Amazon and Apple get co-opetitive
More Apple products are getting the stamp of approval from Amazon, which will officially enable the sale of a range of new devices on-site from the tech brand.
Amazon is approving the sale of the latest iPad Pro, iPhone and Apple Watch models by authorized resellers rather than just through the third-party marketplace, according to TechCrunch. Independent sellers will, in fact, have their listings removed. Amazon already allows the official sale of some products, such as laptops and Beats headphones.
The change in the trade partner relationship raises questions about the extent to which Amazon considers Apple to be a competitor and what Amazon’s long-term plan might be for the device market. The two companies have been involved in an ongoing push/pull over their competitive devices, with Amazon sometimes removing Apple products from its site or Apple refusing to play ball with Amazon in some other manner.
For instance, in 2015, Amazon stopped selling Apple TV, arguing that it didn’t work well with Prime Video. At the same time, surprisingly, Amazon decided to discontinue its Amazon Fire TV, the product most directly competitive with Apple TV. In 2016, however, Amazon introduced its upgraded streaming device, the Amazon Fire TV Stick, which can be plugged into any television’s HDMI port and is Alexa-enabled.
But in 2017, Apple and Amazon reached a deal and announced the return of Apple TV to Amazon, in conjunction with the appearance of the Amazon Video app on the device according, to TechCrunch.
The items Amazon continues to disallow from sale on the website, however, may indicate where it sees its real competition in the future. Apple’s HomePod voice assistant is, according to TechCrunch, still not for sale on Amazon. This is also true of Google’s competitive Google Home product.
A willingness to play ball despite having some of its products restricted may speak to other concerns for Apple. There has been speculation that dwindling unit sales thanks to market saturation and the price of new devices was the reason behind Apple no longer disclosing unit sales for iPhones and some other products.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you make of what appears to be a warming relationship between Amazon and Apple? Will the Amazon/Apple sales relationship affect rivals competing with either company?