SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is pulling its popular YouTube video service from Amazon’s Fire TV and Echo Show devices in an escalating feud that has caught consumers in the crossfire.
The decision to block YouTube is retaliation for Amazon’s refusal to sell some Google products that compete with Amazon gadgets. That includes Google’s Chromecast streaming device, an alternative to Fire TV, and an internet-connected speaker called Home, which is trying to catch up to Amazon’s market-leading Echo. Amazon’s high-end Echo Show has a screen that can display video.
“Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV,” Google said in a Tuesday statement.
Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The battle highlights the power that the world’s major technology companies are gaining as they dominate important corners of commerce and communications. As the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon has tremendous sway over what people buy, while the results delivered by Google’s ubiquitous search engine often help determine what people do on and off the web.
Google is hoping to pressure Amazon into selling Google’s products by taking away access to the world’s most widely watched video service. Unless a truce is reached, YouTube will stop working on Fire TV on Jan. 1. YouTube was supposed to disappear from the Echo Show Tuesday, although Amazon has previously found ways to make unauthorized versions of YouTube available on that device.
The dispute between Amazon and Google mirrors the face-offs that occasionally crop up between pay-TV providers and TV networks when it comes time to re-negotiate their deals.
But in this instance, the two tech heavyweights aren’t fighting over licensing fees. Instead, they are jockeying to position their gadgets and, by extension, their digital services into homes as internet-connected appliances and devices become more deeply ingrained in people’s lives.
The bickering between Google and Amazon has been going on several years as they have ratcheted up the competition with each other. One of the first signs that the companies were at odds came when Amazon redesigned Google’s Android mobile software for its Kindle tablets. Two years ago, Amazon ousted Chromecast from its store, even though that device had previously been its top-selling electronics gadget.
The latest standoff between Google and Amazon was ridiculed by a trade association of high-speed internet providers. The group, USTelecom, has been trying to persuade skeptics that internet providers will preserve equal access to all digital services, even if the Federal Communications Commission adopts a proposal to rescind current “net neutrality” regulations .
Internet providers are committed to “protections like no content blocking or throttling,” said USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter. “Seems like some of the biggest internet companies can’t say the same. Ironic, isn’t it?”
Besides withholding Chromecast and the Home speaker from its store, Amazon has also rankled Google by declining to sell an internet-connected thermostat made by Nest, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc. Amazon also doesn’t allow its Prime video streaming service on Chromecast, an omission that Google wants to change.
Amazon also doesn’t sell Apple’s video streaming player. But that could change if Amazon’s video streaming service starts working on Apple TV, something Apple has said would happen by the end of this year. But that announcement was made in June and Prime video still isn’t available on Apple TV.
Roku’s market-leading streaming players are sold through Amazon. Roku’s players feature channels for watching both Prime video and YouTube.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Two players carted off, two others suspended, many fines to follow. One of the NFL’s nastiest rivalries set new lows in prime time, forcing fans to avert their eyes.
What’s to be done about this long-running animosity between the Steelers (10-2) and Bengals (5-7)? Do the teams encourage the mayhem by downplaying it? Do the NFL and the networks promote it by showing it in prime time every season?
Those questions were raised in the aftermath of a game so brutal that it made viewers cringe. Pittsburgh rallied for a 23-20 victory at Paul Brown Stadium on Monday night, its sixth straight win over the Bengals.
What it’ll be remembered for, though, is how it felt more like a street brawl at times. The NFL responded by suspending Steelers receiver JuJu Schuster-Smith and Bengals safety George Iloka for one game each on Tuesday, and fines for other players are expected later in the week.
“I’ll acknowledge there were some unfortunate things in that game that we don’t need in our game — by both sides,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday.
It’s been going on for years, with grudges deepening.
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict — a focal point for much of the animosity — left the field on a cart with a concussion after Schuster-Smith leveled him with a blindside hit. The receiver then stood over the fallen linebacker to taunt him.
As Schuster-Smith apologized for taunting after the game, receiver Antonio Brown yelled: “Karma! It’s called karma!”
The NFL’s letter to Schuster-Smith informing him of the suspension said the egregious hit and the taunting “fell far below the high standards of sportsmanship expected of an NFL player.”
Iloka hit Brown in the head after his touchdown catch tied the game in the fourth quarter. Brown wasn’t hurt, but the NFL suspended the Bengals safety for the type of flagrant hit that has “no place in our game.”
Those moments have defined the rivalry since 2015, when Burfict made a twisting tackle on Le’Veon Bell that left the Steelers running back with a torn knee. Burfict celebrated — the Bengals say he was just happy to make a big play — but Bell and the Steelers took umbrage.
Players went back-and-forth on social media, and they got into a skirmish on the field during pregame warmups in the rematch in Cincinnati. They met again in the playoffs that season at Paul Brown Stadium, and Burfict’s hit to Brown’s head in the closing seconds moved the Steelers in range for a field goal and an 18-16 win.
In response, the NFL suspended Burfict for three games. Burfict went at it with some of the Steelers on social media. The raw feelings grew deeper.
This year’s unpleasantries began with Burfict refusing to shake Steelers’ hands at the coin toss on Oct. 22 at Heinz Field. During the game, Burfict kicked Steelers running back Roosevelt Nix in the chest and was fined $12,154 by the league.
After the game, Bell tweeted video of Burfict’s kick and said: “man dude gotta go man … that’s not football AT ALL!!”
The teams went their ways, but didn’t forget.
After Bengals receiver A.J. Green was ejected from a game at Jacksonville for wrapping his arm around Jalen Ramsey’s neck, taking him down and punching him, Bell and Schuster-Smith had fun at Green’s expense in the Steelers’ next game at Indianapolis. They re-enacted Green’s takedown of Ramsey as part of their touchdown celebration.
Back together in Cincinnati on Monday night, they wasted no time going at it again.
On the game’s sixth play, Bell and Burfict went face-to-face during an interception return. Bell grabbed the linebacker’s facemask and shoved him to the ground, drawing a foul for unnecessary roughness, part of a combined 20 penalties totaling 239 yards. Cincinnati was penalized 13 times for a club-record 173 yards.
Some of the Bengals’ frustration comes from the Steelers’ ability to keep pulling out victories. The Steelers have won six straight, nine of 10 and 14 of 17 in the series.
These two teams are through with each other for the season — on the field, anyway. What comes next?
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis — who has steadfastly defended Burfict — is finishing his contract and could be done in Cincinnati after a 15-year run. He’s 0-7 in the playoffs — including two losses to Pittsburgh — and he’s 8-24 against the Steelers overall.
Burfict will stay. He got a contract extension earlier this year while serving another three-game suspension for an egregious preseason hit. He also was ejected from a game in Tennessee for pushing an official’s arm away.
The question is how to keep it from turning a rivalry into a rumble.
“The rivalry is real,” Bengals linebacker Kevin Minter said after the game. “We come for them, and they come for us.”
AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP—NFL
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Lawyers have presented opening statements in a lawsuit by five families claiming students were placed inside an isolation booth at an elementary school in Washington state.
Roger Davidheiser, a lawyer for the families, told jurors Monday the defendants “acted together to deprive the five children of their constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizure and force,” the Longview Daily News reported .
Davidheiser said evidence will show some of the defendants were negligent and engaged in “outrageous behavior.”
Under state law, isolation and seclusion are only permitted if a student is posing a clear and immediate threat to themselves or others.
Isolation booths are allowed for special education students as part of an individual education plan signed by a parent or guardian.
Attorney Francis Floyd, who is representing Longview School District, said special education teacher Jerry Stein and his two aides did nothing wrong when they placed the 7-year-old son of two plaintiffs in Mint Valley’s isolation booth on a single occasion in 2012.
Floyd also said the record will reveal stark inconsistencies in the stories the children told investigators in video interviews and accounts in sworn depositions.
Davidheiser said all five children have been diagnosed with conditions that include attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
However, Floyd argued against a key contention in the plaintiffs’ case that the booth aggravated the disabilities.
The case is expected to last three weeks.
Defendants include Stein, who retired last year, former Longview School District Superintendent Susanne Cusick and former Mint Valley Principal Patrick Kelley.
Cusick left the district in 2014, and Kelley is now principal of Broadway Learning Center.
Information from: The Daily News, http://www.tdn.com
NEW YORK (AP) — Charlie Ergen, the founder of satellite TV company Dish, is stepping aside as CEO to focus on the company’s wireless business.
He will remain chairman. The new CEO, Dish Network Corp. president Erik Carlson, will report to him.
Dish has substantial rights to spectrum, or airwaves that transmit wireless signals, and has said it wants to build a network for everyday products that have internet connections, known broadly as the “internet of things.”
Jefferies analyst Scott Goldman said Tuesday’s announcement may be a sign that Dish will build that wireless network. The company could also sell or lease its spectrum rights.
The telecom and entertainment industries are changing rapidly as consumers spend more time watching video on their phones and less time on traditional live TV on a big-screen set. Telecom companies AT&T and Verizon are investing in video, with AT&T buying DirecTV and trying to buy HBO and CNN owner Time Warner. Cable company Comcast has launched a wireless business, selling mobile service to its internet customers; rival Charter plans to do the same. Disney is bypassing the traditional cable system and plans to sell ESPN- and Disney-branded video services directly to customers.
Dish’s satellite TV business has been shrinking as consumers “cut the cord” on traditional TV. Its cheaper, online alternative for live TV, Sling, is one of the most popular of its kind and is estimated to have close to 2 million customers. But it faces growing competition from Hulu, YouTube and AT&T’s DirecTV Now. AT&T said Tuesday that DirecTV Now had reached 1 million subscribers.
Ergen has stepped away from the CEO role at Dish before, in 2011 . He returned to the job in 2015 .
WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s not a final ruling, but the Supreme Court is letting the Trump administration fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.
Challenges to the policy are winding through the federal courts, and the justices themselves ultimately are expected to rule on whether the ban is legal. It applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
The justices offered no explanation for their action Monday. The Trump administration had said that blocking the full ban was causing “irreparable harm” because the policy is based on legitimate national security and foreign policy concerns.
The order indicates that the high court might eventually approve the latest version of the ban, announced by President Donald Trump in September. Lower courts have continued to find problems with it.
A presidential spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said the White House was “not surprised” that the court permitted “immediate enforcement of the president’s proclamation limiting travel from countries presenting heightened risks of terrorism.”
Opponents of this and previous versions of the ban say they show a bias against Muslims. They say that was reinforced most recently by Trump’s retweets of anti-Muslim videos.
“President Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret. He has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter. It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. The ACLU is representing some opponents of the ban.
Just two justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, noted their disagreement with court orders allowing the latest policy to take full effect.
The new policy is not expected to cause the chaos that ensued at airports when Trump rolled out his first ban without warning in January.
For people from the six countries covered by the ban, lower courts had said those with a claim of a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those courts said could not be excluded.
The courts were borrowing language the Supreme Court itself came up with last summer to allow partial enforcement of an earlier version of the ban.
Now, those relationships will no longer provide a blanket exemption from the ban, although visa officials can make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
In lawsuits filed in Hawaii and Maryland, federal courts said the updated travel ban violated federal immigration law. The travel policy also applies to travelers from North Korea and to some Venezuelan government officials and their families, but the lawsuits did not challenge those restrictions. Also unaffected are refugees. A temporary ban on refugees expired in October.
All the rulings so far have been on a preliminary basis. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week.
David Levine, a University of California Hastings law school professor, said that by allowing the ban to take effect just days before the appeals court arguments, the justices were signaling their view.
“I think it’s tipping the hand of the Supreme Court,” Levine said. “It suggests that from their understanding, the government is more likely to prevail on the merits than we might have thought.”
Both appeals courts are dealing with the issue on an accelerated basis, and the Supreme Court noted it expects those courts to reach decisions “with appropriate dispatch.”
Quick resolution by appellate courts would allow the Supreme Court to hear and decide the issue this term, by the end of June.
Associated Press writer Eugene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report.
NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is coming for your kids.
The social media giant is launching a messaging app for children to chat with their parents and with friends approved by their parents.
The free app is aimed at kids under 13, who can’t yet have their own accounts under Facebook’s rules, though they often do.
Messenger Kids comes with a slew of controls for parents. The service won’t let children add their own friends or delete messages — only parents can do that. Kids don’t get a separate Facebook or Messenger account; rather, it’s an extension of a parent’s account. Messenger Kids came out Monday in the U.S. as an app for Apple devices — the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Versions for Android and Amazon’s tablets are coming later.
A KIDS-FOCUSED EXPERIENCE
While children do use messaging and social media apps designed for teenagers and adults, those services aren’t built for them, said Kristelle Lavallee, a children’s psychology expert who advised Facebook on designing the service.
“The risk of exposure to things they were not developmentally prepared for is huge,” she said.
Messenger Kids, meanwhile, “is a result of seeing what kids like,” which is images, emoji and the like. Face filters and playful masks can be distracting for adults, Lavallee said, but for kids who are just learning how to form relationships and stay in touch with parents digitally, they are ways to express themselves.
Lavallee, who is content strategist at the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard University, called Messenger Kids a “useful tool” that “makes parents the gatekeepers.” But she said that while Facebook made the app “with the best of intentions,” it’s not yet known how people will actually use it.
As with other tools Facebook has released in the past, intentions and real-world use do not always match up. Facebook’s live video streaming feature, for example, has been used for plenty of innocuous and useful things, but also to stream crimes and suicides.
HOOKED ON FACEBOOK
Is Messenger Kids simply a way for Facebook to rope in the young ones?
Stephen Balkam, CEO of the nonprofit Family Online Safety Institute, said “that train has left the station.”
Federal law prohibits internet companies from collecting personal information on kids under 13 without their parents’ permission and imposes restrictions on advertising to them. This is why Facebook and many other social media companies prohibit younger kids from joining. Even so, Balkam said millions of kids under 13 are already on Facebook, with or without their parents’ approval.
He said Facebook is trying to deal with the situation pragmatically by steering young Facebook users to a service designed for them.
Facebook said Messenger Kids won’t show ads or collect data for marketing, though it will collect some data it says are necessary to run the service. Facebook also said it won’t automatically move users to the regular Messenger or Facebook when they get old enough, though the company might give them the option to move contacts to Messenger down the line.
James Steyer, CEO of the kids-focused non-profit group Common Sense, said that while he liked the idea of a messaging app that requires parental sign-ups, many questions remain. Among them: Will it always remain ad-free, and will parents get ads based on the service?
“Why should parents simply trust that Facebook is acting in the best interest of kids?” Steyer said in a statement. “We encourage Facebook to clarify their policies from the start so that it is perfectly clear what parents are signing up for.”