Apple COO Cook on buying companies large and small, iPads coming to Best Buy, Apple TV, and more

Apple Online Store“An Apple Inc. senior executive said on Tuesday the iPhone and Mac maker has looked at large companies as part of its mergers and acquisition strategy, but none have passed muster,” Gabriel Madway reports for Reuters. “Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook noted Apple has traditionally made small acquisitions for talent and technology.”

“Apple has roughly $40 billion in cash and securities, and many shareholders are wondering what it plans to do with its war chest,” Madway reports. “It recently made two relatively small acquisitions, buying mobile ad firm Quattro Wireless and music subscription service Lala.”

“Apple is preparing to launch its newest device, the iPad tablet computer, in the coming weeks. Cook said the iPad will be sold directly by Apple, and in some indirect channels with ‘assisted sales,’ such as Best Buy,” Madway reports. “Cook praised the iPad data pricing plan to be offered in the United States by carrier AT&T Inc. as ‘revolutionary,’ and brushed aside a question about what others would have to do become a carrier for the product. ‘I wouldn’t want to speculate about what else somebody would have to do to join the party.'”

“Cook conceded that [Apple TV] was ‘still a hobby’ but said the company believes in it and will continue to invest,” Madway reports. “The COO said Apple plans to open around 50 retail stores this year, at the top of its expected range.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again with the “hobby.” We don’t have much to criticize when it comes to Cook, but please stop referring to Apple TV as a “hobby.” The reason why Apple TV has sold “only” around 7 million units lies somewhere between content providers not offering enough reasonably-priced content to Apple TV and Apple treating the device like a red-headed stepchild.

When your cable company-issued DVR inevitably screws up, Apple TV is invaluable. When you want to catch a movie without any hassle, Apple TV is great (rentals more so than purchases, which are priced too high). For sharing music, home movies, YouTube content, podcasts, and photos, it’s excellent, too. Why Apple either belittles the device as a “hobby” or just completely ignores it and fails to promote it is beyond us.

We have Apple TVs. We use Apple TVs. We love our Apple TVs. Apple TVs are great devices that do many things well. It sells itself to people who see us run it through its paces. Why Apple hates their own product remains a maddening mystery to us.

Here’s a plan, Apple (and this goes for everyone from Steve Jobs on down):
1. Stop referring to your product as a “hobby.” You’re not just talking to analysts; everybody hears you. You’re denigrating the product for no reason. Why don’t you just come out and say “don’t buy it?” Idiocy happens at Apple, too; thankfully, it’s rare.
2. Start – gasp – actually promoting Apple TV and maybe you’ll even surprise yourselves by actually selling units beyond the relative trickle to those who are extremely-in-the-know and who sell your product for you via word-of-mouth alone.

By the way, Apple, if you make a TV ad, it helps to actually run it:

Direct link via YouTube here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn W.” for the heads up.]

40 Comments

  1. I think Apple either doesn’t know what to do with AppleTV, or it has a definite plan which can’t be realized yet due to the cost of hardware or content issues.

    My guess is Apple really doesn’t know what to do with AppleTV, because to expand capabilities like adding a DVR creates a whole slew of other issues, including programming guides, etc., which may be more than Apple wants to take on at the moment or which may increase the cost too much to make the device viable.

  2. @ bizlaw “My guess is Apple really doesn’t know what to do with AppleTV”

    I agree. So they should release the SDK (they must use one internally) and let developers create downloadable apps for it and see what ‘sticks’ apart from limited content.

    Viewing the iPhone/iPad screen that is in your hand is one alternative if you could sync iPhone apps to it for a starter. Apple wouldn’t even need to support a separate AppleTV SDK in this scenario.

  3. I agree about AppleTV. I LOVE my AppleTVs (I have two – one in the Living Room, one in my Bedroom).

    Because of people seeing me use my AppleTVs, I know of 6 other people who have bought one, and each of them claim multiple people they know have bought one after seeing theirs in action.

    The product really does sell itself, as long as someone who knows how to use it can show people what it can do. Just putting one in an Apple Store (where most of the employees do NOT know how to use it) is not helping sell them. I was in a Best Buy recently and saw one connected to an HDTV. While I was looking at it, a Best Buy employee proceeded to tell me what a piece of crap it was. When I told him I had two and loved them, he asked me to show him what it could do. I did, and he told me that was more training that he had ever received on how to use it.

  4. I think the only thing keeping Apple TV from taking off is content. Apple was a little naive and thought getting content deals worked out for the Apple TV would come after the networks saw how capable it is.

    Apple didn’t realize the sway cable and satellite companies have with the networks. Cable and satellite companies definitely DON’T want their content available on Apple TV and are using their considerable influence to keep it that way.

    It seems like Hulu (and at least one network) are excited about getting their content on the iPad. Maybe the iPad will be the back door that eventually helps Apple get that content on Apple TV.

    I think Apple TV will be a success, but not in the near future. 🙁

  5. If The executives were a little bit more enthusiastic about the product, just like the attention they give to the iPhone and the iPad, and not merely calling it a hobby, the product can actually sell really well, more than the 7 million sold.

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