Two of the biggest names in the tech and telecom worlds are reportedly in talks for a major cooperative deal. According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen have developed a close personal friendship and are mulling over the possibility of joining their two massive companies together in some form. Central to this potential deal is the rumor that the two firms might launch a joint wireless network which could offer perks to both Amazon Prime and Dish Network subscribers, or possibly even combine their streaming services, Amazon Video and Sling TV.
Dish has been steadily losing subscribers lately, likely due to the overall trend of customers leaving cable and satellite providers in favor of over-the-top streaming services. Dish is the owner of the wildly popular Sling TV service, however, meaning some of those ‘lost’ subscribers have merely just switched to a different Dish offering. Still, as of Q1 2017, Dish still boasts over 13 million monthly subscribers.
Amazon, meanwhile, continues its march towards dominance of the entire internet, particularly the burgeoning “internet of things” that is connecting nearly every household device and item to the internet. Amazon’s Echo and Dot devices have made it so Amazon shoppers don’t even have to pick up a mobile device or computer mouse to shop, instead merely speaking commands while in range of an Amazon device. The Sling TV streaming video service is already compatible on Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices and Dish devices added support for Amazon Alexa just last month, showing there is already growing crosstalk between the two tech giants.
The Wall Street Journal notes that there are no concrete details about such a deal yet, and a merger of any kind is probably unlikely. The rumors of this potential deal come at a time when many of the largest telecommunications firms are merging; soon, consumers could be faced with very few choices when it comes to internet, mobile, cable, and/or satellite providers. Is that worth being able to watch Sling and Amazon content together on one service? Ask Alexa. I bet I know what she’ll say.