Amazon’s Fire TV Head Will Now Run Apple TV Business

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Apple has appointed the former head of Amazon’s Fire TV unit, Timothy D. Twerdahl, as vice president in charge of Apple TV product marketing. The executive, who previously held the job, has now been shifted to a spot negotiating media content deals, according to Bloomberg. Apple’s move represents the renewed focus to Apple TV and providing more content for the device.

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Apple TV efforts on the move again

Apple developed the fourth-generation Apple TV with an aim of providing a full a-la-carte television service capable of replacing traditional cable and satellite packages and similar to Sony’s PlayStation Vue service. However, Apple’s assertive and hard-nosed negotiating tactics caused pushback from both content and cable companies, which declined the terms the company wanted.

In the past couple of years, Apple did scale back its TV ambitions, though it considered slimming down its subscription service and purchasing Time Warner. But it is now on the move once again. A source reportedly informed Bloomberg that Twerdahl joined the company this month. Twerdahl’s LinkedIn profile shows that he was the manager and director of Amazon’s Fire TV business since 2013.

Citing a person familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that Twerdahl reports to Greg Joswiak, vice president in charge of marketing for the iPhone. Pete Distad, who previously occupied Twerdahl’s role, is now free to lead Apple’s content deal efforts headed by Eddy Cue, says Bloomberg. Prior to joining Apple, Distad served as a senior vice president of content distribution at video streaming service Hulu.

Amazon in the lead

The company released its last hardware update for the set-top device in 2015. A decline in sales on a year-over-year basis from the holiday quarter of 2015 to that of 2016 was seen, CFO Luca Maestri said last week. Apple’s “other products” category, which includes the Apple TV, generated a little more than 5% of Apple’s sales in fiscal 2016.

Though Amazon doesn’t disclose Fire TV sales, it did say in May 2016 that it was the top-selling streaming media device in the U.S., notes Bloomberg. The Fire TV and Apple TV are examples of set-top devices that can stream video content and apps to large TV screens. The key to the Fire TV is Amazon’s Prime video service, while the iTunes Store and App Store are core to Apple’s offering.

On Monday, Apple shares closed up 0.95% at $131.53. Year to date, the stock is up almost 14%.

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