Should Apple buy FLO TV?

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Should Apple buy FLO TV?


Qualcomm (http://www.qualcomm.com) has stopped sales of all FLO TV (http://www.flotv.com) products with service to the devices being halted in spring of next year. Why? The company is reportedly holding talks with various other parties for use of the technology and services. So maybe Apple should buy FLO TV for use with its iOS devices and perhaps even the Mac.

The FLO TV service allows users to tune into mobile broadcasts while on the go. The service touts many of the largest networks including ABC, Fox, MTV, ESPN, NBC, TLC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, and many others. And that's a lot of channels not currently included on the Apple TV's offerings.

The MediaFLO services platform in the FLO TV enables the broadcast delivery of mobile entertainment and information to the mass market. In addition to live mobile TV, the MediaFLO platform supports mobile broadcast services such as streaming video and audio, clipcasting media, datacasting, interactive applications and targeted advertising. Apple could perhaps tie the targeting advertising into its iAd services.

Invented for mobility and complementary to 3G and Wi-Fi services, the MediaFLO platform is designed to increase capacity and coverage and reduce costs for multimedia content delivery to unlimited mobile devices simultaneously. The MediaFLO platform is based on the FLO air interface, an open standard recognized by ETSI, ITU-R and TIA.

In January FLO TV announced at CES that they were working on a series of products that will bring live TV to the iPhone and iPod touch by integrating a FLO TV receiver into Mophie's iDevice cases. Maybe Apple should investigate making this happen.

The majority of FLO TV’s customers actually come from their “white label” wholesale service, which carriers use to create their own branded mobile TV service, reports "CrunchGear" (http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/10/05/qualcomm-closes-up-flo-tv/). This service will continue for now, however, Qualcomm are in negotiations with AT&T and Verizon about the future of this service.

The demise of the service is blamed on the abundance of video-on-demand streaming services like Netflix and Hulu appearing on ubiquitous handheld devices, and their ability to pick-n-choose content, rather than watch what you’re given, "CrunchGear" adds.

Purportedly, the most valuable asset that Qualcomm holds is the spectrum that FLO TV operates on -- currently valued at $2 billion. With a cash value of $46 billion, Apple could afford the purchase.

Or on the other hand, maybe Jobs & Company should just buy Netflix and work some Apple magic on it.

-- Dennis Sellers

 

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