Apple to buy Tivo rumor reappears

If there’s one constant about technology rumors is that the same stories keep getting recycled, especially where Apple is concerned,  despite the fact that Apple never really publicly says anything. A quick recap;

    • iPhone – 3 years of rumor mongering before release
    • iPad- been a rumor of some kind ever since the death of the Newton

      With both of those products shipping, one of the last really great Apple rumors left is Apple buying Tivo.

      This rumor goes back to February 2005 , so it’s got at least five years of reanimating like a bad killer from a slasher movie. MoD estimates that today’s rumor about Apple buying Tivo is at least Apple Tivo 6: Revenge of Tivo at this point.

      So what’s the latest rumor? “TiVo (TIVO) shares have spiked on rumors that the company’s technology could be included in the next generation Apple (AAPL) TV box.”

      First reported by a blog on the Baron’s website, it wasn’t long until every big technology site and Apple site had this rumor and were running with it. Now, MoD has tried to backtrack the rumor to see if there’s any reason to give this rumor some weight, and couldn’t find any.

      Regardless let’s play point/counterpoint on why Apple should do this.

      Let’s buy TiVo!!!!

      1. TiVo is generally considered to have the best GUI in the DVR space and has held that reign for nearly 8 years. MoD has a Motorola Comcast DVR which appears to have been designed by some East German programmer during the 197os. It has the worst GUI that the MoD has ever seen in a device. To quote Robert Downey Jr, “son you never go full retard”, well Motorola/Comcast has apparently never seen Tropic Thunder.  If Apple wanted to add DVR capability to their AppleTV, TiVo is a great place to get both intellectual property and skilled talent.

      2. TiVo would provide instant brand recognition. All DVRs are called TiVos, now you might think that battle is over but Apple could certainly infuse TiVo with a lot of cash and a lot of influence/hype. Imagine a TiVo that is integrated and controlled by your iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad that is integrated with iTunes, and is an iOS 4 device. Add Apple’s marketing savvy, media connections, to TiVo’s existing brand power and some could argue there’s significant synergy.

      Old rumor that makes no sense currently

      1. Apple buying TiVo doesn’t change TiVos biggest problem. Most customers get their HD receivers from either their satellite or cable vendor. Those devices have DVRs and are good enough to keep TiVo at bay. The best TiVo was the integrated DirecTV receiver version which no longer exists. You can use the latest TiVos with CableCARDs to circumvent the cable company’s own DVR or Set Top Box. However, few customers knows this, and the cable companies go to great pains to make CableCARD adoption as painful as possible.

      2. TiVo is all about managing your content coming from the cable company. TiVo is the solution for an old problem, recording broadcast network content to watch at the customer’s convenience. That doesn’t sound like “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” (Jobs’ favorite quote by Wayne Gretsky). The future of programming is streaming content on demand, not broadcast television, and how does TiVo help Apple with that future of media delivery?

      3. Why not just quote Steve from the All Things Digital Conference this year when asked about future of TV and he mentions TiVo

      “Q: Is it time to throw out the interface for TV? Does television need a new human interface.

      A: The problem with innovation in the TV industry is the go-to-market strategy. The TV industry has a subsidized model that gives everyone a set top box for free. So no one wants to buy a box. Ask TiVo, ask Roku, ask us… ask Google in a few months. The television industry fundamentally has a subsidized business model that gives everyone a set-top box, and that pretty much undermines innovation in the sector. The only way this is going to change is if you start from scratch, tear up the box, redesign and get it to the consumer in a way that they want to buy it. But right now, there’s no way to do that….The TV is going to lose until there’s a viable go-to-market strategy. That’s the fundamental problem with the industry. It’s not a problem with the technology, it’s a problem with the go-to-market strategy….I’m sure smarter people than us will figure this out, but that’s why we say Apple TV is a hobby.”

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