Cringely: Apple will buy Dish Network

“I think Apple will buy Dish Network, the American direct satellite TV broadcaster,” Robert X. Cringely writes for I, Cringely.

“It’s the only acquisition that will give Apple the kind of entry point they want into the TV business, allowing Cupertino to create overnight an over-the-top (OTT) Internet streaming video service — effectively an Internet cable system,” Cringely writes. “Starz was Netflix’s streaming killer app. And Dish will be Apple’s because gaining access to all that content will be worth to Cupertino whatever it costs. Even if it destroys Dish in the process, Apple will succeed, which is exactly why they will succeed.”

“Each Dish employee represents only $800,000 in sales so many of those 19,000 workers will have to go. But if Apple outsources just satellite dish installation and customer support they’ll easily pull the revenue numbers up toward the target $2 million per employee,” Cringely writes. “One Dish employee Tim Cook will be sure to keep is CEO Charlie Ergen — a tough-yet-charismatic operator who built Dish from scratch and knows his industry. Apple won’t succeed without a Charlie Ergen at the TV controls. Ergen’s already a billionaire but he’ll stick around for a chance to turn TV on its head.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re not so sure Apple needs an entity like Dish in order to accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish with Apple TV.

Could be that Apple will buy Dish for the same reason they bought Palm.


  1. Not sure if this will happen but at least this article has some interesting thought behind it (and is refreshing given all the stupid analyst articles that are posted on MDN that you literally feel dumber after reading). I agree about Charlie being key if this were to happen.

    1. Dish owns a huge chunk of the country’s market share for non-cable television. That’s a great deal of value. If Apple were to send out an Apple TV to replace every Dish box out there and make just pennies a month off of the continued service, it would be acceptable. Barely, but we all know Apple will make more than pennies – they turn everything into huge margins.

      Dish also often bundles with local internet service providers, so that high speed connection will often already be on hand without Apple needing to “own” the ISP.

      I see a lot of possibilities here.

      1. I would think picking up time warner or comcast or verizon fios would be a better bet though. Higher speed internet and everything under your own umbrella with internet and cable then. I don’t think Apple wants to get into that business though. To get content they may have too buy someone out though, not sure.

      2. Plus again the assets that Time Warner has is a better benefit to Apple. They have content that Apple needs like HBO, CW, Cartoon Network, CNN, etc… Dish, Comcast or Verizon don’t have those. Comcast has NBC and Universal I think.

  2. What Apple should have done was buy Sega at about the time they were about to discontinue the Dreamcast in 2001. A company like Apple would have done wonders to Sega. I think they still have time to make a decision like this. It’s not too late for an Apple owned Sega to make something as great as the golden-era Genesis. Besides, Apple would have a cool mascot like Sonic, and Goolge will STILL be stuck with a green trash can that they call Android! HA! You can do this, Apple!

    1. All Apple might be interested in from Sega is it gaming IP – Sonic the Hedgehog and the rest – to own or license for use in iOS games. The same thing applies to Nintendo which, in my opinion, has a much more valuable IP portfolio with Mario and the gang. Apple does not need or want to deal with the Nintendo DS or game cartridges, etc. Mario would go straight to iOS for use on iPhone, iPads, AppleTV, etc.

      Given that approach, most game consoles and most or all handheld devices can go away. iPhone accessories to provide thumb pad controllers and dedicated buttons would be sufficient to replace the handheld gaming devices. Only the most advanced game consoles like the PS4 might continue to have some relevance for a while. But I do not see a reason why the AppleTV could not fulfill that role, as well.

  3. Re MDN’s Take: Apple bought Palm? I must have slept through that. I thought HP bought Palm. At least that’s how my friends who worked for Palm in 2010 remember it, and HP’s name did feature pretty prominently on their paychecks for a while, so it lends some credence to that theory…

  4. “Each Dish employee represents only $800,000 in sales so many of those 19,000 workers will have to go.”

    This is why I detest people like him. To be so glib about tons of people losing there jobs is just appalling.

    1. I detest the thinking and the unsustainable form of capitalism that has bred it (the person I can’t look down on or easily dismiss, because I need grace and forgiveness everyday for what selfishness and shortsightedness is left in me). We need a middle class or it all will crumble – well, while we are at it, let’s figure out how to have a sustainable capitalistic system without poverty – sustainable prosperity for all. For some to win, others, and the environment, don’t have to lose. Thinking otherwise isn’t realism, it’s just unimaginative. Remember the Think Different ad – it’s those who can imagine the world as it is not yet, are those who propel us forward.

  5. It’s worth remembering (if you’re American) that around 80% of Apple’s sales come from outside the USA. Why would Apple need a satellite and cable infrastructure company when internet streaming is clearly the future? Apple should follow Netflix and Amazon by commissioning its own programming while at the same time buying the licences for other popular content. Apple would have to spend a hell of a lot of money to own all the “pipes” around the world, I can’t imagine that’s the strategy.

  6. Who Needs the whole satellite thing ?

    Smarter move would be to buy Time Warner or help someone friendly like Disney buy Time Warner, structure it so that Apple will perpetually be entitled to streaming content rights and then sell it to a friendly company.

    On a separate note the only company I would like to see Apple purchase is Dyson, that would be a good marriage.

  7. If Apple bought Dish, it would be for Charlie alone. They have a history of doing this. They tend to buy employees, while letting huge chunks of the company they buy, vaporize, while only keeping the bits that transform Apple – or not so much.

    Look for the leaders that lead, not follow.

    1. Good luck with that thought. The idea of Charlie Ergen letting himself be bought and locked into subservience to someone else is laughable. Charlie’s history is rich with examples of his overwhelming need to be the king of the hill. Just ask any one of the numerous execs he brought in to run Dish (and Echostar before that), and then dismissed so he could take over, again and again and again. Or ask around the satellite industry. Or ask his ranch neighbors, with whom he’s had legal tussles. Or ask programmers with whom he’s regularly played a deadly serious game of subscriber chicken. Or ask Rupert Murdoch, John Malone or others in their league if they think Charlie would sell out and play a second banana role. Charlie answers to no one but Charlie, and always will.

      1. I don’t disagree with you. I am just looking at a track record for Apple. I think that Apple wouldn’t be able to buy Dish, even if they wanted to. It’s not about the money either. Apple has a plan, but few want to play. I think it simply won’t work for them unless they buy the likes of Disney or Universal (I think that would be Viacom).

  8. It makes a lot of sense to buy a way to DELIVER content, avoiding data caps and ransom money to stream via current ISP’s.
    I am hoping we can send Comcast packing!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.