Well, that was fast.
The reason? Here's the statement Google gave to the L.A. Times Thursday: "Due to overwhelming demand for Chromecast devices since launch, the 3-month Netflix promotion (which was available in limited quantities) is no longer available."
Sounds simple enough. To Google's credit, there was a "While supplies last" stipulation below every mention of the deal, and the offer was good for both new and current Netflix streaming subscribers. For those of you keeping track, remember Netflix's total streaming subscriber base currently stands at a whopping 39.55 million people, so it's no surprise so many people jumped on the deal when you consider the $35 device ultimately had a real cost of around $11 when you include the free Netflix subscription.
Here's why Google really did it
The thing is, Google's not stupid, and I think they knew exactly what they were getting into by offering -- then quickly dropping -- this deal.
As I wrote yesterday, Google had to know their cheaper device would immediately draw comparisons to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) own $99 solution in Apple TV. In addition, as it stands, Apple TV is admittedly the more comprehensive product as it not only has access to a broader array of web-based content, but also can display content stored locally on Apple iOS-driven gadgets like the iPhone and iPad.
Meanwhile, Chromecast is currently limited to just displaying web content from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and Chrome, and can't (currently) send your device's locally stored pictures and videos over to your TV. Of course, that also means the battery drain on your device isn't as substantial, but it still represents reduced flexibility nonetheless.
And that's exactly why Google needed to draw as much attention to Chromecast as possible in the first place. Heck, it was already cheap at $35, anyway, but throwing in the almost-ludicrous Netflix deal made it simply irresistible to millions upon millions of people.
So now that Chromecast has everybody's attention, will most of the people who missed out on the deal still buy it?
I think so, and you can bet Google does, too.
In fact, I'm sure I'm not alone in kicking myself for not purchasing Chromecast yesterday when I had the chance. Sure, missing out on those three free months of Netflix will cost everybody an extra $24 from now on, but Chromecast's price is already so low it invokes an unmistakable "What do I have to lose?" mentality, anyway.
And while Netflix is surely happy to go along for the ride, Google, for its part, has everything to gain from Chromecast, which serves to broaden consumers' exposure to three of its flagship products and services in YouTube, Google Play, and the Chrome browser.
Well played, Google. Well played.
Fool contributor Steve Symington owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google, and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.