Time Warner Willing to Cede Control of User Interface in Potential Deals for Apple TV Products

Two weeks ago, Bloomberg reported on Apple's struggles to reach television content deals that would enable the company to broaden its living room reach by providing set-top boxes to blend live and recorded material. The report noted that cable companies have generally been reluctant to work with Apple as they seek to retain control over the software and other aspects of their businesses, with Time Warner Cable said to be the major cable company most receptive to Apple's proposals.

The Hollywood Reporter now notes (via TechCrunch) that Time Warner Cable Chief Operating Officer Rob Marcus acknowledged at an investor conference today that his company would be willing to cede control over the user interface in scenarios such as those being rumored for Apple's proposals, as long as it can retain the existing customer relationship. The comments by Marcus appear to specifically address integration of the cable company's guide information with Apple's mobile devices, but could obviously extend to other products such as set-top boxes.

Time Warner Cable is "hard at work at a cloud-based [TV] guide experience" and is open to giving up control of the user interface as it looks to make its service accessible via new devices, including Apple's iPhones and iPads, president and COO Rob Marcus told an investor conference in New York on Wednesday.

But he emphasized that this does not mean that the cable giant is willing "to give up the customer relationship" as the company is committed to ensuring that people know its TV services are provided by TW Cable and not any device maker or other third party.

Apple is rumored to have been working on a television product for quite some time as it continues to toy with the current Apple TV set-top box, which the company has repeatedly referred to as a "hobby" that it will continue to pursue as it assesses whether there is a larger opportunity in the market.

Rumors of an Apple television set have largely given way to talk of a new set-top box in recent months, a device that would bring Apple's hardware and software expertise to the consumer cable industry in an effort to meld live television with recorded and on-demand content while integrating into Apple's existing ecosystem. But with both cable companies and content providers being reluctant to strike deals with Apple, progress has been slower than many had hoped for.

Top Rated Comments

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106 months ago
Having a problem with Apple building your UI is like having a problem with Rolls Royce building you a car.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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106 months ago
Anyone else feel this will play out similar to the iPhone? At first carriers were reluctant to give into Apple's terms, but as soon as one did (and they saw the success that came along with it) they all wanted in.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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106 months ago
Smart move. Verizon wasn't willing to cede control of their cell phone UIs, and we all know how that story went. :apple:
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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106 months ago
All TV providers are horrible. All of them.

I'd rather a TV provider like TWC agree to work with Apple, since they are all over the country then one of the smaller providers or providers who are locked into the phone line like AT&T or Verizon.

I would absolutely upgrade all of my TWC boxes for this.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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106 months ago
As a TWC customer in NYC - I beg the question - other than taking my money. WHAT relationship. Their customer service is 99 percent of the time horrible without much regard for maintaining any "relationship" :rolleyes:
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
106 months ago
The way Apple will crack the TV problem is by selling AppleTV boxes to cable companies who will distribute them for free to cable users.

This will put AppleTV boxes in hundreds of millions of homes. Cable companies can provide content such as "channels" in the form of apps and Apple can continue to sell individual TV shows and Movies via iTunes. Cable companies win regardless because they often provide the internet bandwidth necessary for downloading this content.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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