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Apple’s “assertive” negotiation style holding TV service back

by Brandon Russell | July 28, 2016July 28, 2016 1:15 pm PST

Apple has been linked to an online TV service for years but nothing has ever launched. Thanks to an extensive new report from The Wall Street Journal, we now know why.

The report details Apple’s long history of starts and stops in the TV industry, revealing how breakdowns between the Cupertino company and cable juggernauts have kept the service from launching over the years.

At the heart of the issue, according to the report, is Apple’s “assertive” negotiation tactics and blind hubris, apparently led by iTunes chief Eddy Cue. One cable-industry executive told the WSJ that Cue’s strategy essentially boils down to, “We’re Apple,” as if to say that should be enough for companies to agree.

The latest rumors have said Apple wants to offer a small selection of popular live channels with an on-demand elements, but because Apple has allegedly been so unreasonable in its demands, cable companies have walked away from negotiations.

Here’s a particularly choice quote from WSJ’s report:

Apple’s roaring success and assertive negotiating style are kinks in that strategy. Media companies worry that agreeing to Apple’s sweetheart terms could allow traditional cable-TV distributors to demand the same deal and make it harder to recoup their investments in original shows.

Now, it seems Apple might be exploring original programming as a way to enter the TV industry, although the company recently said it’s not looking to compete with Netflix. Whether we’ll ever see an online TV service—or even a physical TV, which WSJ says was on the table at one point—from Apple remains unclear. Whatever happens, Apple’s Eddy Cue doesn’t appear rushed to launch anything anytime soon.

“Time is on my side,” Cue reportedly told cable executives. Sounds like Cue thinks it’ll only be a matter of time before cable executives relent.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.