For a long time, Apple tried to play nice with incumbent cable providers while developing its own over-the-top online streaming service. However, it looks like Apple went into these negotiations unaware of just how shortsighted and backward thinking many cable companies can be… especially Comcast.
One fascinating detail in The Wall Street Journal’s big report on Apple launching its own TV streaming service this fall is its explanation for why Apple decided to negotiate directly with content providers instead of continuing to work with pay TV companies. You’ll be stunned to learn that Comcast was a big reason.
“Apple and Comcast were in talks as recently as last year about working together on a streaming television platform that would combine Apple’s expertise in user interfaces with Comcast’s strength in broadband delivery,” the Journal writes. “Apple came to believe that Comcast was stringing it along while the cable giant focused on its own X1 Web-enabled set-top box.”
This is so gloriously Comcastic that I don’t know where to begin.
Let’s get this straight: Comcast didn’t want to help Apple develop a TV service because it didn’t want Apple stealing thunder away from its own set-top box? The very notion that Comcast would be able to compete with Apple in this space is completely ludicrous.
Apple is company that is loved by its customers and is known for giving first-rate customer service. Comcast, to put it very mildly, is not. There is no way that Comcast will triumph over Apple if the two go head-to-head by offering similar services and the very fact that Comcast thinks it has a chance here is comically delusional.
If the cable giant had any kind of foresight whatsoever, it would have realized this and had been grateful that Apple was willing to risk its brand reputation by associating itself with the Comcast’s infamous stench. In fact, a joint Apple-Comcast deal would have been a great way for Comcast to rebrand itself to show people that it’s actually interested in giving people a good customer experience and not just maintaining total control of its pay TV fiefdom.
Now, however, it’s got Apple offering its own pay TV service to a fanatically loyal customer base and it’s not going to get any cut of the proceeds. But hey, I’m sure the company is counting on the millions of diehard Comcast fanboys out there to line up around the block for a week just so they can be the first to buy the next-gen X1 set-top box.