Last Monday, Apple TV owners woke up to a bright green icon in the middle of their home screens. After much Machiavellian strategizing, Apple relented and allowed Hulu Plus into the walled bonsai garden that Apple TV has been.
In a possibly unrelated, though highly synchronistic, development, Amazon Instant Video got the green light to stream onto Apple’s iPad the following day. And as Brian Barrett points out in Gizmodo, the trend line is filled out by Apple making Sky Now TV available on iOS devices in the U.K.
What’s going on here? Doesn’t Hulu Plus’ $8 a month subscription undercut the prices Apple charges to watch individual TV shows? Doesn’t Amazon compete directly with, and often undercuts, the iTunes Store?
Yes, yes, they are competitors—unless they are competing within a platform that Apple owns. This seems to be the strategy that led it to bring Netflix on to the Apple TV in 2010 with the release of the 2nd generation of the product, after which sales of the $99 unit really started to take off.
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