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TV's odd couple: Set-top partnership could bruise Apple or crisp up Comcast

Philip Michaels | March 28, 2014
Last summer, I called Comcast to cancel a $10-a-month sports package that I no longer wanted to receive. By the time I hung up the phone, I had been signed up for a phone service I didn't need, and my cable bill, rather than going down by $10, had been raised by around $40.

In fact, Temkin says, rather than sully Apple's reputation with its customers, an Apple-Comcast project could improve Comcast's standings in the eyes of customers — if things go well. That's a sentiment echoed by David VanAmburg, managing director for ACSI. "While there is always some risk to Apple in a scenario like the one proposed with Comcast," VanAmburg said via email, "considering that both are highly visible household consumer brands it is likely that such a partnership would help Comcast more than it would harm Apple." He points to acquisitions like Wells Fargo's purchase of Wachovia and United Airlines' takeover of Continental as instances where companies benefited from absorbing higher-regarded firms.

A world where Comcast enjoys Apple-like acclaim? That would be a far more miraculous achievement than any next-generation set-top box Apple could whip up.


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