Comcast identifies Apple as threat when defending Time Warner merger
Comcast is lobbying hard to get the FCC to approve their desired merger with Time Warner, and they're citing Apple as a threat to their business that would justify such a merger. Today they published a public interest statement to justify the merger to the public (a public that looks with great mistrust on both companies, let alone a combined entity), saying that Apple is exploring "development of an Apple set-top box."
You might have seen sensationalist headlines elsewhere declaring that Comcast exposed Apple's top secret plans here, but what you're really seeing is a company flailing for relevancy in a world that's moving away from one of their core businesses. Here's the relevant bit from Comcast's release:
Today, Google competes as a network, video, and technology provider, and 8 out 9 of the next Google Fiber markets the company announced are in Comcast or TWC areas. Apple tablets are viewing platforms for cable services even while Apple offers an online video service, Apple TV, and explores development of an Apple set-top box. Microsoft just announced that it will feature ads on the Xbox One, creating a new video advertising platform. And just last week, Amazon announced its own set-top box while it continues to leverage its unequaled sales platform and family of competitive tablets to promote its burgeoning Prime Instant Video business.
That Comcast thinks that Apple is building a box for the television is nothing new. At this point it's a foregone conclusion that a box or a television (or both) will eventually come from Cupertino. Apple already makes a box — the Apple TV — for streaming content over an internet connection. And, yes, Comcast erroneously labels Apple's "online video service" as Apple TV, and not the iTunes Store where you purchase and download shows.
What Comcast loathes to mention is that all of this content is delivered over the internet, an internet service that they sell to millions of Americans. Comcast's spinning of Amazon and Apple as threats to their cable television business is absolutely correct. But they're either missing or denying that the internet as a whole, an internet to which they sell access at astronomical prices, is what threatens their old business.