Time Warner Cable: We Would Be OK With Apple Building A Kick-Butt TV Experience

eddy cueApple exec Eddy Cue. He’s leading TV negotiations.

Photo: AP

Apple became the world’s most valuable company by releasing hit product after hit product.First the iPod, then the iPhone, and then the iPad. Even though the iPad, is less than three years old, people are getting impatient. They want Apple to deliver another awesome, world changing device.

So what’s it going to be?

All year long, it looked like television was the next market for Apple to conquer. But reports on Apple’s attempts to break into the TV market suggest the company has hit a wall.

Here’s some good news for people looking for that next Apple super-gadget: It may have a partner it can work with to revolutionise television.

Speaking to investors at a Goldman Sachs conference, Time Warner COO Rob Marcus said the company was open to working with a company like Apple to develop a better interface for cable subscribers. His only stipulation: Time Warner will not “give up the customer relationship.” It wants people to know it’s the company delivering the content.

Georg Szalai of the Hollywood Reporter was on hand to take notes on Marcus’ comments.

Now, Marcus didn’t mention Apple by name, just that Time Warner was willing to work with another company to deliver the best experience for users. He said, “In some of those cases that may mean giving up control of the interface.”

Cable companies and content companies have been wary of partnering with Apple. They don’t want to see Apple suck all the profits out of their industry. They also don’t want to see Apple control the relationship with consumers.

Apple, for its part, reportedly doesn’t want to release a TV if it can’t do something revolutionary.

In the past, Apple was able to bolster the iPod with iTunes where people could buy music for $1. Apple got those songs because no one was buying music online at the time. When it launched the iPhone it worked with AT&T, which wanted to get an advantage over Verizon.

In this case, the cable companies aren’t weak. They don’t have competition. And without them, Apple’s television is useless.

So, it’s been a stand-off between Apple and the cable companies.

However, Time Warner Cable seems open to working with Apple. The question is whether or not Apple would be willing to work with just Time Warner Cable as a sort of test-case. Perhaps if Apple did something great with Time Warner, other cable companies would join in.

And then, people would get that next world-changing Apple gadget they’ve been asking for.

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