Apple needs to “AT&T” Comcast

  • Posted: 04 February 2009 08:02 AM

    Apple needs to do a deal with Comcast for a jointly supported set-top box in exactly the same way Apple did a deal with AT&T for the iPhone.

    Before the iPhone, all the cellular networks, AT&T included, saw themselves not only as purveyors of pipe, but also content.  They saw themselves as providers of music services, games, news, etc.  The iPhone turned that model on its head.  It divided the cellular world very neatly into the purveyor of pipe (AT&T) and the purveyor of equipment and all digital services (Apple). 

    Now is the time to do the same thing in the cable world.  Apple should use some of its cash and cache to induce Comcast to strike a similar deal.  Comcast provides the pipe and gets to keep a steady subscription stream.  Apple exclusively sells a set-top box that has a DVR and all of the Apple TV functionality including iTunes for rental and purchase of video. 

    The consumer forever forward needs just one piece of equipment in the TV room other than the TV (and that might soon after be merged) except if they want a fancier sound system than what the TV itself offers. 

    TIVO becomes irrelevant (or is bought by Microsoft?) and Netflix eventually dies a painful death as the DVD in all its forms slowly goes the way of the CD into the dustbin of physical media. 

    AT&T, Comcast, Satellite TV and their ilk all compete for subscription fees for pipe.  May the best man win on quality of pipe service. 

    Apple competes with Microsoft for the set-top box (Xbox vs Apple TV) the pocket device (iPod/iPhone vs Zune/Windows Mobile) and desktop device.  All of us at AFB knows who will with that contest.

         
  • Posted: 04 February 2009 11:15 AM #1

    comcast is one of my most hated companies.  i think this would be a terrible arrangment for apple and only cheapen the apple empire.

    i am sure comcast would love the idea though.  honeslty, i dont know if i could think of a company i would want apple to join less then comcast.

         
  • Posted: 04 February 2009 12:27 PM #2

    att is infintley easier to deal with.

    honeslty, comcast has the wrost customer service i have ever experinced.

         
  • Posted: 04 February 2009 12:51 PM #3

    Comcast isn’t national is it? Not sure why they want a regional carrier…

    Or do I just live in a backwater that hasn’t been trodden on by the Comcast Customer Service Juggernaut.

    Just buy TiVo and be done with it.

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  • Posted: 04 February 2009 12:58 PM #4

    This has to be differently from the iPhone deal that Apple made with AT&T. AT&T had national coverage and the ability to grow their network in any US location. Comcast, however people feel about it, is a local regional monopoly. If I prefer Time-Warner or Cox I am out of luck because each municipality grants one cable company a monopoly in their area. Apple would need to cut a deal with each cable company.

    If they are looking for an exclusive, it is much more likely that they would go with a satellite company. Dish and DirecTV have no local monopolies and can reach into every and any household in the US. Apple could also go with AT&T or Verizon as these companies are in a similar position.

    All-in-all, I do not see this as a likely occurrence. Apple would be much better off building a product that each consumer can buy and that works with cable, satellite and fiber.

         
  • Posted: 04 February 2009 12:59 PM #5

    Comcast has been poved out as a dishonest greedy company that blatantly rips it’s customers off.

    Apple does not have any common fabric with this lousy company.

         
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    Posted: 04 February 2009 01:04 PM #6

    macorange - 04 February 2009 12:02 PM

    Apple needs to do a deal with Comcast for a jointly supported set-top box in exactly the same way Apple did a deal with AT&T for the iPhone.

    Your reasoning is flawed.  This is a terrible idea.  My only option for HD content in my area (Princeton, NJ) are Comcast or Dish.  With mobile phone service, I can use AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and a host of smaller providers.

    In you scenario, I would be forced to use an Apple device.  With today’s setup I can use Comcast (lousy) DVR, my TiVo (with cable cards), or a tuner card connected to a computer.  I can access Netflix Instant Play, Jaman, or Amazon Video on Demand from my TiVo.

    [ Edited: 04 February 2009 01:07 PM by khurt ]

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    Posted: 04 February 2009 01:33 PM #7

    rabber - 04 February 2009 04:58 PM

    This has to be differently from the iPhone deal that Apple made with AT&T. AT&T had national coverage and the ability to grow their network in any US location. Comcast, however people feel about it, is a local regional monopoly. If I prefer Time-Warner or Cox I am out of luck because each municipality grants one cable company a monopoly in their area. Apple would need to cut a deal with each cable company.

    If they are looking for an exclusive, it is much more likely that they would go with a satellite company. Dish and DirecTV have no local monopolies and can reach into every and any household in the US. Apple could also go with AT&T or Verizon as these companies are in a similar position.

    All-in-all, I do not see this as a likely occurrence. Apple would be much better off building a product that each consumer can buy and that works with cable, satellite and fiber.

    When I read the original comment this morning, I had the exact same thought. Due to the nationwide reach of satellite, partnering with DirectTV would make more sense. However, I don’t see what any of those companies bring to the table for Apple. The “pipe” can be gotten via cable, satellite, DSL/fiber or in my case a wireless point to point system . And until such time that these providers start limiting what is accessible/available on the internet, they add nothing to Apple nor does Apple help them. As much as I try to look at cable and cell phones as analogously, I currently don’t see the similarities.

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  • Posted: 04 February 2009 01:44 PM #8

    Wow, there isn’t much love for Comcast on AFB! 

    Part of the idea would be to simpify Comcast’s service responsibilities:  after this deal their role would be limited to “outside the house.”  The cable would just go to one box at the home that would then spread the signal to any AppleTV over Airport.

    And yes, it wouldn’t be enough just to get Comcast; Apple would need to follow on with a few other major cable providers to get national coverage. 

    Satellite is an alternative that would get them national coverage, but they’d be playing second fiddle to the cable companies in each market. A more obvious alternative is AT&T itself, which has a national DSL footprint and has been trying furiously to battle the cable boys for “TV room” market share.  But again, this gets Apple only a second position in each market. 

    I think its better to have to do a deal with a few different partners, each of which has a dominant market share, then just one national deal, but with a partner that is a challenger everywhere.

         
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    Posted: 04 February 2009 01:58 PM #9

    macorange - 04 February 2009 05:44 PM

    ... A more obvious alternative is AT&T itself, which has a national DSL footprint and has been trying furiously to battle the cable boys for “TV room” market share.  But again, this gets Apple only a second position in each market. 

    I think its better to have to do a deal with a few different partners, each of which has a dominant market share, then just one national deal, but with a partner that is a challenger everywhere.

    Considering there are many nations, is better to deal with a national carrier, if possible even multi-national, to reduce the complexity of multiple contracts, modifications to Apple TV and logistics.

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  • Posted: 04 February 2009 01:59 PM #10

    uvbears - 04 February 2009 04:27 PM

    att is infintley easier to deal with.

    honeslty, comcast has the wrost customer service i have ever experinced.

    Strange:  when ATT gobbled up @Home, the service went to shit - not uncommon to spend over an hour waiting for your call to bump through…and not uncommon to need to.

    When Comcast took over from ATT, the service returned to normal.  Much improved, rejoicing all around.  Their TV service isn’t as bad as their pricing sturcture - which isn’t as bad as their channel tiers….

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  • Posted: 04 February 2009 02:41 PM #11

    I believe at&t and Apple are already in the process of creating a new Apple TV product that supports IPTV.

    Combining the Apple TV with U-Verse via IPTV would create an incredible viewing experience.

    The cable companies don’t get it. They need a wireless company to survive. Hell, they don’t even support IPTV which is the future in my opinion.

    Just say no to Comcast, APPLE!

         
  • Posted: 04 February 2009 04:04 PM #12

    Apple and Comcast for inadvertant porn clips on your phone?

         
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    Posted: 05 February 2009 03:08 AM #13

    Midas360 Welcome to AFB!

    Re: Apple TV: well, I am an ignoramus since I don’t own a TV but I bet that Apple is considering the right way to make their hobby the dominant home entertainment device in the future.  This is a modern version of “The Great Game” and we will soon see the opening salvos of the fight for the living room from Apple.  It might be that the internet is going to become less accessed through a computer than the TV.  In Japan it is the cell phone that is the major internet portal.  I’m sure Apple is doing some creative thinking in both these directions…