Amazon and Google Are Back to Feuding, This Time Over Smart Homes and Nest

By Tom McKay on at

E-retail giant Amazon has declined to feature any future products from Google’s line of smart home products, Nest, and as a result, Nest won’t be restocking those items currently listed on the site once they sell out.

Per Business Insider, during a recent conference call between the two tech giants, Amazon informed Google’s team about the decision to stop stocking new Nest products including thermostats and home security systems. A person familiar with the call said the Amazon team appeared to hint that the order came from as high as CEO Jeff Bezos:

On that call, says the person, Amazon told Nest that the decision came from the top — and that it had nothing to do with the quality of Nest products, which had great reviews on Amazon. Nest employees who were on the call ended the discussion under the impression that the decision had come from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, although Amazon’s retail team didn’t explicitly say that at any point, according to a person familiar with the call.

As a result of Amazon’s decision, Nest decided to stop selling any of its products through Amazon, meaning the limited number of Nest devices listed on Amazon today are expected to disappear from the site once current inventory is sold out, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It’s not clear yet whether third party sellers will still be allowed to sell Nest devices on Amazon.

As Business Insider noted, Amazon is still trying extremely hard to sell consumers on its voice assistant, Alexa, apparently in the belief that the technology will eventually become as ubiquitous as smart phones and tablets (two waves it largely missed out on). It’s also moving big into smart home products, like its $1 billion (£723m) acquisition of doorbell company Ring.

Google is directly competing in both of those spaces, and its push to fold Nest back under its brand from parent company Alphabet seems motivated by the same kind of desire to monetise even more parts of consumers’ lives as motivates Amazon. Basically, both want to monitor customers’ smart home usage and try to snatch up as much auditory information as possible while they’re there via smart speakers that can listen in on verbal commands, all in the hopes of building better ad profiles. Nest has a mixed track record at Google, though, so it’s also possible the company is bringing it closer to home in order to redeploy its talent towards other parts of Google’s smart ecosystem.

Amazon has previously sent a middle finger to Google in 2015, when it retaliated against Chromecast and Apple TV for not allowing easy access to its Prime video offerings by striking the devices from its shelves. The companies later feuded over YouTube streams on Amazon’s Fire TV and Show, and Amazon still won’t list the Google Home smart speaker. Though Amazon later seemingly offered to mend relations somewhat by once again allowing Chromecasts to be sold, three months have since passed without that actually happening. [Business Insider]