Amazon's surprise acquisition of Twitch yesterday came several months after Google (through YouTube) was reported to be the streaming site's buyer. A VentureBeat report last month reaffirmed that Google would buy the site, which has obviously not ended up being the case. As it turns out, a deal between Google and Twitch could not be reached due to the possibility of antitrust complaints.
Forbes reports that Google was "concerned" with the prospect of antitrust issues it could face if it went through with the deal, which would have put it in control of YouTube (the largest video site on the Internet) and Twitch (the largest live-streaming site in the United States). Google has faced numerous antitrust issues in the past, both in the US and in Europe, with regard to its search engine and the use of Android to promote its services, among other things.
As a result of the antitrust concerns, Google and Twitch reportedly could not come to terms on a breakup fee, which is a sum paid to one company or the other if an acquisition falls apart.
Amazon's $970 million acquisition of Twitch will not change how the streaming site operates, according to the two companies. During a live stream with fans yesterday, Amazon's Michael Frazzini said, "Twitch is absolutely doing a great job and we don't want to change that at all." The two sides suggested Amazon's additional resources will instead help the site to grow.
Twitch received a great deal of criticism earlier this month when it began automatically muting videos with copyrighted audio--something which had the unintended side effect of muting videos containing nothing more than in-game audio. The move was believed to be a precursor to an acquisition by YouTube, although Twitch's growing size guaranteed it would eventually have to address the use of copyrighted material in its streams.
Both Twitch and Amazon have expanded into areas they were not previously involved in the past few years. Twitch recently began streaming concerts, while Amazon has moved into games by acquiring Double Helix Games and other game industry talent.