Comcast identifies Apple as threat when defending Time Warner merger

Apple TV generations

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.

Source: Comcast; Via: Business Insider

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Derek Kessler

Managing Editor of Mobile Nations, occasional web designer, Army musician, armchair pundit, news addict, all-around nerd, professional ranter, and user of many phones.

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Reader comments

Comcast identifies Apple as threat when defending Time Warner merger


Hopefully you appreciate that they don't cite their internet service as a threat, because if they did recognize it as a threat, it means they would try to deal with the threat, most likely to their customers dismay (examples include only bundling internet with cable, doubling cost of internet, finding loopholes around net neutrality).

Comcast et al, with their ridiculous prices are nothing more than criminal. Citing Apple, Amazon etc as a threat. They are their own worse enemies. Using a business model that is not only archaic but exists simply to exploit and rob customers blind. The whole crooked system needs dismantling by the FCC or whoever. Was told I couldn't get Verizon because the region was Comcast. Previously had only internet and the price was ridiculous. So added their so-called 'digital plus' package I don't watch a lot of TV. So just to watch two or three channels paying $150 and change including internet. Further if I want to add Starz, or HBO more money. How about getting rid of all those unnecessary channels that most people don't look at and give consumers the right to pick what they want. So damn happy that the likes of Amazon, Apple and Google have the potential to make obsolete a business approach that is not only 1980s but IMO crooked as hell. Only the government bodies that regulate this stuff is more crooked for allowing it to last so long. The merger should be denied. Fed up with the crap! There, I vented.

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Local governments are almost as much to blame for the way this is now as Comcast. Verizon landline was pretty much driven out of my state by ridiculous local franchises and the refusal of my state to grant them a statewide exemption from having to make deals with every little town in the state when they wanted to start launching FiOS TV. They sold their network to a company called FairPoint, that hasn't even bumped the fiber internet speeds from what they were when VZ laid the fiber. Its sad really.

I think they cited my grandmother and chocolate ice-cream as threats as well. They are desperate to increase their footprint (profits) in both vertical and horizontal expansion to further ensure they will have only token competition. If I were the CEO of Chumpcast I would do the same things....assuming that I had no conscience and didn't care if my deficient products and services were picking the pockets of consumers lacking substantial market options. Why the US continues to treat ISPs differently than water, electric and phone access is beyond me. But at least one company will continue to make tons of profit unabated by congress or their antithesis, common sense. and cut the cord with your cable or satellite supplier. Free to air no internet required with all the features of your current supplier, VOD etc.

Check out the joint venture between Motive Television & Granite TV.

They are making their case for turning off a TV signal through their network and switching it all to streamed services. The currently method of Content provision by the Cable companies is a burden on their networks and they realize now that by moving that to a streamed system customers will start requesting faster data speeds and they will upsell that need for speed. Verizon and Time Warner both are pushing their faster data services pointing that people need more speed for all their devices.

I get regular 'suggestions' from Verizon to increase my data speed as they see that my home has a lot of devices attached (yeah they can sniff that information out from their Router along with the password that you set for WiFi which it sends back to Verizon). I have a 75/35 connection and regularly get 89/40 service but they say that I need at least 130/65 service or 300/150 service would be better. Each time I tell them that there is just me and I can't use all that equipment at the same time, as much as I try and that it is not the data speed that is a worry but whether they would cut off my service with some cap on the amount of data -- which they can't because they use the data service for on-demand viewing currently anyway).

So watch for more enhanced streaming box app's from cable providers, they are coming.

I find it interesting that the two worst company's are merging. I currently live in Texas, where my time wormer bill gets higher and higher. I thought that this merger would at least lower the prices somewhat.

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