Why has Amazon pulled its Music Android app from Chromebooks?

Over the weekend I received an interesting email from Jeremy, one of the readers of this site. He noticed that his previously installed Amazon Music Android app disappeared from his Chromebook. Here’s the email:

Wondering if you know what’s up with the Amazon Music app basically disappearing from Chromebooks (I have an HP x360 14) and then nowhere available on the Google Play Store for download. Below is an infuriating chat with two Amazon reps who didn’t seem to really know what was going on and kept referring me to links that were just for PCs and Macs. 

I don’t use Amazon Music but I did look into this. Not only did I verify that the Android app is missing from the Google Play Store on my Chromebook, but I found out that this situation has actually been happening for months. Here’s a Reddit thread from June where a Chromebook owner reported the exact same experience.

When I use the Google Play Store app on my Chromebook, a search for Amazon Music comes up empty. I can find the app when searching the Play Store on the web, but as you can see, Amazon Music is now only compatible with my phones, not my Chromebooks or my Android TV devices, for that matter:

I’ve reached out to Amazon’s PR team asking why the Chromebook compatibility is gone and when this action occurred. I’ll update this post if/when I receive a response.

All I can think of here for a cause is the ongoing, behind-the-scenes battle between Amazon and Google.

Amazon makes its own Android tablets, for example, but chose not to license the suite of Google apps and services. Instead, it has its own app store for the FireHD tablets. Amazon and Google also compete head-to-head in the smart display market: Amazon makes the Echo Show devices while Google sells its Google Nest Hub products. Indeed, YouTube was originally available on Amazon Echo products but Google pulled support in 2017. Only recently did the two work out some of their differences and bring YouTube to Amazon’s FireTV along with Chromecast support for Amazon’s Prime Video.

For consumers of either ecosystem, this kind of tit-for-tat services approach is simply a poor experience.

I can’t think of a technical reason for the Android version Amazon Music to be pulled from Chromebooks, so I’m curious to hear what Amazon has to say on this matter. And while you can use the Amazon Music website to stream music to a Chromebook, that’s not at all helpful for those who want to download tunes for offline playback. My hope is that Amazon reconsiders this situation and restores Chromebook support for its Android app in this case.

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