Google and Amazon: Two Dominant Dogs Snap and Snarl at One Another

March 13, 2020

DarkCyber read “How Google Kneecapped Amazon’s Smart TV Efforts.” The uptake on criminal lingo continues. For those not hip to the argot of some technology savvy professionals, the Urban Dictionary defines the concept this way:

The act of permanently destroying someone’s kneecaps. Often done with a firearm (as popularized in film and television), a baseball bat or lead pipe or other blunt instrument, or a power drill (often used in conjunction with a countersunk drill bit and popular with the IRA).

Yes, the elegance of business competition requires these metaphors it seems. DarkCyber thinks the article is “about” the collision of cleverness and rapaciousness. But enough of our philosophical wanderings. What did Google do to Amazon, assuming online services have joints which keep bone and joint doctors busy?

The write up states:

Any company that licenses Google’s Android TV operating system for some of its smart TVs or even uses Android as a mobile operating system has to agree to terms that prevent it from also building devices using forked versions of Android like Amazon’s Fire TV operating system, according to multiple sources. If a company were to break those terms, it could lose access to the Play Store and Google’s apps for all of its devices.

Ah, ha! The kneecapping is not physical; those making devices sign a contract.

Plus, there’s another Googley twist of the 6 mm drill bit, a metaphor for kneecapping explained above:

At the center of Google’s efforts to block Amazon’s smart TV ambitions is the Android Compatibility Commitment — a confidential set of policies formerly known as the Anti-Fragmentation Agreement — that manufacturers of Android devices have to agree to in order to get access to Google’s Play Store. Google has been developing Android as an open-source operating system, while at the same time keeping much tighter control of what device manufacturers can do if they want access to the Play Store as well as the company’s suite of apps. For Android TV, Google’s apps include a highly customized launcher, or home screen, optimized for big-screen environments, as well as a TV version of its Play Store. Google policies are meant to set a baseline for compatible Android devices and guarantee that apps developed for one Android device also work on another. The company also gives developers some latitude, allowing them to build their own versions of Android based on the operating system’s open source code, as long as they follow Google’s compatibility requirements.


How will the issue be resolved? Legal eagles will flap and squawk. Customers can vote with their purchases. But TVs cost very little because “advertising” and data are often useful sources of revenue. Regulators can regulate, just as they have since Google and Amazon discovered the benefits of their interesting business activities.

Regardless of the outcome between the assailant and the victim, the article reveals some of the more charming facets of two “must have” businesses. How can a person advance his or her understanding of the kneecapping allegation.

DarkCyber will run a Google query for business ethics and purchase a copy of Business Ethics: Best Practices for Designing and Managing Ethical Organizations from Amazon. You have to find your own way through the labyrinths of the underworld, you gangster, no mercy, no malice, as the pundit, scholar, entrepreneur, and media phenomenon Scott Gallaway has said.

Stephen E Arnold, March 12, 2020


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