Art by Mike Sullivan
Oct. 21, 2021 6:01 AM PDT

In 2019, David Limp, head of Amazon’s devices business, saw an opening.

For years, Roku—Amazon’s chief rival in the market for devices that let you stream video onto television sets—had supplied software to TCL, one of the world’s leading TV makers, to power the Chinese company’s internet-connected TV sets. With that deal coming up for renewal, Limp flew to Berlin to pitch TCL executives on the idea of Amazon replacing Roku software in TCL sets, according to people familiar with the project. Such an agreement would have taken a bite out of Roku’s market share and given Amazon a bigger piece of the advertising and subscription dollars pouring into the streaming-video market.

Amazon cranked out a prototype of a TCL set running on Amazon’s software. But then TCL shocked Amazon executives in 2020 by saying they weren’t ready to part ways with Roku, those people said. Amazon was even more surprised a few months later, the people said, when TCL announced it would replace Roku’s software on a handful of TCL television models in North America after all—with an operating system from Google.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
Exclusive Crypto Venture Capital
‘Winner-Take-Most’: Anthony Noto’s Ambitions for SoFi Take Shape
SoFi CEO Anthony Noto. Photo by Bloomberg. Art by Mike Sullivan
Anthony Noto has long had a knack for grabbing attention. When he was a top executive at Twitter, Noto struck a deal with the NFL to air Thursday night games, thrusting the social media service into the streaming market, to the surprise of even many Twitter employees, according to people who worked there at the time. More recently, SoFi Technologies, the financial services company Noto leads as...
Latest Briefs
 
China Will Ban Companies From Listing on Foreign Exchanges Using VIEs
SoftBank Invests $150 Million in South Korean Metaverse App
Allbirds’ Revenue Rose 33% in Q3
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Gift Hunting E-commerce
The Information’s Top Tech-Adjacent Gifts for 2021
This year, there is no shortage of material—and immaterial—ways to show people you care.
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti. Photo by Bloomberg.
Exclusive Media/Telecom Markets
BuzzFeed’s Commerce Slowdown Undercuts Its Investor Pitch Ahead of Stock Listing
When BuzzFeed unveiled its planned deal to go public last June, its pitch to investors centered around the high growth potential of its commerce business.
Illustration by Jesus Escudero.
Market Research Media/Telecom Startups
Livestream Shopping Is a Messy, Maddening Experience (for Now)
Holiday gift buying is hell. It always has been, and likely always will be, an anxiety-fueled decision tree that no machine-learning algorithm can solve.
Fireblocks CEO Michael Shaulov. Sequoia Capital is investing in the crypto custodian, one of a trio of recent crypto deals by the VC firm.  Photo: Saffello.
Exclusive
Sequoia Capital’s Crypto Frenzy Intensifies With Three New Deals
Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and crypto trading firm FTX are co-leading an investment of more than $100 million in LayerZero Labs, a 10-month-old crypto firm that has yet to launch its product publicly, at a $1 billion valuation, according to two people familiar with the deal.
Art by Haejin Park. Photo by iStock.com/Renphoto. Stickers by Giphy.
Parentverse
Should You Start Concealing Your Children’s Faces on Social Media?
Welcome to the first installment of Parentverse, TI Weekend ’s new advice column for tech-savvy parents raising kids in a tech-dependent world.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Photo: Bloomberg, Illustration: Mike Sullivan
Creator Economy
The Creator Challenges Facing Twitter’s New CEO
Over the past year, Twitter has stepped up efforts to appeal to creators, including acquiring newsletter service Revue, adding live audio feature Spaces, introducing tipping and starting Super Follows, which allow creators to charge their top fans for bonus tweets.