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Apple to Debut Movie Rentals?

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 18, 2006

ThinkSecret says Apple will introduce a movie rental service in three weeks at its developer conference. I have no inside knowledge to know if this will actually pan out, but if it’s true, it’s certainly a turnaround on Steve Jobs’ part. He has steadfastly insisted that people like to own their media. Movies may be different, though—both because movie studios don’t want to let go of their creations as easily as record companies did with iTunes, and because movies are so huge that even today’s humongous hard drives might be challenged to hold all the movies people might expect. Besides, we’re used to renting movies in a way we aren’t with music.

Not everyone agrees this would be a good idea. Umair Haque thinks it could be Apple’s first big strategic error: “Imho, rentals are deeply out of sync with the dynamics of consumption at the edge - not to mention the economics of movies via the www.”

Still, if it happens, I wonder if it might finally loosen up Jobs’ staunch opposition to music subscriptions. I’d sure welcome that.

Reader Comments


July 18, 2006 5:53 PM

If true, the rental model is probably an admission (or assumption) by the studios that Apple will be successful in its efforts and cannot allow it (Apple) to get the upper hand in future negotiations. As such they probably stood their ground early and did not break. Too bad, because the subscription and/or rental model truly sucks for consumers - why you think otherwise is a serious mystery

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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