Did India Arm-Twist Google into Allowing Android TV OEMs to Build Amazon's Fire TV Offerings?

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Google Allowing Its Smart TV Partners Access To Amazon Fire TV OS

Google's Android TV OS is one of the most popular operating systems for Smart TVs. However, Amazon's Fire TV OS is catching up fast. Google always had an upper hand when it comes to the OS that powers a smart TV, but it appears the company has now reached an agreement with Amazon. Moving forward, Amazon's Fire TV OS would power Smart TVs from manufacturers that once stayed loyal to Google's Android TV OS, and India could be the reason behind the developments.

 

Amazon Fire TV OS On Smart TVs From Google's Partners

Smart TVs running Google's Android TV OS seem common. Amazon does have its own Fire TV OS, but it appears the operating system majorly powers Amazon's Fire TV Stick. This scenario could change significantly in the near future.

Amazon has confirmed that it is partnering with TCL, and the latter will be releasing two TV sets running Fire TV software. The new models from TCL with Fire TV OS are expected to be launched in Europe but they could arrive in other parts of the world, including India, in the near future.

In addition to TCL, Amazon is reportedly working closely with Xiaomi and Hisense. Simply put, there would be several Smart TVs, from multiple manufacturers, running Amazon Fire TV OS instead of Android TV OS.

Why Are Smart TV Manufacturers Adopting Amazon's Fire TV OS?

TCL, Hisense, Xiaomi, and other brands, working with multiple smart TV platforms, may not seem like an issue. However, Google asks brands to sign an Android Compatibility Commitment (ACC), and that has been a point of contention.

Formerly known as the Anti-Fragmentation Agreement, the ACC seems to be a restriction that prevented brands from adopting Fire OS or other iterations of Android TV OS. Brands could lose access to Google Play Store across their entire product range if they violated the agreement. Google claims the agreement helps provide "consistent and secure software experiences to users and developers across [its] ecosystem of partner devices".

 

The Competition Commission of India didn't accept the argument, and after a lengthy probe, slapped a hefty fine on Google. Amazon had claimed that "several" Smart TV manufacturers refused to make products with Fire TV OS. The company added that it was Google's restrictions that held manufacturers back.

Google attempted to counter these allegations by stating that manufacturers who signed the ACC were free to sell devices based on any OS. However, if the Smart TVs had Android as the base operating system, they must be compatible with Google's ecosystem for reliable and safe performance.

In reality, by making a Smart TV with Amazon's Fire TV OS, TCL would be risking access to Google's Android for its smartphone business. Needless to mention, no Android smartphone manufacturer who also makes Smart TVs would take such a huge risk.

It appears Google may have softened its stand and let manufacturers install Amazon Fire TV OS. The company may have relented to alleviate some of the intense pressure it is facing from regulators across multiple countries, including India.

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