Steve Jobs Opposed an Apple Television According to New Book
A soon-to-be-released book about Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the post-Steve Jobs era claims that the legendary CEO was categorically opposed to the idea of an Apple television set. According to an excerpt seen by Business Insider of Yukari Kane’s book, Haunted Empire, Apple After Steve Jobs, Jobs told his top executives at one of his final company meetings that an Apple television was a bad business idea.
As noted by Kane via Business Insider, Apple regularly hosts “Top 100” meetings with the company’s best executives, managers, and employees. In 2010, at the final Top 100 meeting he attended, Jobs invited the participants to ask him questions. “You’ve got Steve Jobs sitting right here,” said the Apple CEO according to Kane. “You’re my guys, you can ask me anything you want.”
According to Kane’s book, one employee asked if the company was planning on releasing an Apple television next. Jobs’s answer was an unequivocal, “No.”
“TV is a terrible business,” said Jobs according to Kane. “They don’t turn over and the margins suck.” This statement runs counter to statements that Jobs allegedly made to his authorized biographer, Walter Isaacson. According to Isaacson via the Washington Post, Jobs told him, “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
Kane noted that some longtime employees were not sure if Jobs’s television comments were sincere. However, Jobs’s follow-up comments about the Apple TV suggest that he realized that the key to the living room was the digital media receiver and not the actual television set.
On the other hand, Jobs also told his Top 100 employees that the company was still interested in establishing a presence in consumers’ living rooms. However, he noted that the Apple TV would remain a “hobby” until Apple acquired all the necessary content. In this sense, Apple may be getting closer than ever to achieving Jobs’s dream of controlling the living room.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Apple was in talks with Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) over the possibility of creating a unified television programming interface through Apple TV. However, the negotiations may have stalled due to the content providers’ reluctance to surrender control of their Internet-based broadcasts. Comcast’s recently announced merger with Time Warner Cable may have also helped derail the negotiations.
Although the revelations in Kane’s book may finally end the rumors of an Apple television, there is still plenty of speculation about Apple’s plans for its Apple TV product. According to insider sources cited by 9to5Mac, Apple is developing a successor to the current Apple TV device that may include new types of content and a reworked operating system. Apple’s revamped Apple TV device may also include the capability to directly download and play games, according to iLounge’s sources.
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