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Roku warns YouTube TV may be dropped over 'unfair' Google demands

Roku is accusing Google of attempting to use its "monopoly power" to force Roku into accepting "unfair terms" to continue carrying YouTube TV on its devices.

WASHINGTON — Roku warned its users on Monday that YouTube TV might be removed from its platform, alleging anti-competitive demands from Google, according to reports.

"Recent negotiations with Google to carry YouTube TV have broken down because Roku cannot accept Google's unfair terms as we believe they could harm our users," Roku said in the email about contract negotiations, according to Axios. Google is the parent company of YouTube and YouTube TV.

Specifics on the contract negotiations were not announced, but Roku's email claimed Google was pushing for "unfair and anti-competitive requirements to manipulate your search results, impact the usage of your data and ultimately cost you more."

According to Axios, Roku claims Google is threatening to remove YouTube TV to force Roku into granting preferential access to its consumer data. Roku also accused Google of attempting to use its "monopoly power" to force Roku into accepting certain terms.

In response, Google rejected Roku's claims that it was trying to take control of user data and limit users, CBS MoneyWatch reported. A spokesperson told CBS that Roku made "baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations."

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Credit: AP
This Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, file photo shows the YouTube TV logo at the YouTube Space LA in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Both Roku and YouTube TV could lose millions of viewers if a deal isn't reached. At the beginning of 2021, Roku reported it had more than 50 million active accounts. During an earnings call in Oct. 2020, Google reported YouTube TV has 3 million paid subscribers.

This is the latest concern for Google after federal and state antitrust authorities sued the online search giant last year. The Justice Department has alleged that Google abuses its dominance in online search and advertising. The state lawsuit claims that Google has been abusing its power as the internet's main gateway in a way that hurts consumers habitually feeding personal information into its search engine and advertisers pouring billions of dollars into its vast marketing network.

Back in October, Google said in a statement that the Justice Department's lawsuit was "deeply flawed" and that "people use Google because they choose to, not because they're forced to, or because they can't find alternatives."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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