential treatment on the best Android phones.

Notably, this follows the introduction of a bill introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley that will prohibit dominant platforms from "favoring their own products or services."

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

9 Comments
  • Good thing I have a Google TV Chromecast plugged into my Roku TV!
  • I do as well, but if youtube did vanish from my roku TV, I still would not be happy, Chromecast or mine anyway only cast from my phone and don't have YouTube built in.
    this is the problem with all these services. it would not shock me if Google is expecting to be treated differently to any other service, this is something Google would do.
  • I'm sick of these companies having these fights which leads to the consumer getting bit by it. Fact is, I don't believe either of them unless I see official communications about this from either side. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. They both need to just get over it and come to a compromise.
  • Preach! Chuch! Roku wasnts more space but it's a losing battle. Too many alternatives in the wild.
  • Alternatives that aren't even claiming what Roku is claiming and that includes Apple and Amazon.
  • Good. Tell those fascists where to go. Love Roku.
  • If it isn't on Roku it does not exist!
  • Bought Roku to specifically enjoy britbox, now find not available in Australia . waste of our precious basic pension, so disappointed ☹️
  • Try accessing through browser. Awkward, but may work.