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 Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.