A few weeks ago, the animosity between Google and Amazon hit a new level, when Google announced they would pull YouTube support for Amazon products, such as the Echo Show and FireTV. This was in response to Amazon refusing to carry Google products, such as Chromecast, in their online store, and not supporting the technology in Amazon Prime Video.
The company agreed to resume sales of Chromecast devices, and also added Apple TV devices back to its lineup, but it is unclear if this will change Google's policies. This week, Amazon responded, by way of a handful of patent filings and domain registrations. Two trademarks were filed: AMAZONTUBE and OPENTUBE. Both of these names are backed up by domain names: AlexaOpenTube.com, AmazonOpenTube.com and AmazonAlexaTube.com.
At first, these names seem to suggest that Amazon has decided to forego negotiating with Google, but instead compete with them on a new front. It would not be out of the question, as Amazon owns Twitch, one of the livestreaming services for gamers. Adding another user-generated video platform would be a natural transition.
The other possibility, which could be more likely, is that Amazon is going to build their own YouTube client for their platforms. A plan like that would explain the highly derivative nature of the name, which includes "Tube," a suffix used mostly by Google and porn sites. Unless Amazon is truly not trying, chances are we are looking at an Amazon-built, 3rd party interface for YouTube, specifically for Amazon devices. This would allow Amazon to get YouTube capabilities back onto their devices without having to negotiate with Google, but instead use the highly capable YouTube API to circumvent Google entirely.
Microsoft tried a very similar tactic, building their own YouTube app for Windows Phone when Google refused. Google eventually pulled Microsoft's developer key after Microsoft included a feature that Google disagreed with, effectively killing the app. Amazon could face a similar fate; after building and releasing the app, Google could easily disable it with a single keystroke. Amazon is playing a potentially dangerous and expensive game with Google, who has never been afraid to be vindictive.