Apple exec: Television may not be in the cards for now

Eddy Cue, Apple's head of Internet software and services, says Apple won't get into the television business unless it can create a great user experience, which isn't the slam dunk people think it is.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
2 min read
Nope, probably not for a while. CNET

If you're waiting for Apple to revolutionize the TV business, you may be sitting on your hands for a while.

Apple executive Eddy Cue, who runs the company's Internet software and services business, downplayed the idea in a chat with Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves. His note, published today, was picked up by Fortune.

Apple wouldn't enter a new business unless it could create a great user experience and fix existing problems, Cue told Pacific Crest. While Apple could make an attractive user interface, it still can't address the problems that stem from the pay-TV system, which is controlled by the cable and telecom providers.

The cable and telecom companies act as a pipe for television shows, movies, and other entertainment, and operate with the studios and networks under a lucrative model that none of the parties really want to shake up. As an outsider looking in, Apple would have considerable challenges if it were to propose radical changes. Apple, in particular, would find it difficult to sign deals with the movie and TV companies in an effort to bring its own media directly to its customers.

Apple was awarded a patent for its own cable box, and the company is reportedly talking to cable companies.

Apple declined to comment to CNET.

The television business is one many expect Apple to eventually enter as its next big venture. But it's a tough industry, with low margins and multiple competitors. Many expect Apple to produce a premium item that's significantly more expensive than the typical television.

Updated at 9:12 a.m. PT: with a response from Apple.