Speculation that cash-rich Apple Inc. (AAPL) is plotting a move to acquire Netflix Inc. (NFLX) or Walt Disney Co. (DIS) appears to have been quashed by one of the iPhone maker’s senior vice presidents.
Speaking at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas on Monday, Eddy Cue, senior vice president of software and services at Apple, disputed claims that his employer could be interested in purchasing Disney or Netflix, adding that Apple is not in the business of buying large companies.
"Both Netflix and Disney are great partners of ours," Cue said at the event, according to CNBC. "Generally the history of Apple — we have not made huge acquisitions. The reason why ... it's the old Gretzky quote: "Skate to where the puck is going, not where it is." (See also: Citi: 40% Chance of Apple Acquiring Netflix.)
Cue’s attempts to dampen speculation of a potential Apple-Netflix tie-up were, however, slightly undermined by some of his other comments. During his speech, the executive admitted that Apple had made good progress developing its position in the media space, having dedicated two years to finding the right executives, but still did not know "anything about making television."
He then praised Netflix’s strategy to reach the masses. People are going towards app-based ways to watch content, Cue said, before applauding Netflix’s move to cater to this trend. Such comments will do little to quell speculation that the iPhone maker is keen to replicate Netflix's success and potentially even buy out the company.
During his speech, Cue also asserted that Apple is eager to focus on longer, traditional length TV shows and movies for its yet-to-be-launched streaming video service, rather than specialize in shorter content, a sector he reckons is already dominated by Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube. “We are completely all-in, but there's a difference," the Apple senior vice president said. "We are not after quantity, but quality." (See also: Why Apple Needs to Copy Netflix's Subscription Model: Bernstein.)