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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 03, 2010

Jobs Disses Google TV, Eyeing the Market Himself?

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

2010-06-04 BN GoogleTV

Knock us over with a feather: Steve Jobs (News - Alert) isn't first in line for Google TV.

In a move as surprising as kabuki theater, Apple (News - Alert) CEO Steve Jobs has publicly expressed reservations that Google TV's set-top box concept will fly.

Of course, as industry observer Clint Boulton notes, he could be speaking from bruising personal experience - Apple itself, as well as Microsoft (News - Alert) and several startups, have failed in this.

And Jobs' comments "could be just misdirection, as he said the set-top box as we know it today must be rebuilt from scratch to account for interactivity between the Web and TV. Could Apple be planning to do just this?" Boulton asks.

It's a possibility, yes. CNN's Pete Cashmore thinks that Jobs's pooh-poohing the market is just poormouthing: "The time is right for Apple for tackle the TV, and the company's re-entry into that market is a no-brainer."

Specifically, Boulton reports, Jobs said the fault with Google's (News - Alert) foray lay in the go-to-market strategy:

'The television industry fundamentally has a subsidized business model that gives everybody a set top box for free or for $10 a month, and that pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation because nobody is willing to buy a set-top box.' 

And as Cashmore correctly notes, Jobs has a history of dissing markets he's about to enter. "The deflection is latest in a long line of half-truths from Jobs. It's a smart tactic that allows the company to lower market expectations and fool competitors."

Industry observer Chris Crum, however, thinks Google TV could have legs. Google unveiled Google TV a couple weeks ago at its developer conference, Google I/O, Crum says, noting that "the company brought along launch partners Intel, Adobe, Sony, Best Buy, Logitech (News - Alert), and DISH Network for the ride. Watching the presentation (though fraught with technical difficulties related to connectivity), I have to say they made a pretty convincing case for Google TV, despite the lack of mainstream success for other connected TV products." 



David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Alice Straight