I was on Leo Laporte’s TWIT show yesterday and ended up going
on a bit of a rant about Apple and “Planet of the Apps.” My view
on “content” efforts like this is pretty simple. It is
distracting, non-core to Apple and basically avoids the bigger
challenges: how to add data and Internet DNA into a company that
has managed to struggle with services. The App Store needs more
smarts and better search, and it needs to take a contemporary,
data-centric approach to surfacing apps. “Planet of the Apps” is
just an old media-like thinking applied to “apps.” I might be the
only one who feels that way, but the reality is that these kinds
of efforts are really not good for Apple at a time when it is
competing with Google, Amazon and Facebook.
Apple — if it really wants to get into content and wants to make
a strong statement to the Hollywood establishment that has stymied
its television efforts so far — should make a big, bold bet. It
should use its massive stock market capitalization and cash hoard
to buy Netflix.
Om is a good friend, so it pains me to say this, but he’s off his rocker on this one. I’m as skeptical as anyone about this Planet of the Apps show and why Apple is producing it. But I highly doubt it’s a distraction for anyone at Apple. It’s not even shooting in the Bay Area; it’s shooting in L.A.
Buying Netflix, on the other hand, would be a huge distraction. I’m not saying it could never happen or would certainly be a bad idea, but Apple’s services are built to take advantage of its hardware. Netflix is the opposite — it’s a service designed to be available on any device with a screen. With iTunes, Apple already has a library of movies and TV shows. If Apple wants to produce original content, they could start their own production company for a tiny fraction of Netflix’s $42 billion market cap. A fraction.
To me, this reads as Om being bored with Apple, and wanting them to just do something. Saying Apple should buy Netflix is no different than Eric Jackson’s call two years ago for Apple to start making mega-billion acquisitions. As I wrote then:
Conglomeration may well work out well for Facebook. General
Electric has done well with that model for over 100 years. But it
would be a disaster for Apple. Apple makes acquisitions for
integration. Exhibit A: PA Semi — a chump change $278 million
acquisition that laid the groundwork for Apple to become the
leading mobile semiconductor company in the world.
★ Thursday, 11 August 2016