Comcast deal a blow to Apple TV and Netflix

Apple investors and Netflix fans better start writing to their elected officials in Washington to oppose Comcast's $45 billion acquisition offer for rival Time Warner Cable.
 
The reason?
 
If the giant cable merger announced today is approved by regulators without any conditions to protect consumers, the deal will be a disaster both for users who want access to low-cost, Web-based entertainment and for the companies that want to deliver it.
 
The acquisition could put a major hurt on Apple CEO Tim Cook and the company's shareholders, who've been hoping for more than a year that a digital entertainment device might help revive the company's fading revenue growth.
 
The Comcast offer came amid reports this week that Apple was once again negotiating with Time Warner to license movies and TV programs for the long-rumored Apple TV platform.
 
Without that type of premium content, any future Apple device will likely be a poorly-selling box that consumers can't watch much with.
 
But in the wake of the Comcast's announcement, any leverage Apple may have gained in those talks by playing America's two largest cable rivals against each other has evaporated.
 
It's as if Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has told the Apple CEO, "Here's what I think of your latest proposal to Time Warner, Mr. Cook!"
 
Roberts is no fool. He and others in the cable industry have seen how Apple's iTunes store has eviscerated the profit margins of the music business.

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