Is Time Warner Warming to Apple’s TV Idea?

Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) appears to be sending out mixed signals regarding a potential partnership with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) on a new television product. TWC president Rob Marcus said on Wednesday that his company may be willing to sell TV subscriptions using third-party technology, even if “in some of those cases that may mean giving up control of the interface.”

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Time Warner Cable is “hard at work at a cloud-based [TV] guide experience,” Marcus said. “In some of those cases that may mean giving up control of the interface. It really is all about maximizing the capabilities … to give Time Warner Cable customers the best possible experience.”

While Marcus did not mention Apple, there had been reports that the company was in discussions with the iPhone maker on a possible concept. However, the main stumbling block has been the cable companies’ worry that giving total user interface control to Apple may result in the latter controlling the relationship with consumers. Marcus did he emphasize that point, saying the company was not willing “to give up the customer relationship.”

In turn, Apple is said to be wary of releasing a television device if it is not a significantly revolutionary product.

Pacific Crest senior research analyst Andy Hargreaves has said it would be “virtually impossible” for Apple to acquire the rights for broadcast and cable network content outside of the current model, since content is “owned by a relatively small group of companies that have little interest in alternative models.”

Shares of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) are trading up 27 cents at $45.78 as of 3:19 pm EST, while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock is trading down .40% at $699.37 today.

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