Scoble: AppleTV "left the door open to its competitors"

Scoble: AppleTV "left the door open to its competitors"

Summary: Does Apple go around leaving doors open to its competitors?


I unsubscribed from Robert Scoble's blog some time ago (pretty much everything he posts ends up on Techmeme anyway so I see it there ...) but he's still capable of coming up with some interesting posts.  Today though he posted about AppleTV and in the post he touched on an interesting point - how Apple leaves the door open to its competitors.

Apple could have really taken over the HDTV world and held it for decades. Instead it has left the door open to its competitors.

Microsoft loves competitors like Apple who leave doors open.

What am I talking about?

Yes, what are you talking about Robert?

Do we have a wide-screen iPod yet? One that matches the form factor of my 60-inch HDTV? No. Microsoft executives say that a wide-screen, 16:9 form factor, Zune is on the way this fall.

Do we have a 16:9 1080-full-res MacBookPro out yet? No. Dell has one. So does Acer. Just look for an WUXGA screen. But Apple hasn’t shipped one of those yet.

Do we have HDTV iTunes yet? No. But is giving us HDTV Lost. has tons of close-to-HDTV content. Joost is going to bring us close-to-HDTV content. Where’s Apple?

Do we have an entertainment system that joins our computers and our big screens? Microsoft has Media Center and Xbox. Plus Xbox Live now joins gamers on PCs with those on Xbox. Why hasn’t Apple made a deal with Sony yet to bring PlayStation 3 to MacBookPros?

I'm wondering whether Apple isn't overstretched.  While Apple is venturing into new areas with AppleTV and the iPhone, in order to be able to do this the company has had to delay the release of Leopard.  If Apple is going to dominate new markets I think that the company might have to restructure and re-prioritize to take on the challenges that face it. 

But Apple has to be careful.  New ventures like AppleTV and the iPhone are speculative and while they might turn out to be lucrative, the company needs to make sure it doesn't harm its core business.  The company is currently doing very well but the Engadget blunder showed that investors won't take kindly to bad news.  That means treading carefully, and if it means leaving doors open for other, so be it.


Topics: Microsoft, Apple, Hardware

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  • Proves why choosing OSX is so restrictive

    [i]Do we have a 16:9 1080-full-res MacBookPro out yet? No. Dell has one. So does Acer. Just look for an WUXGA screen. But Apple hasn?t shipped one of those yet.[/i]

    I use Linux and Windows so when new hardware comes out, I can just go out and buy it and all my applications, all my infrastructure works just fine. Had I standardized on OSX though, I would be denied these innovations. Why? Because of Apple's decision to use a TPM DRM chip in order to [b]artificially[/b] and [b]onerously[/b] force me to buy Apple hardware. I'm not saying that Apple shouldn't handcuff all of their customers in order to bleed every last penny out of their wallets, I'm only wondering why any of you put up with it! More than that, you seem to take special [b]pleasure[/b] in being restricted to 3 desktop models and 2 laptop models supplied by only 1 vendor who have typically been very late to market with the latest technology. Oh well, I guess there must be some comfort in knowing that you are exactly like 30 million other people. It can be scary to think for yourselves. Baaaaah.
    • A Pigs Ear Is Always a Pigs Ear...

      No matter how cheap and how many configuarations you can build that run Windows
      or Linux they will only ever run Windows or Linux...yuck.

      More and more people just want stuff to work these days and Apple is very good at
      that. Many analysts and geeks don't get that.
    • Wow, and I didn't think that Windows Zealots existed.

      Nice try at flame bate. :P

      If you want to knock Apple hardware in the future, learn how it works first.
  • While the AppleTV lacks a lot

    I am beginning to wonder who truly understands (or is able to 'get it right') in this space. If anyone.
    You can't really get a PCI card to put into your PC that will control a cable/satellite box, or decode the feed itself. Want to record HD to your computer? You can do it, but it isn't pluger, GB-PVR (which I currently run) have been around for a wh and play, unless it is OTA.
    There are excellent solutions out there for everything but Apple (well, my knowledge of Apple PVR software is a little out of date, so I may be incorrect). MythTV, Windows Media Centile, yet none have been easy to set up and use(I'm on DirectTV, so just controlling the box can be an issue), and there are always limitations.
    Until the source of the media (namely cable/satellite) make it easier, tossing in a DVD from NetFlix will remain the simplest solution.
    • elgato eyeTV and Miglia both have great PVR solutions for Mac...

      the even have cable card solutions, but only in Europe.. but have HD over air tuners of free digital cable HD single, dual tuners in many flavours PCI cards, USB boxes and USB thumb drive sized units. Miglia has hardware based encode/decode so it's faster and your cpu isn't doing that heavy lifting. what we need though is a cable card usb or pci card solution for north america. is there such a thing on the PC side?
      • Yes, all of the above

        mentioned software can handle it. And there are capture cards that behave the same (if the hardware is available for the Mac, it has been out for the PC for a while, typically)

        The problem continues for be getting the signal. OTA offers some options, but digital cable (and the need for cable card solutions) in North America continues to be the problem.

        If you like elgato, you should really try Media Center (or Vista Home Premium).
    • Firewire on STB's make it easy...

      As long as you have a firewire port, a program that can decode what comes across the firewire cable, and can find HD content not encoded with HDCP, you can connect a STB to a computer and just record the streamed content.
  • Good Point Adrian

    Apple has never been real open to the idea of others building on their platforms. I am thinking that the limitation is Mr. Jobs himself. While he has his detractors, no one can not say he does not have ideas that stretch boundaries of what we use for personal tech. But that very important aspect leaves Apple in a lurch when he focuses on one particular line of products as the "next neat thing" - like iPhone. While resources focus there, we see Leopard delayed, no real upgrades to Mac hardware lines (wasn't the reason for an MacTel marriage new and improved cpu / chip set combinations that appear more rapidly?) and a rather odd choice of a "boom box" for the iPod - like there are not enough options already.

    As Mr. Jobs stays enamored with a product, the development proceeds at a breakneck pace. As a new bauble draws his attention other things slip - much as you point out Apple TV seemed to have focus - then was ignored leaving the door open. I am thinking that he needs to be able to delegate more to keep the focus on a product line with a champion - but then the last time he did that at Apple, his designated "leaders" threw him out.
    • yet mac profit growth @ 3 x market and laptop sales +98% year over year...

      these guys just don't know what they are doing eh? ; )

      c'mon.. gime a break... Job said yesterday...

      [i]"We're in two busineses today, we'll be very shortly in three business and a hobby. One is our Mac business, second is our music business, third business is the phone business, handsets. And the hobby is Apple TV. The reason I call it a hobby is a lot of people have tried and failed to make it a business. It's a business that's hundreds of thousands of units per year but it hasn't crested to be millions of units per year, but I think if we improve things we can crack that."[/i]

      in other words... slow going until it can be shown to be profitable... why jump in with both feet when at this point the public has shown there really isn't an appetite for it put some thing out.. let the feedback come it and build some thing that people really want and that there is an actual market for because of right now there is not market for it.. they are in business to make money...

      take at look at zune with it "join the social" feature waiting for user need.. apples got it right.
      • Ignore MacKrazy in KC

        He is just an M$ $hill and obviously hates all things from Apple. Why can't they just leave us alone?
      • Apple has it right, mostly.

        I agree - I voted with my dollars in the market for Apple (machine and stock) however I am concerned that if details get missed - like the one Adrian points out - that the "wait and see" may be the wait and watch someone else steal the march on Apple (and mess with the ever upward trend of my stock). Getting the details right has been a key in Apple's success and this one may open Apple TV up before it has been fully matured by Apple first. I personally think that AppleTV is a product in search of a purpose - note the update for larger disk already - and YouTube - (like I want to watch that content on my TV - quality is poor on the PC - I want to see more grains on the HDTV screen and yes I know AppleTV is not HD now - it will be though soon I suspect).

        I also think that Mr. Jobs is a "one of a kind" irreplacable CEO that due to some quirks can lead things astray from time to time. He has more hits than misses - as you point out in the current market data and stock price - but when you are under the looking glass all the time it is possible to forget the bigger picture as you look for the "one more thing...".
  • Typical geek comment...

    I think the link you're looking for is here:

    True that PC manufacturers rush their products out to provide the latest hardware
    specs to their faithful drones but what you've actually done is lock yourself into a
    platform which is hardware-obsessed. Shame, as the only useful parts of a
    system are the applications and waiting for Mac Apps to be ported to Windows/
    Linux is doing yourself a dis-service. Would a system be better because of a few
    extra pixels or because the software is designed properly?

    The current technique of selling PCs rests on obsessing the customer base with
    hardware and distracting their view from the only useful part of the system - the
    software. Windows has more but the software developers won't listen to real
    designers so the end product is rarely useful and wading through the mass of
    titles only reduces output & productivity further.

    Of course if you could really think for yourself you'd have bought a Mac and been
    able to run OSX, Windows & Linux apps side-by-side on the same desktop to
    make a real comparison rather than having your view engineered by, largely
    irrelevent, hardware specifications.

    I would say bigger BAAAAH but sheep have some intelligence whereas you're just
    doing what you've bee programmed to do - respond to choice while being
    distracted from the real issues - by salespeople! Strategic decisions in computing
    require common sense so lets hope you're not involved too much