Apple CEO Steve Jobs says television is a messy market to crack. Jason Schwarz, writing in Seeking Alpha, says he got it wrong. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? You be the judge.
Steve Jobs Said
Jobs pointed out the difficulty of getting innovation to the television because it’s blocked by the set top box:
Jobs said that cable operators “give everybody a set top box for free, or for $10 a month. That pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation because nobody’s willing to buy a set top box.” Not true.
Except that it is true. Schwarz thinks game consoles like XBox or Playstation make good television set top boxes. My mom and dad won’t be buying an XBox to view television any time soon. Jobs is correct.
Jobs said that it’s difficult to partner with a cable company because “you run into another problem. Which is: there isn’t a cable operator that’s national…every single country has different standards, different government approvals, it’s very…Tower of Babelish.” Steve is barking up the wrong tree.
But that doesn’t mean that what Jobs said is wrong. He’s spot on. Schwarz continues:
To bring innovation to the television industry you need to bypass the cable companies. The potential to become king of the living room is a once per generation opportunity and should be more than just a hobby for Apple.
Duh. For this Schwarz gets paid? So far, bypassing the cable company and the set top box (whether XBox, PS, or TiVo) hasn’t met with much success. Yet.
View From The Tree Limb
From his perch in la la land, Schwarz goes on to blather about a cloud based iTunes, new Apple hardware for television streaming (so that when Apple does it, he can tell everyone it was his idea), how great Netflix is, how wonderful the App Store platform is and how easy it would be for Apple to do television, ad nauseam.
The time has come for Steve Jobs to fully embrace new hardware that effectively leverages app use. If he can’t do it, maybe the master of business operations, COO Tim Cook is better suited to lead Apple into this new frontier.
Uh, excuse me. But my daddy used to tell me things like, “that’s easier said than done.” So, I have a few questions, Jason. If you don’t mind. Will the content providers who give their television shows to the cable TV companies in exchange for money do the same thing with Apple? Will Apple have access to the same movie content as Netflix? Will the cable TV companies, who control much of the broadband internet access, allow a competing service to use their pipes?
It’s just so easy to sit on the porch and tell everyone what should and should not happen over there or over here. It’s a little more difficult to run a company in a way the benefits the company, the company’s customers, and investors.
So, Jason, name another company that’s doing all that better than Apple? Since 1997 Steve Jobs has been driving the company forward to record revenue, record profits, record stock price. Everything Apple is doing right now is working right now. Except that Jason Schwarz thinks Steve Jobs needs to be replaced.
I have a better suggestion for Jason Schwarz. Leave the Apple prognostication industry, and find a new hobby.