Why Apple Should Use Its Billions to Crush Hollywood



You’ve no doubt seen this post suggesting that Apple could use its $70 billion in cash to buy the entire mobile phone industry. The idea is worth a chuckle, but buying the phone handset industry is neither desirable nor possible. Apple doesn’t want to sell Nokia phones, and regulators wouldn’t let the company buy, then close, all its competition.

No, instead Apple should use its billions to take over Hollywood.

Before getting into a new industry, most companies in technology start with the question: What can we make?

The great thing about Apple is that they ask: What should we make? What industry is so broken, and products so clunky and frustrating to use, that Apple could re-invented it with something elegant, beautiful and simple?

They’ve done this successfully four times with four industries: PCs, music players, cell phones and tablets.

Four culture-changing mega hits for a single company, by the way, is the current world record. Some other super successful companies have done this only once. Think Starbucks with its coffee stores, or Amazon.com with its book business. Many super successful companies have never achieved this.

In the case of music players and tablets, Apple changed the world through sheer market domination. In PCs and cell phones, they changed the world by creating a vision so compelling that competitors were forced to copy.

In other industries, Apple has failed to change the world.

One of these failures is the TV and movie watching experience with Apple TV. Yes, Apple TV is awesome. But the overwhelming majority of TV users neither use an Apple TV, nor use a system that copies Apple TV. Which is too bad, because our living rooms desperately need Apple’s touch.

The music industry, which is now Apple’s bitch, is a great model for what should happen with the TV and movie industries. Apple’s domination of electronic music sales was so complete that the only way for a band to succeed without iTunes was to be the fucking Beatles.

Hollywood deserves to be taken over by Apple for the same reason the music industry deserved it: Because Hollywood spends all its time and energy clinging to the past, actively blocking the future and cynically exploiting, manipulating and abusing its customers.

The living room experience sucks. We’re all being held hostage by cable TV companies, which present us with electronic equipment and user interfaces from the Spanish Inquisition. Pretending that the Internet never happened, TV studios still “broadcast” TV shows, as if we all received their broadcasts via rabbit-ear antennas or something.

When you browse the on-screen listings for something to watch, you’re confronted not by the tiny handful of great shows you want (which aren’t being broadcast at this moment, so you’re out of luck) but instead by the decline of Western Civilization. Infomercials. Re-runs. Shitty reality shows. Fluff. Dreck. Sewage. Porn-in-denial. Moronic cable talk shows so nakedly propagandistic they would make Joseph Goebbels blush.

Not to worry. Just record it with the DVR provided by the cable company. Never mind that it runs out of space with a couple dozen shows, or cuts off the Oscars broadcast before Best Picture is announced because the system is so stupid that it records only time, not the actual broadcast.

Nothing could be more obvious than that TV should work exactly like podcasts on iTunes – or TV shows on iTunes, for that matter. We should subscribe not to cable, but to seasons of our favorite shows — or buy them a la carte. Many shows should be free and advertiser supported like TV is now, but asynchronous.

Even if you have Apple TV, the experience of watching is terrible, because most of the best shows and movies are simply missing. The same is true for TV and movie offerings from Google, Amazon and Netflix. Hollywood is holding these movies and shows back for the same reason the music industry resisted rational pricing and distribution of electronic music in the 1990s — they’re afraid of the future, and intend to prevent it from happening.

Why isn’t every single movie available in HD on Apple TV or its competitors the second it’s released on DVD or every single TV show the second it’s broadcast? Why only the crappy movies you don’t want to watch? The reason: Hollywood.

Tragically, Apple doesn’t have the market power to force Hollywood to stop sucking. Apple TV has barely made a dent in market share for living room entertainment options. And Hollywood has plenty of competitors to play off each other, including Google, Amazon, Netflix and the cable and satellite operators. But the acquisition of such market power would be the best use of Apple’s $72 billion pile of cash that I can think of.

Netflix is worth $13 billion. Apple should buy the company and move all its employees to the spaceship. Boom. Done. Next?

Apple should ship a real Apple TV. No, not a box, but an actual TV set that looks just like the iMac, but much bigger, and with Apple TV electronics built in.

Apple should roll out Apple TV functionality to iMacs, iPads and even iPhones. Turn every Apple screen into a TV set that uses or works like iCloud, where you stop watching a TV show on your iPad and when you turn on your iTV, the show starts up where you left off.

Apple should turn the Apple TV box into a cable box and DVR with massive storage, and Apple should become a local cable company in all the major markets in the US.

Apple should spend five billion dollars on a relentless, all-media advertising campaign using Apple marketing pixie dust to convince everyone to embrace Apple as their TV and movie provider.

Then, with a significantly fortified negotiating position as the result of all this activity, Apple should go to each of the Hollywood TV and movie studios, and make them a Vito Corleone offer they can’t refuse: Either you sign a contract now to make all your content available for download on iTunes and Apple TV the second it’s released on DVD in the case of movies or the second it’s broadcast in the case of TV — or your content will never be made available via Apple. Play ball or be blacklisted forever.

The TV and home movie scene is a clunky, ugly, frustrating, broken mess — exactly the kind of thing Apple is great at fixing. And they’ve got the money to do it.

It’s time for Apple to use its massive cash reserves to fix home entertainment — and bring Hollywood to its knees.

  • Adam

    Agree with all of this bar apple making TV’s Why TV’s are OK now its the cable boxes that are poor

  • Takeo

    If Steve Jobs wanted that he wouldn’t have sold Pixar to Disney.

  • Jaimex99

    Apple would NEVER become a local cable company. They could offer the same service with a bigger data center, over the Internet. They might want to attempt something like google is testing, become an ISP that offers extremely fast Internet, and bundle that with an asynchronous streaming TV service. That would be the way to go.

  • Gouldsc

    I agree with almost everything you said in the first half of your article, but your solution is flawed.  Apple would be a lot more successful by using partnerships with the existing players than trying to bully the industry.  I could see the media companies circling the wagons and watching Apple’s content supply dry up under your strategy.  I do agree with your vision for the future though, and it involves quality on-demand content and access to the archives of all recorded movies/tv/etc in a way that is elegant and reasonably priced.

  • Emperius

    Excellent article. I totally agree. I would also add that they standardize deals for other markets. I live in Romania, it’s not fair that we don’t have access to elegant streaming solutions.
    …and they wonder why pirating has such a high “market share”. For 10 Euros / month the solution would be successful even in poor markets. Hell, I heard people pay 10 Euros for illegal streaming solutions that have all the shows you can possibly think of. Hollywood is in denial! It’s like that phrase Jobs says about Scully I think: “Apple is just like a sinking ship and I’m trying to put her in the right direction.” Substitute Apple for Hollywood in that phrase.

  • theoPhobia

    I think they should do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • Dwwilkin

    That’s a great justification for consumers. Unfortunately I don’t see how it talks to those who make the content being paid for their efforts. Not the studios but the artists, writers, directors, cast and crew. Is that the Vito Coreleone that we want? You will release the material and since that means your profit is reduced we don’t really care if you pay less and less to those who make the content? We’ve already destroyed newspapers these last 10 years, and well on our way to crippling magazine. Why not Video content as well?

  • nak

    This is a new low is fanboi bullshit, even for CoM.

    “Many super successful companies have never achieved this.”

    The first one that came to my mind is Sony. While I wouldn’t say they’re putting out much interesting now they invented the 3.5 inch floppy, the walkman, the audio CD, and the Handicam. I’m sure they have others, and I’m sure other companies have introduced more than “Four culture-changing mega hits.”

    “The music industry, which is now Apple’s bitch”

    Care to back this up? Physical CD sales are still more than digital music sales, and Apple isn’t the only one selling music online (although they do dominate online sales.) In fact it seems like Apple had to concede to the labels in modifying their pricing structure.

    “Apple’s domination of electronic music sales was so complete that the only way for a band to succeed without iTunes was to be the fucking Beatles.”

    I don’t even know what to say about this load of shit. 

    “Hollywood deserves to be taken over by Apple for the same reason the music industry deserved it: Because Hollywood spends all its time and energy clinging to the past, actively blocking the future and cynically exploiting, manipulating and abusing its customers.”

    A lot of industries do this far worse than movie studios — banks and airlines immediately come to mind. By your logic banks and airlines deserve to be taken over by Apple and made to be their “bitch?”

    I get that you feel Apple can do know wrong, and everything they touch turns to gold. But perhaps you didn’t notice, Apple doesn’t buy up failing businesses and fix them — Apple creates new markets.

    I can’t figure out if you’re simply a moron or actually believe what you say. Especially statements like this “Apple should become a local cable company in all the major markets in the US” when you start your poorly thought out rant admitting Apple can’t legally buy phone manufactures. No one company in the US can own more than 30% of the consumer cable tv market.

  • freediverx

    TVs aren’t “OK” now. They are essentially standalone video displays with horrible remote controls and configuration menus and are infuriatingly slow when switching video sources.  I currently need a TV set, HDMI switch box, sound system, gaming system (PS3), Apple TV, and a freaking $400 programmable remote that takes over 10 seconds to coordinate with various devices every time I want to use a different one.

    Apple should be the hub of this system, with a simple and intuitive menu system, a simple, intuitive and instantly responsive remote control system, a single interface for browsing all available content.

  • Stefanstente

    Great article – couldn’t agree more that Hollywood should stop sucking! They are literally dicking their own grave! But not sure if Apple should move into producing TVs…

  • prof_peabody

    If Apple took over Hollywood, we would never see a nipple again.  

    Just sayin. ;)

  • Yuval Novik

    You should all stop writing about theoretical situations in which Apple buys the whole planet only to make it better. Maybe Apple can do this. But they won’t. And as much as it’s an “interesting” idea, it’s useless. Thanks ahead.

  • Travis Ross


  • Mrples

    Mike, are you out of your mind?

  • AppleNutBread

    Cringely predicted that Apple will buy Time Warner

  • Jay Floyd

    If you think the movie landscape now is sterile, repetitive and juvenile, I doubt you’d be too happy with where it would end up if Apple had that much power.  Steve Jobs was clear that he wanted ‘Big Hollywood Movies’ for the Apple TV.  Big Hollywood Movies are becoming unwatchable, in my opinion.  Want to see a film by Luis Bunuel?  You won’t find it on Apple TV.

  • JimRPh62

    I agree that Apple should more aggressively tackle the Home Entertainment market and that it could markedly improve the experience. However, I don’t agree with all of the methods suggested. Though I hate cable companies, I rely on mine for my internet. I’d certainly rather subscribe to the shows I like than to a bloated mixed-bag of broadcasts, but that won’t be feasible until high-speed, un-capped broadband is truly ubiquitous. At that time, perhaps I can trade my Tivo entirely for an Apple TV. As far as Television Sets, the current makers do a good, if not great, job and Apple could not offer anything unique enough to take over the market. If anything, Apple might license the Apple TV software to TV manufacturers for incorporation into their sets. As far as Hollywood, it’s a game of money and power with a lot of entrenched ideals. Progress will come in baby steps, like it has for the music industry. Apple simply has to be ready to move whenever opportunity arises.


    Pretty lame story. Lame even by fanboi standards.

  • Tash Wahid

    Apple should use its money and buy Tesla.

  • Felfac

    lol this would be awesome but it ain’t gonna happen 

  • Ryan Simmons


  • IvannaNuke

    Brilliant article

  • i_pinz

    Steve Jobs is at Disney in the board… Anyhow I guess Apple would use a company only to generate content for their eco-system, like better iAds (which is in my opinion not the best hour of Apple)

  • brassman

    Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder in Disney and sits on it’s board. 

  • Iphoneication

    I have been saying this for about 5 years now. apple is a content company, the minute apple computer because simply apple, i knew their interest were going toward a broader market. 

    here is my thoughts, now just keep in mind that i have been following apple for about 10 years now, i believe that apple will in essence become a network, not like abc, cbs etc,, but more like say time warner cable,, they are a provider,, and that is what apple is,, a provider….. so think this though,, is it a far leap…once apple brands its own tv,,, and they will, get ride of the hockey puck, now apple is in your living room, and in your den, and on your phone, and dont forget the ipad,,, they use that brandy new data center,, to take content and stream,, oh and stream live events to! as we have seen them do already. Will networks have any choice? will hollywood havce any choice? that answer is NO they wont…..

    just a quick side note,, apple doesnt like people in its coolaid, remember all those roomers of apple being its own wireless network provider,, i do it was around the time of the 3g when it first came out…what are they doing today ? there making an iphone that will work on any network, taking the providers out of the loop, and soon a lower priced option as well,, i think apple in the next 3 years is going to be a media hub,, as well as a wireless provider….they ahve the cash to do it,, remember apple likes controlling end to end,, thats the whole mac experience,, so if they control the phone, the apps, and the network,,, end to end!

  • Euro_MacHead

    Once again, totally, completely US centric. 

    News at 11 : There are more NON-US human beings than americans. There are even more people in the EU than in the US (500 Million vs 300 Million) with a far bigger combined economy and gross domestic product. 

    Think globally! 

  • freediverx

    11:05 News Update: We don’t give a fuck about you.

  • Mike

    So because non-US humans exist, Americans aren’t supposed to write about American companies and their American customers? 

  • Mike

    No, I don’t think the movie landscape is sterile, repetitive and juvenile. I think good movies and TV shows are deliberately withheld from home viewing. I’m calling for Apple to do for movies and TV what they did for music, which is make pretty much everything available. 

  • Dilbert A

    love it!

  • aga

    That makes me wonder why our boys died in the Gulf and Afganistan to support red necked morons.

    Having travelled all over the US I am gratified to know that only a small percentage of US people are so ignorant!


  • baby_Twitty

    If i had $70 billion, i would use it to buy Alaska. Or Hawaii.

  • Mike

    I didn’t suggest that Apple should buy ailing businesses to fix them. I suggested they should buy businesses in order to gain the power to negotiate user-favorable terms to the Hollywood studios.

  • Mike

    Then why can’t you think of anything specific to criticize?

  • lookitup

    Wrong. As of 2000, the US had 22% of the world’s GDP, Western Europe 21%. Even if Europe has gained and now leads the US, your claim of “far bigger” is incorrect.

  • aga

    But the big advantage of a monitor with different appliances plugged in is CONTROL. When new tech comes along, I just replace my DVD player with a blue ray for example, rather than having to replace a horrendously expensive (and being Apple it will be overpriced) do-all item.

    I also have a greater range of choice, and having an iPad and iPhone, I find the way Jobbies makes me do things and limits me very frustrating. I may buy an AppleTV to plug into my telly if they became more attractive, but would not lock myself into Apples walled garden with something so fundamental as the goggle-box (tube as you call it).

  • vonchambers

    I’ve said it countless times before and I’ll say it again. Apple has no interest in buying companies, they are interested in buying technology. Some might say “well if you buy a company you get their technology.” and while yes, that is true, you’re also getting their failed products, their dead weight and that is not something Apple wants or needs. Of course Apple buying a company like Nokia, or RIM or Netflix even would look good, and the patents alone from those two companies would help bolster their ability to provide the best product but those companies have a lot of crap that needs to be gone through to get to the gold. Not worth the time or energy. So why not buy companies like Siri, or battery companies, or carbon fiber companies. Its tech without the weight of a massive company. Plus you can spread your cash around for a bigger portfolio.   

  • Stephen

    nice article MIke… Apple certainly has a nice way of making technology attractive and user friendly. I don’t think anyone could argue that the way the typical cable box/tv/home entertainment setup works perfectly… or that it wouldn’t stand to improve with a little help from Apple.

  • Tom McGrath

    Are we suggesting Apple is the Galactic Empire now?

    Oh, and also, you’d need to be the effing Beatles… or AC/DC. 

  • David

    Americans are fucking morons.

  • David

    Good article by the way, happen to agree with most of it, and starting in the US makes a lot of sense. Services elsewhere in the world are actually much better than you guys get in the states, but there’s still plenty of room for Apple to set a new standard there and roll it on out.

    Part of me wishes they’d just get on with doing *something* with their cash mountain -they sure aren’t getting any WS love for it – but part of me also knows that there must be a reason they’re keeping their powder dry, and who the fuck am I to second guess these guys. Hopefully we’ll know soon enough.

  • Euro_MacHead

    No, of course not. But the whole article circles around how US citizens are served best and ignore the rest. Yes, I congrat americans for Netflix and it’s integration into iOS, and yes Apple is indeed an american company, and yes I wish you guys the best entertainment possible, BUT I do also would like to see americans to stop pretending that the world end beyond US Border patrol and that everyone else does’t count a shit and that Apple should ONLY concentrate on americans.

  • Euro_MacHead

    Sorry, but the GDP 2010 of the European Union is 16.3 trillion US-Dollars (26% of the global GDP), whereas the US GDP (2010) is 14.7 trillion US Dollars. 

  • Frédéric Lormois

    @014aaaa4d2e575461b4f0a8d3653edeb:disqus :””The first one that came to my mind is Sony. While I wouldn’t say they’re putting out much interesting now they invented the 3.5 inch floppy, the walkman, the audio CD, and the Handicam. I’m sure they have others, and I’m sure other companies have introduced more than “Four culture-changing mega hits.””
    Not at this Level…
    The audio CD was invented by Sony AND Phillips.
    The 3,5 inch floppy wasn’t invented by Sony.

    You are wrong, you can hate Apple if you want. This is your complete freedom. But you can’t say that other companies have introduced more than “four culture- changing media Hit”. This is just completely wrong.

    And the first computer for real consumers with graphical interface, this is more important than the Walkman or the handicam.
    You can hate Apple, not just making troll about them….

  • Chistian1122334

    Apple is great at software. iPod, Mac, iPod touch, iPhone, iPad— all amazing software experiences. Not sure the problem with TV is that the user interface sucks.

  • Chris Malone

    When I first read the articles title I thought it would be John Brownlee shit and then I read your name. I thought this guy’s articles are up to par with Leander’s, so I guess I will see what he has to say. And I am impressed. I went in this article thinking this is such a stupid idea, but leaving it I agreed with your position. So kudos to you and I do hope Apple does this. Rumors have been going around of a TV Apple TV not the box they have now. So Apple get started! This industry isn’t going to fix itself!

  • aardman

    Can $70 Billion buy/build a nationwide wireline and wireless internet carrier that can deliver, at rock-bottom cost, the bandwidth that would make iCloud a true 24/7 anywhere-and-everywhere service?  If it can then this the mouth where Apple should put its money.  Because right now, what’s really stopping cloud computing is the inadequate broadband connection.

  • Sigurd Bøe

    Its funny how they used a picture from a movie that was actually not a Hollywood film

  • Robert X

    That is a pretty sad self-statement.  :)

  • Patranus

    God.  Why do so many people miss the entire business strategy of Apple.

    Apple is a hardware company. Its software is a means to drive hardware sales.
    iTunes is a means to sell iPods.
    The App Store is a means to sell iPhones.
    OS X is a means to sell Macs.

    Taking on Hollywood would mean Apple wants a means to sell AppleTVs.
    The fact of the matter is the movie/TV store already does this, and does it well.

    There is no reason for Apple to buy a studio or a network just as there is no reason for Apple to buy a record company.

    Unless it would increase hardware sales, Apple has no point in doing it.

  • Andrei

    And that makes you exactly what, being lead and pretty much owned by “morons”? Geniuses?

  • Dilbert A

    F U buddy.

  • snogglenews

    so gay so good.

  • Richard

    In Australia it’s costing the Government $43 billion to connect almost all homes here to a fibre network. I would expect significantly more to do something similar in USA

  • Richard

    Would suggest that 11 year old data is probably not the best to be using to support your argument. 

  • Mike

    Seeing as how you sound less halw-witted as many of the “walled garden” Android weirdos I come across on the Internet, can I ask you a question about your comment? You say you have or had an iPad and an iPhone….what, exactly, are you prevented from doing on those devices behind said “walled garden” you speak so negatively of? I much prefer Apples vetted and controlled app selection for iOS and Mac over the scary, unsecure, buggy and inconsistent applications available on other platforms. Other than ugly customization of Visual appearance on iOS devices, what is inhibitive about the Apple ecosystem? And please don’t insult your own intelligence with speak of ‘open source’, I would bet that 95% of us commenters and readers are NOT hardware makers or even indie developers who could or even would take advantage of a truly open developing environment for apps, or source code available to run on a new “smart” garage door opener. In short, what does Apples process of approving apps and preventing garbage in their App stores do to have you make the comment you made? Cheers! :)

    Oh and… Apple provided content that works seamlessly with their beautiful hardware…? Brilliant! I’m about to go torrent the newest episode of Real Time as soon as I post this…I wouldn’t HAVE to do this if I has easy streaming content at my fingertips for a price close to the $100 I pay monthly for Dish Network access which gives me 90% BS programming that I nevr watch. Give me reasonably priced show subscriptions (or network) and maybe chuch Genius style suggestions at me to introduce me to similar content and I’m happy to pay. Let me watch said content on ANY of my various devices and I’m a happy camper. I suspect this culd and would open up the market to independently produced content like iTunes music has as well. YouTube is the only place people can really put up their indie films and shows and with the current limitations and lack of any monitiziation, all we get to see is the big Hollywood movies and TV shows. There is much better stuff out there to discover, but if filmmakers and would-be tv producers can’t make money, they can’t make their content for me to enjoy. This is sounding better and better by the moment!

  • Harold Thompson

    They could improve things but it would dilute there core focus and strength. What I think they should do is put a decent camera in the iPod Touch 4.x a few mm thicker won’t matter. They can keep the .7 mp if they want but add another model. It would help a lot more people than you think…

  • Mike

    I really should have proofread my comment before posting. Sorry…autocorrect woes and soft-keyboard mistakes. :(

  • Mark Aaron

    you are truly mad in love with apple a little too much folks, seriously.   none of this will happen.   apple will be in trouble again one day just like it was in the late 90’s thanks to Stevie’s stubbornness.   Android is already taking over, once the hardware catches up .. there’s really no excuses either.  Apple isn’t taking over anything, just cope.  

  • Mike

    Everyone else counts, it’s just that I personally don’t know enough about the experience of getting TV and movies in the home abroad to write about it meaningfully.

  • macgizmo

    I live in America, therefor I couldn’t give a sh!t less about anyone outside America. I live in Arizona, and with little exception couldn’t give a shit less about anyone outside Arizona. I live in Phoenix, AZ, so apply the same statement to people as near as Tucson, AZ. Hell, when you get right down to it, deep down inside, I couldn’t give a sh!t less if anyone outside my living room gets TV, cable TV, broadband, or are still rubbing sticks together to make fire.

    Get a friggin’ life, dude.

  • Dave Vachon

    I love my iPad, iTunes and Airport Express, but one company having a monopoly over everything is not a good thing. Competition is a good thing.

  • NewbornFugur

    Interesting article and it seems to created some heated responses. Speaking to the Apple TV, I would like to see a more improved product and experience from Apple and a TV with baked in hardware and software would seem to make sense along with a tie in to iCloud and the other Apple OS and IOS devices.  Being an American I am also not familiar with the movie experience and product available to others outside this country and do agree the times we live in Global is where it’s at. As stated before, I do not think any of us posting here can say for sure our ideas about what Apple should do with its cash are the best and would either bring about another revolutionary change or profit Apple the most.  What I think we could say is that the team at Apple either have a plan or are working on one and it will be a planned strategic move to further the profit and sustainability of the company. Both of these are good for us as that means Apple will still be around to provide us with great products.

  • RilesPro

    Well put, well put. 

    While they’re at they’re gonna need to gut Comcast for all of NBC U and Soup on E

  • juvus

    Apple is Hollywood. Steve Jobs major shareholder at Disney.  Was CEO of a studio. Has patent for its Iphone that would stop owners from recording a concert. 

    Yeah I am sorry to break it to you dude, but Apple taking on Hollywood is as likely as Steve Jobs starting to praise flash.

  • MarsNova

    I believe that the future of consumer entertainment is in the hands of the entity that can properly combine all the prevalent factors–music, movies, television, the Internet–and efficiently deliver them through a single item or element that’s practical and easy for the user to control. Or, at least, as few items as possible.

    I believe that this is Apple’s objective for the consumer, more than I’m convinced that most other companies have the same thing in mind. Still, I think that a takeover of the film industry is a pretty-tall order for Apple, just a bit overambitious. Besides, while Silicon Valley and Hollywood share a number of characteristics, they’re two different worlds–one built by geeks and the other built by magicians. I doubt that the elements of each world would mesh well. I just don’t see it.

  • Kale

    Sony did not invent the 31/2 inch floppy.

  • Ch

    Because there is too much to criticize.

  • Jaywontdart

    Successful FORMATS do not a revolution make…. CD’s, Floppy Discs, for real?  Sure, “everyone” used them, but “everyone” also has a house full of forks, knives and even SPOONS, are those three groundshaking hits for your cutlery manufacturer?

    Walkman, Handicam certainly, although NOT at the same level of penetration as the iPod, or modern smartphones (including Android for balance), the market for consumer electronics was smaller, thats why.  

    The self professed CULT of Mac focused on current businesses, not a Japanese company from the 80’s, Michael Jackson is my favourite musician of all time, but I wouldnt expect the music world to revolve around him on casual mention now, “oh, that single is soooo Thriller…”, but that a contemporary would be used.

    Sony is practically dead, they effed up music to Apple, TV’s to Samsung, digital cameras have moved to smartphones, which are dominated by Apple and Non Sony Android users, no more “formats” for Sony to invent and force upon the consumer, its all “in the cloud” or “flash memory” inbuilt…

  • No_Serenity_Here

    This post shows such a fundamental misunderstanding about how the film industry works, I can only assume the poster is either clueless, or wrote it in a moment of drunken high spirits.

  • twitter-62476719

    Oh! I know! Steve Jobs should run for president, and then change the whole legislation stating that “Apple is the ruler of the universe, and it can own anything it want”. Then buy every cable company in the country

  • Mazmike

    I luv it mike. The concept of our favorite company swooping in and making Hollywood great again should be the next great thing apple takes on. I have been making the same comments to my wife for the better part of a year now!

  • Pasqualito

    CD is a co-invention with Philips.

  • Imacinuptown

    oops wrong, Apple was struggling pre-Steve, he came in with an eventual new OS, and immediately simplified the hardware offerings, then came iMac, then iPod, then iTunes MS, then iPhone, now iPads. Thanks Steve, keep rockin’ on.

  • american

    You were doing really well until you muffed it up by saying “Michael Jackson is my favourite musician of all time”. Your credibility is in tatters. Hang your head in shame.

  • PoachJC

    How about they take some of that dough and invested it into fixing something they have a vested interest in.. E-books.  The US is one of the only regions to have ebooks in iBooks that aren’t centuries old.  Due to the stupid international publishing rights I can’t buy any recently published materials in iBooks.  Actually come to think of it why can’t Apple go global with iTunes?  Why can’t I buy music in iTunes just because I live outside the US.  It’s time to take the region restrictions off our devices.

  • Martin

    For reference, In Europe is far worse (but we have better internet) ;)

  • nak

    CDs paved the way for digital music. Without the invention of the CD Apple today might not have a thriving iTunes business. And Apple certainly thought that the 3.5 inch floppy was revolutionary — Macs were the first computers to use them.

    Walkmans proved people wanted to carry their music with them, and the Handicam similarly made high-quality portable video recording possible. These are all “culture changing” inventions that Sony either invented or had a major hand in.

    Apple did not invent smart phones, they made a better one with the iPhone. Apple did not invent portable music players, they made a better one with the iPod.

    iPad is simply too new to say it’s culture changing. And I have doubts how culture changing the Mac really is, a lot of people will say the Amiga was more important (I’m not one of them.) Sony’s inventions and contributions have proven staying power. People are still using CDs more than 25 years after they hit the market. The major idea that made things like the HandiCam and Walkman continue to live on in Apple’s and others’ products.

    Sony is not a Japanese company from the 80s, they began in the 40s. But Apple was around in the 80s. Why didn’t they invent the CD then? Or a Walkman? Or a video camera? Mike was saying that no other company has made culture changing devices. Plenty have, they did it in the past, Apple is doing it now, and in the future some other company will. 

    P.S. Sony is far from dead to spite their current failings.

  • Wirehedd

    Agreed. Very much so, with a few exceptions as listed in other posts, but in general I agree. We would just need to make sure they bought a few porn studios as well and make THAT better too. :)

  • Wirehedd

    The old adage of “build a better mousetrap…” is what Apple has done to  the personal electronics, media consumption and personal computers. When another company comes along and does it better it won’t matter if Apple or Sony or Samsung or whoever is in charge as people will move to the superior product eventually and those who fall behind will eventually fail. This is what Sony has done over the last 2 decades and unless they adopt a more aggressive model of R&D they will continue to slide further behind. 

  • Don

    If I had 70+ billion I would hire Ballmer to scrub the shitter.

  • NewbornFugur

    LOL, now that is funny.  I think his is an arrogant SOB myself. 

  • NewbornFugur

    Too funny…. ROLF…..

  • gigaguy

    If apple had more control/influence on video content not only would content cost more but you’d have to buy the equipment to use it. At least the crappy cablecos let you rent their clunky boxes.
    And myself and many others see the proliferation of video content as a negative, not a positive. How much low budget, non actor, non scripted reality crap do we need to watch? And most Hollywood drivel is formula drivel. So let apple formulize video like they’ve done to music, say goodbye to independent media as the only content providers that could survive it are the same same formula machines.
    And anyone that thinks using OTA is a step back doesnt understand current video delivery tech or what the cablecos are doing to the signals to max out profits.
    Much of current tv content is low quality crap, I guess apple could at least deliver it to you prettier. Ugh.

  • NewbornFugur

    Being in trouble at some point in the future would go with out saying, every company if it lasts long enough will see hard times for one reason or another, the real point is do they have the staying power to be around and a power house in the industry just like Sony, GE and others of its like.  I agree that taking over is really not what they are about, they would rather influence and industry to meet its own needs or direction. If Apple maintains a sales popularity and numbers at its current rate for its future products the company would more than likely be around for many years to come.

  • NewbornFugur

    If Apple is the Galactic Empire then who is Steve, Darth Vader or the Emperor? Would the new complex they are building be the Death Star?


  • NewbornFugur

    Happens to me all the time..

  • Bob

    I’m sorry – I don’t want to pay $150.00  bucks for a movie ticket.

  • Shaun

    What planet do you live on? SJ doesn’t want to fix your crappy American cable tv system or save the world from the Hollywood titans, he just want to sell more Apple kit. He’s not bothered if every film or tv prog or song is on iTunes. Just as long as their are enough to persuade you and me to buy an iPod or an iPad or an iPhone. Once the movie studios realise they are missing out on revenues they will come round or their disgruntled share holders will make them. SJ is playing the long game rather than blowing Apple’s cash reserves on ill advised smash and grab.

  • Stuart Wells

    don’t you love some mild racism in the afternoon… I agree that its US centered but its a US website, with US journalists and a mostly US audience!

    P.S. rather interesting thoughts about apples impact on things, thanks for another good one!

  • iosfangirl

    Touche! awesome article 

  • Patranus

    1) The EU isn’t a country
    2) The GDP of the United States is ~15 trillion.  The next largest GDP is China is with 5 trillion or 1/3 of the GDP of the United States with 3x the population.

    So, Apple could sink its resources into tapping the largest consumer market on the planet or focus on other markets with less disposable income.

  • Wirehedd

    can you say xenophobe?

    … didn’t think so. :)

  • Wirehedd

    ..considering the US economy is basically “owned” by the Chinese. One small change in their reserve currency and the US economy goes into a devastating tailspin and collapses. (not my say so, economists worldwide agree, look it up).

    The fact is that we all live on the same flying rock in space and we had better learn to get along before we turn said rock into a smoking ball of molten shit.

    Spouting hatred and apathy about each other is exactly the wrong way to make things better.

  • Wirehedd

    All I really know is that on my birthday on November 12, 1986 I turned 20 and bought myself 250 shares of AAPL stock and haven’t sold it yet. I got them for about $1200.00 US and plan to retire on them someday (with the few others I own). I also had shares of Atari and wow, look how great that turned out. :)

    If they do something stupid and dilute the value I’ll be pissed off but if it makes the few stocks I own more valuable go for it.

  • John Marshall

    Agreed. The solutions posted are very un-Apple like.

  • blairh

    Terrible article. I mean, amazingly bad. 

    For starters let’s address your main point. This idea of Apple “buying” Hollywood. No studio would sell to Apple unless it got roughly double of what it’s probably worth. Apple isn’t going to do such a dumb thing. Secondly, you are really jumping the gun here with DVRs. I watched a video on Engadget a few days back where a Comcast suit was doing a demo of their next gen DVR box. Suffice to say the frustrations of clunky interfaces, lack of internet integration, and small hard drives to store our recorded movies and tv shows will essentially be a thing of the past in the near future. 

    A few weeks back John Gruber made a point on his podcast saying that every year there are countless ridiculous articles about what Apple should do with their money and this article is just one of many. 

    Apple doesn’t need to buy anything. The issue at hand is Hollywood and their reluctance (and fear) to embrace the future. They are praying that Blu-ray’s will stick around long enough until they can figure out how to squeeze as much money as they can from consumers. 

    What Hollywood needs to wake up and embrace is a technology where we can stream every movie ever made instantly. A monthly fee, a la Netflix, where every tv show and movie is at our fingertips. Netflix streaming is a good start but the selection is simply too limited right now to take  it all that seriously. 

    I’ll continue renting Blu-ray’s until streaming can catch up quality wise. But I’m done with discs and the clunky experience of having to use them and the nightmare of not being able to bookmark a movie when I don’t have the time to finish it. 

    And buying our shows a la carte? Dream on. Fine if you want to give iTunes your money and do so, however people, despite the cable bill, want access to countless stations to discover and enjoy programing, even if they only truly watch a small percentage of the shows available. 

    Cable is going nowhere. Apple is not buying Hollywood. And DVRs are only getting better. Lastly, expect a line like,”The music industry, which is now Apple’s bitch” to come from some moron writer on Gizmodo, not from COA. 

  • blairh

    Why do you have to torrent ‘Real Time’? Do you not subscribe to HBO?

  • Robert Norris Hills


  • anes

    4 thumbs for this comment.

  • Rob

    Yeah it’s doing great things for the creation of content and the progression of technology. ??

  • burcsahinoglu

    instead they should buy a wired and wireless telco.

  • Mark Aaron

    yes, remove your heads out of your rear ends fanboys..  articles like this are embarrassing and one of the reasons i ditched apple.    i now have android with flash.. and yes it feels both superior and awesome to be able to have that option on my portable device.  it rocks.

  • Aj Tk427

    I have to disagree that DVRs are getting better.  They are, but at an amazingly slow progress.  Here in Canada through Rogers, I’m not expecting anything ground breaking for at least 2-3 years maybe 5 because Rogers and all the cable companies, are milking profits from those box rentals.

    I could really care less about the actual content that I’m subscribing too, yes there is definitely a better way, but I think I’m paying a slightly fair value.  My biggest gripe is with the hardware.  As was said in the post, the hardware is from the 90’s, low grade steaming piles of crap, but I have no other option (other than dump them, steal content and get rabbit ears)

    My one issue with the article.  Never going to happen with the current model for data. The articles idea revolves around streaming, currently I have a 60GB cap in Canada, I can go as high as 125GB for 100+ bucks a month.  That model needs to die for a streaming society to take off.

  • narg

    Mike, you obviously hold Apple in MUCH too high regard.  Also, considering the manpower involved in Hollywood 70 billion wouldn’t even make a scratch.  Grow up.

  • narg

    Sony did not invent the 3.5 nor the CD.  They paid others to do it, like Phillips.  Sony is one of those companies that survives off the blood of others.  Often to their demise, as Sony has many more failures than it does successes in electronics.  If it were not for gaming and the purchase of Universal, they’d be barely a blip on the radar, if still around at all.

    I agree 100% with every thing else you state.  Apple is ruining the Music industry as it is, not helping it.  I’d hate to see them ruin the movie industry too.

  • Johns

    You have it all backwards. Apple does not have iTunes so it can sell ipods! Apple sells iPods so it can have iTunes!

    Apple sells iPhones so it can have the app marketplace!

    And AppleTV… the hardware is only there so they can sell the movies/TVs.

    Unless… your entire post is meant as a joke?  *confused*

  • blairh

    So you disagree that DVRs are getting better, but then agree, but at a slow pace. Thanks for the laugh. 

    I’m sorry your cable situation sucks but that’s pretty specific to just you anyone in Canada I guess. Also your bandwidth cap is a joke. I get 250 GBs a month with Comcast. 

    I think the problem you have is that your service sucks, not technology. Like I said in my original post, I’m expecting some pretty amazing new DVRs this fall. So maybe you can either swallow your bad situation or move. Your limitations are brought upon by your environment, not what technology currently has to offer. 

  • Paul

    Unlike Apple, Hollywood movies are mostly made here in the US. We don’t make our movies in China unless they are about China. Hollywood is one of America’s last successful export industries. It is a novel concept to many born after WW2, but it is better for us to make products here and sell them all over the world: like movies. My iPhone, my iPad, my Mac were all manufactured in China. The last seven movies we made were produced entirely in the United States, employing thousands of Americans. I really would hate to see a corporation like Apple take over Hollywood because I like employing Americans.

  • Mike

    Really? I heard that in Europe most people have the option to choose from among several cable operators, rather than in the US where it’s often only one.

  • Mike

    To paraphrase my mother: If you don’t have anything specific to say, then don’t say anything. ; )

  • Mike

    Why would I want to grow up?  ; )

    Hollywood is a famous and influential industry because they’re the most high-visibility industry in the world — their products gain the rapt attention of billions. But from a financial point of view, they’re weak and puny by Silicon Valley standards.

  • Mike

    And Eric Schmidt was a shareholder at Apple. Jobs’ board seat means nothing.

  • Mike Rathjen

    “Once again, totally, completely US centric.”

    AHAHAHAHA… It’s a US-based website with US-based authors, so what do you expect?

    I can just see you now on vacation in Kenya, in your hotel room, wondering why all the news is about Africa instead of your home town…

  • Sarcastic

    Nice Language, in the post, and in the comments. Thanks guys.

  • Lugus

    Though I don’t agree that Apple could or should necessarily do this on their own (or that other tech companies would let them–Google and Samsung are, after all, already building a web TV), but for the basic concept YES, FINALLY SOMEONE GETS IT!!  Every time I look at the big, flat-screen TV on my wall and then down at the tablet on my coffee table and the phone in my hand I ask myself, why don’t these things all do the same variety of things???  TV, web, voice, games, they’re all just apps, they all need connectivity, they can all use IP.  They are all basically flat screen access devices with some kind of connectivity.  I can already connect my tablet (or other PC of whatever flavor) to my TV.  The circuit board in an iPad or Tablet PC is, well, the size of the iPad or tablet PC. How hard can it be to put it INSIDE THE TV!!  If someone else doesn’t do this soon, I’m going to do it myself!  

  • Andre Joffe

    First thought: Flawed rant, gratuitous profanity, and a Nazi reference. Not a professional way to make your points.

    Second thought: The idea of just throwing Apple cash at the problem is not necessarily the solution. Apple can pressure the industry to improve. But suggesting that Apple throw around its mountain of iCash to crush Hollywood and cable companies by the balls is just simplistic and unconvincing. All this sounds to me like advocating an Apple monopoly over all entertainment content. Aside from being legally problematic, why would that make sense in any context?

    Also nowhere in this article do I see a clear reason why Apple would want to be responsible for owning and managing any of these things. Apple being a cable operator? Makes no sense, just as they don’t want to be a phone and mobile data pipeline, or an ISP. They make the products, not the pipelines.

  • Julian

    In reply to this essay–get over yourself. This is cult of mac. If you don’t like what people on here are saying, realize that this is a place for mac propaganda…

  • Dan

    Apple shouldn’t be buying people and making them change the way they do things.  They should be making products that enable the change consumers want.  And this is what they are doing.  Your article fails to differentiate between the various functionality found in Hollywood.  You focus on the distribution aspect, while most people consider “Hollywood” to people the people creating the content. 

    You’re also forgetting the fact that cable outlets subsidize just about everything you see on TV.  Apple doesn’t have nearly the spending power of Time Warner, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV and others combined.  Without that subsidization, consumers would be a lot more picky about what they watch.

    Now, if Apple wanted to make a box that contains a Blu Ray Player, Cable/ Satellite acces, and iTunes, all with the functionality and ease of use of a typical Apple product, I’d be in favor of that (that’s where TiVo missed its opportunity). I could use some free space underneath my ginormous Samsung TV.

  • Pam Bloomquist

    Mike wrote this but I have thought it.  All I do is scroll the channels.  There isn’t very much content I want to stop for.  I like HGTV and similar shows but my cable doesn’t provide DIY and others so I am stuck with re-runs.  I have house-hunted until I can’t even watch any more.  I am getting a laptop just to substitute for TV.  I’d rather “build a lot” than watch reality TV–even the little I see as I click on by it.  Food Channel just makes me hungry so that’s out.  I hosestly can’t find anything I like except NCIS in syndication and the new ones.  I am ready for podcast on my TV.  The days of everybody gathered around the family TV enjoying the same program are over.  Have been over for quite a long time.  These cable monopolies are terrible.  There are more companies than one available in most markets but our small community can’t receive wireless cable so we are stuck with the hard wired cable limiting us to one company.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  I hate it.  I no longer turn on my TV to watch anything I just search for something and many times I come up with nothing.

  • Anna Murphy

    Great fucking article Mike!  You’re right, only the “fucking Beatles” could succeed today without iTunes.   And the music industry truly is “Apple’s bitch”.  Apple should use their cash to make the movie/TV industry their hot, sweaty bitch too as you suggest.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, like you did, “the living room experience sucks”.  And watching TV today in the living room sucks big, donkey dicks.  TV programming today is filled with “crappy movies”, “shitty reality shows” and other fucking crap. Apple may not have the power to “force Hollywood to stop sucking”, but they can make the user experience less shitty.  Kudos to you on writing such a cogent, well phrased article that used language in an elegant manner to express sophisticated concepts.

  • Andrew DK

    Yes. Make it happen.

  • Mark Aaron

    Soooo Ironic how this came out a couple of days before the Final Cut Pro debacle.   

    LOL.  Fanboys.  #facepalm

  • Mark Aaron

    actually we’re both right.  go back a little further and you’ll see that steve was ousted from the company for making the wrong decisions and being impossible during the 10 years they couldn’t have intel chips.  this almost killed apple.  

    and you are correct that he came back in and saved the company (ipod iphone).  nothing but admiration for his role in that phase.. but here again we see his stubbornness ultimately hurting the company with his refusal to work with the tech world surrounding him and he looks like a hypocritical greedy dr evil in the process to everyone but the fanboys. regardless of the reason, sometimes you you have to compromise with the powers that be, his failure to do so is costing apple valuable market share.  this is the bottom line.

  • Mark Aaron

    i’d say that would be a realistic strategy.  fair enough!

  • Andrew Pringle

    What? I have had both a sky+HD box and a virgin media V+ box both are perfectly usable, the virgin media box could arrange thing a little better.
    But would I be willing to pay apple £20 a month just for that. No danger.
    Personally though…  I just download whatever I want to watch.

  • maparu

    Great article Mike. We can only hope and assume Apple has something awesome up their sleeve.

  • Animesh Mishra

    Oh boy ! You too have turned into a fanboy. I am so dejected, you were my favorite tech writer up until now. :(

    On a different note, living room experience sucks and Apple is and will never be the remedy. You are promoting a monopoly which will not pan out ok for any one except Apple Inc.