The Cloud Blame Game: Netflix vs. Verizon

Netflix and Verizon have engaged in a battle where Netflix has thrown the first punches by displaying an error tailored to Verizon FiOS broadband customers specifically saying “The Verizon network is crowded right now. Adjusting video for smoother playback…” Yuri Victor, a Vox Media designer, posted a tweet showing the error message being displayed when he was trying to connect to a Netflix show on his Macbook.

So how did Verizon respond? As expected, Verizon’s legal team wrote a lengthy cease and desist letter to Netflix, chastising the cloud video service for singling out Verizon. An excerpt of the C&D letter says:

“There is no basis for Netflix to assert that issues with respect to playback of any particular video session are attributable solely to the Verizon network. As Netflix knows, there are many different factors that can affect traffic on the Internet, including choices by Netflix in how to connect to its customers and deliver content to them, interconnection between multiple networks, and consumer in-home issues such as in-home wiring, WiFi, and device settings and capabilities.”

What was Netflix’s response to the C&D letter? Blame Verizon. Netflix stated that it would take down the message however it reserved the right to bring the message back and Netflix replied that the cloud video streaming problems were related to Verizon’s network, not Netflix’s cloud which is based on Amazon AWS.

Quartz is reporting that FiOS customers seem to be experiencing more problems by the day when accessing Netflix’s cloud streaming services. Some experts suggest that the problem may be getting worse. As the standoff between Netflix and Verizon continues to intensify, it still leaves consumers with one question: “Who is really to blame for the poor performance some Netflix customers say that they are experiencing?” It really depends on who you ask.