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Amazon's Fire Stick Is a Challenge to Google and a Threat to Roku

Amazon's Fire Stick Is a Challenge to Google and a Threat to Roku
Courtesy Amazon

Amazon’s parade of new devices marches on. The company announced on Monday that it’s taking preorders for a streaming media stick that plugs into a TV, making it possible to watch a range of Internet video services.

The Fire Stick mimics most of the capability of the Fire TV, the streaming media box Amazon.com released earlier this year. It comes with a remote control (sans the Fire TV’s voice controls) and access to Amazon’s Prime Video, as well as the standard lineup of such services as Netflix, Hulu, and WatchESPN. The Fire Stick also resembles Google’s Chromecast, which went on sale last summer. The Fire Stick costs $39, slightly more than the $35 Google version. For the next two days, Prime members can buy it for $19.

Courtesy Amazon
If Amazon’s product rivals Chromecast in sales, Jeff Bezos will likely be more than satisfied. Google sold about 3.8 million Chromecast players last year, tying Roku as the bestselling brand in the streaming media player market, according to market research firm Parks Associates. Although its sales have slowed this year, Google’s player accounted for 20 percent of sales last quarter and has supplanted Apple TV as the market’s second-most popular brand. Amazon’s Fire TV accounted for 10 percent of sales over the same period, and only 8 percent of people surveyed by Parks Associates said it was their primary streaming device.