Did Time Warner subtly insult Apple?

The Register is reporting on Time Warner Cable CEO Jeff Bewkes statement about Apple’s inherent desires to push themselves into the TV business. Long and long-winded have been the rumors of Apple’s movement, some saying they’ll totally upset the current cable content model, some saying they’ll just make a TV or another set top box.

The guys at Time Warner Cable know what they’re doing.

So when Mr. Jeff Bewkes said the makers of iPad and iPhone are a “great device company” and that he hopes they make a television set, some (The Register in particular) insisted it was a dig.

Here’s a quote from the article:

Note the use of the term device company to describe Apple: it flies in the face of company co-founder Steve Jobs’ ambition to march Apple into the world of television and set up shop as a content emporium, much like it crashed iTunes into the music business.

I think you’re reading a bit too much into it, folks. After all, Time Warner Cable are in talks to build something together. No, Time Warner isn’t going to sit back and let Apple take over their content distribution, but they look to be leaning toward making deals on content distribution together, not apart.

Besides, it’s so unlikely that Apple will ever be able to upset the market like they did with iTunes. Content companies like Viacom and Disney have much tighter fists than Capitol Records and cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast sort of rely on that tired model to survive.

So was Bewkes making a dig? It seems much more like he was making a statement of fact. The sad part is, it just flies in the face of everyone’s hopes for Apple to save the day. Keep dreaming. Real change is going to come from altering our copyright laws or the content distributors relaxing their grip themselves. Otherwise, cable is still going to stay very much the same.

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