silentbrad writes: The biggest danger facing the success of Steam Box or any other PC ecosystem hoping to find space in the living room is Apple, according to a lecture given by Valve co-founder Gabe Newell to a class at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs. "The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," Newell said. "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?... We're happy to do it if nobody else will do it, mainly because everybody else will pile on, and people will have a lot of choices, but they'll have those characteristics. They'll say, 'Well, I could buy a console, which assumes I'll re-buy all my content, have a completely different video system, and, oh, I have a completely different group of friends, apparently. Or I can just extend everything I love about the PC and the internet into the living room.'... I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together."
silentbrad writes: From the Wall Street Journal: "Forget the maps farrago. Look at Apple's agony over the TV puzzle. Apple is frustrated because there is no solution to TV that will let Apple keep doing what it has been doing. Like schnauzers overreacting to the postman's arrival, the tech press was in a tizzy a month ago on reports that Apple was talking to the cable industry about bringing cable's linear channel lineups to a future Apple device. But the technical feat is no technical feat. Time Warner and Cablevision managed to roll out iPad apps within days of the device's debut 2½ years ago. These TV apps proved unsatisfactory not because of any lack of Apple magic, but because only certain channels were available, and because consumers were allowed only to watch in the home (the whole point of an iPad is its portability). Even so, the Hollywood studios that actually own the shows sued saying the apps violated their contract rights. Apple's fans imagine the company can do for TV what it did for music: breaking up the existing distribution model. Forget about it. Television is about to demonstrate the inadequacy of Apple's own business model.... Can Apple CEO Tim Cook and company make the turn? Two years ago, in a column on the Microsofting of Apple, we noted that a company preoccupied with products was in danger of becoming a company preoccupied with "strategy"—which we defined as zero-sum maneuvering versus hated rivals.... A similar miscalculation led Microsoft to treat Netscape as a mortal threat and into a self-defeating tussle with a reciprocally purblind Justice Department. The Web did indeed create enormous opportunities that were seized by companies other than Microsoft, but Microsoft is still around and doing fine. Let it be said that some techies see evidence of a more rational impulse within Apple. They say Apple's browser and HTML5 support are conspicuously superior to Android's. Within Apple apparently there are teams committed to making sure Apple devices are competitive in the open-ecosystem world that is coming. The real test will be for senior management. The time to worry will be if Apple's quixotic quest for TV leads it to block more realistic solutions that emerge on the open Internet. When Apple admits defeat about TV, that may be the best sign for the company's future."