Mark Gurman reporting for Bloomberg:
Apple Inc. has hired Timothy D. Twerdahl, the former head of Amazon.com Inc.’s Fire TV unit, as a vice president in charge of Apple TV product marketing and shifted the executive who previously held the job to a spot negotiating media content deals….
Twerdahl joined Apple this month, a spokesman for the iPhone maker said. He had been general manager and director of Amazon’s Fire TV business since 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile. At Apple, Twerdahl reports to Greg Joswiak, a vice president in charge of marketing for the iPhone… Twerdahl’s hiring frees Pete Distad, who previously occupied the role, to help lead Apple’s content deal efforts, headed by Eddy Cue.
The way this reads, Apple TV is getting a product leader who reports to Phil Schiller, while Eddy Cue’s group keeps control over dealmaking. I wonder if this means the Apple TV product will get more of a chance to be a good product, separate from Apple’s content deals. Too often the Apple TV has seemed like an empty box for Apple’s content deals (or would-be content deals), rather than a product that was striving to be the best it could be.
The Apple TV, while somewhat frustrating, has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, this is an area where Apple’s competition—from Amazon, Roku, and Google—is extremely strong, and with products that cost a fraction of what the Apple TV costs. The Apple TV’s strongest advantages right now are artificial ones, namely exclusive access to iTunes content and AirPlay. It’s not a bad box, but it needs to be better. Maybe this change is a sign that Apple knows that, too?