Roku CEO Calls Apple TV a 'Money Loser', Says Product is 'Essentially' an Accessory for iPad

Speaking at the inaugural Code/Media event held by technology website Re/code (via CNET), Roku CEO and founder Anthony Wood called the Apple TV "a money loser" for Apple, likening the product to an accessory for the iPad and questioning why Apple would want to sell more units of the device. Wood's remarks come as Apple is said to be preparing a new version of the Apple TV that will integrate with Comcast's network to enable a streaming TV service for users.

"Apple TV is essentially an accessory for the iPad. They lose money, which is unusual for Apple," he said Thursday, speaking at the Recode conference here. "If you're losing money, why would you want to sell more?"

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Wood also commented on Amazon's upcoming set-top box debuting next month, as well as overall competition in the set-top media box market:

“Every year about this time, the Amazon box comes up that they’re about to launch. And the new Apple TV is about to launch … We’ve been competing with Apple TV for six years now, and every year, we’ve grown,” Wood told Kafka. ”We’re in the TV platform business. Our goal is to be the operating system for TV.”

The CEO also went on to tell the crowd that sales of the Roku doubled after Apple dropped the price of the Apple TV from $249 to $99 two years ago. Wood's comments are notable given that the Apple TV reportedly generated $1 billion last year, which was revealed by Apple CEO Tim Cook during the company's 2014 shareholder's meeting.

Roku refreshed its set-top box line with three new models joining its flagship Roku 3 last September, and also introduced a $50 HDMI streaming-stick to compete directly with Google's Chromecast and the Apple TV. Despite the Apple TV's growing popularity, however, a report last August from Parks Associates indicated that the Roku has proven to be more popular than Apple's set top box, as 14% of U.S. broadband households were said to be using streaming media boxes.

Apple is expected to launch a new Apple TV sometime in the near future, with some rumors pointed to a refined set-top box that may include gaming and cable box-like capabilities in addition to the aforementioned streaming TV integration.

A report from The Information also added details to the forthcoming device, claiming that it will feature a dramatically overhauled interface, which will blend TV listings with apps and video from the web, with Apple asking iOS game developers to make their titles compatible with its new product so that users can play games on their TV using iOS devices as controllers.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 13, tvOS 14
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

Top Rated Comments

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83 months ago
An accessory for the iPad? About the only time I use the iPad ( or iPhone ) with the ATV, is when the remote goes missing....
Score: 67 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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83 months ago
It's Michael Dell all over again :rolleyes:
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago
I have 3 Apple TV's and 0 Roku boxes. I also have an ever growing library of TV shows and Movies in my iTunes. All that matched with Airplay from my MacBooks and iOS devices makes the Apple TV invaluable.

Even looking rationally at the comment itself, "Apple TV is essentially an accessory for the iPad. They lose money, which is unusual for Apple,"

A) I seriously doubt Apple lose any money on the Apple TV costs.
B) An accessory for iPad? Works with iPhones too and aren't their like 500 million of them out there? along with tens of millions of iPads. Nice market to cater for.

This all sounds like the final ramblings of a company about to go out of business when Amazon launch their set top box.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago
I bought an Apple TV for my parents, and they love it. £99 for the device then £5.99 on Netflix a month for a good selection of TV programmes and movies is a pretty good deal to me. I have only ever used AirPlay once with my iPad.

Remember how 64bit phones were a marketing gimmick...?
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago
Roku is currently a better platform IMO, but their CEO is clearly anticipating ATV gaming, which will blow Roku out of the water.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago
Accessory for an iPad? Maybe. I see it as more of an accessory for the iTunes Store.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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