Does Steve Jobs' No Mean Yes In The Case of Apple TV?
|Apple TV, the final frontier.|
At the AllThingsDigital conference in Palos Verdes Tuesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs seemingly put the kibosh on Apple's foray into the television market, stating, "The problem with innovation in the TV industry is the go-to-market strategy ... Ask TiVo, ask Roku, ask us. ... ask Google in a few months."
Referring to Apple's TV venture as a "hobby," Jobs went on to say that "smarter people than us will figure it out." Coming from someone who has just brashly stated "Of course I have ideas, that's why I'm up here" the deflective "smarter people than us will figure it out" seems like great tactic for managing expectations.
It echoes other sneaky Jobs statements:
- His pre-iPhone stance that phone carriers were hard to deal with;
- His circumspect "I'm not convinced people want to watch movies on a tiny screen" sentiment, preceding the video iPod;
- And, most notably, the deliciously devious "There are no plans to make a tablet. It turns out people want keyboards ... we look at the tablet and we think it is going to fail" before the iPad.
"It's not a problem of technology, it's not a problem of vision, it's a problem of go to market strategy. [TV] is very tower of Babel-ish, it's Balkanized."
In my experience, CEOs usually pull out media fodder like "I'm not smart enough to figure this out" when faced with an irresistible challenge. So will we be asking Google about its problems with innovating in the TV industry because Steve Jobs fancies himself smarter than he declares and plans on serving up some competition?
An iPad-like touch screen TV could really take off, especially where game and voter participation shows are concerned. And for someone who considers as customers his viewers and not his distribution channels, cutting through the current Balkanization of the television industry (just like he did with the phone industry) might be a reward in and of itself.
Watch the video below, and ask yourself whether Jobs doth protest too much.