In the power struggle between YouTube and Roku, the Google-owned video giant may have just outmaneuvered its smaller rival. YouTube today announced it was making YouTube TV, the cable TV-like subscription service at the center of the dispute, available within its main app on Roku devices and later on other devices. The move effectively short-circuited Roku’s decision a week ago to remove YouTube TV from its channel store.
Roku initially had the upper hand in a battle with YouTube TV—a $65 a month service used by three million people, a fraction of Roku’s customer base. But Roku can’t afford to remove the main YouTube app, given that YouTube is the most watched online video service there is. YouTube’s move highlights the unequal power dynamics between the two companies, for sure. But Roku is offbase in calling Google’s actions “the clear conduct of an unchecked monopolist,” as it did.