Originally Posted by Alfiejr
the only way Apple is going to break these guys' stranglehold over content is ... buy an independent distribution net. like buy DISH, and even better, Echo Star's global satellites too. the key choke point is bandwidth. plus the $'s to back up the threat. get them by the balls.
once Apple can threaten global cheap distribution of competing content, the medicos will finally cave in. pick them off one by one.
Apple has the cash. for chrissake, pull the trigger.
Guys, remember the Comcast deal to buy NBC Universal? As part of that deal, Comcast had to agree to several conditions to be allowed to buy NBC Universal. Because of this deal, NBC Universal and Comcast have
to provide access to NBC Universal content to others who want to distribute it. They cannot put a spoke in Apple's wheel even if they don't like what Apple is doing.
It is precisely this deal that helped Apple get a foot in the door of the production companies. Apple obviously has a good relationship with Disney. NBC Universal's hands are tied so they have no choice. Once these 2 major networks are on board, the other networks will soon be forced to join. Because if they stay out, they risk being sidelined by the significant number of people who would likely sign up for an Apple Subscription plan.
The one aspect that might be an issue for Apple, might be the price at which the content is delivered to Apple by the Networks. And this is where I think Apple should have the balls to use up some of the $100B in the bank in a power play - to pay the networks what they ask, while still offering customers a very attractive deal on subscriptions. The networks know that Apple has the staying power to continue this for a very long time. So they will eventually agree to this model.
While I don't generally like the idea of Apple buying a cable operator or EchoStar, in EchoStar's case I will make a difference. I think EchoStar is attractive for Apple for multiple reasons. It offers a way to minimize bandwidth consumption using Satellite.
Secondly, delivery of high definition live sports and news over Internet to millions of customers is just not feasible today. Apple can offer a $30 per month option where people get EchoStar for most of their needs, plus a free addon from the iTunes Store for any content you missed out on.
But there is yet another reason for Apple to buy EchoStar. EchoStar owns SlingBox. And I think SlingBox could possibly be the best alternative to an all cloud service from Apple. While Apple would likely want everyone to get everything online, it is highly unlikely to be feasible practically today. For today, Apple needs alternatives other than cloud based ones.
One possible road map I see for Apple, is that the current TimeCapsule solution will become Apple's Home Gateway initiative. If they own EchoStar, they can easily add SlingBox capability to the TimeCapsule - either directly, or via USB/network. It is a no brainer to add SIP phone capability to this device. Apple can easily integrate a DECT chipset into the device to take care of cordless phone service. It is easy for Apple to make the TimeCapsule as an iTunes Media Server. I foresee TimeCapsule becoming a major part of Apple's push to take control of your home. Down the road, it can even integrate Home Automation functionality. Whether you take SlingBox, DECT, Home Automation -- all these are great product ideas that have not had the level of market success they deserve - simply because no one has done them right. Apple's magic touch could easily make the TimeCapsule as the center of their Home strategy.
Most importantly, as Apple moves more and more people into iOS style devices, TimeCapsule will have to graduate into a more powerful solution. People would not want to have their iMacs or Mac Minis running the whole day just because they want to access media from their iPad!
Of all the major growth areas for Apple, I think Enterprise, Connected Home, and Cars are the low lying fruit. In all these areas, there is very little competition, and the markets are huge. Apple's success in its current areas can easily be leveraged to enter into these 3 domains. Already Apple is seeing success in Enterprise - they can easily see similar levels of success in Connected Home and Cars as well.
There is another hidden growth area for Apple - one that most people will just not agree with or recognize today. Today, the Phone functionality is just another App in the iPhone. On the iPad, there is absolutely no phone functionality built in by Apple - but you can easily use Skype, or Viber, or Google Voice or dozens of similar solutions. What if Apple removed the Voice functionality in the iPhone, and made it into a App that just rides on top of the data subscription you already have? That way, all your voice minutes are just data - you don't pay separately for Voice and separately for Data. Apple has already done this with iMessages - so you don't have to pay separately for Text messages. In 5 years time, all these carriers will be dump pipes, just providing data connectivity. Apple and the AppStore will be controlling everything else on your phone. Voice, Messages, Emails, etc. The SIP functionality mentioned above, will just tie in to the same idea - so that you have a land line phone with cheaper and unlimited data while at home, and a mobile SIP phone while outside. With calls automatically routed, similar to what Google Voice does.
In all likelihood, this will happen well within 5 years!