As Amazon and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, continue to skirmish over carrying each other’s products, Amazon may be mulling over launching its own version of YouTube.
Alphabet made the decision in early December to pull YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show, and will soon remove it from Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices as well. The move came after Amazon refused to carry some Google hardware, including the Google Chromecast and Google Home, as well as not supporting Amazon Video on Google’s Chromecast hardware.
Two patent filings from Amazon, first spotted by the site the TV Answer Man, describe services called “Amazon Tube” or “Open Tube” that would create “on-line network services that enable users to share content, photos videos, text, data, images and other electronic works.” The two patent filings are identical, except for the name of the service. Amazon’s patents were filed on December 5 — the same day news became public that YouTube was being pulled from Amazon hardware.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Amazon will actually build out any of this — large companies like Amazon and Google file patents all of the time for products and services that never see the light of day. And getting a video-sharing service up and running is no small task. Allowing users to share content rapidly gets you into all of the headaches of dealing with user-generated content, from creating a smooth process for uploading video to screening for adult or violent content. YouTube competitor Vimeo has struggled for years, and even YouTube has struggled in past years to turn a profit.
The filing could be purely performative, meant to signal that Amazon is willing to let YouTube go. Still, while Amazon is usually more than willing to lose money in pursuit of market share, taking on the undisputed giant in online video is still a daunting prospect. Plus, it’ll have to think of a better name than “Amazon Tube.”