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.