Tim Cook: Apple TV Did Over $1B in 2013 Revenue
CUPERTINO, Calif. — While the iPhone and iPad have come to dominate Apple’s business, the television has often been relegated to an afterthought for the company. So much for Apple TVbeing just a hobby, said Chief Executive Tim Cook.
“That hobby was over a billion dollars of revenue last year,” Cook said during the company’s annual meeting with shareholders here. “It’s a little hard to call it a hobby anymore.”
The billion-dollar figure includes content sales conducted by Apple on the platform — like movies and TV shows — and not just hardware sales of its set-top box. At Friday’s meeting, Cook did not specify the breakdown between the two revenue streams.
Still, the milestone means the product is getting attention from consumers. A little over a year ago, Cook announced that in the first quarter of the 2013 fiscal year, the company sold more than 2 million Apple TVs, up from 1.4 million a year before.
The company also is said to be refreshing the product during the first half of this year, but the update is reportedly to enhance its content experience — possibly adding a game center and a version of the App Store.
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Still, the set-top box is far from what many fans have wanted for a long time — a full-fledged Apple TV set. Cook has said that the company will be entering new product categories this year. And on Friday, he had a little fun with all the anticipation. “I’d like to unveil some new products today,” he said, as an overflow room full of reporters gasped. “I was just kidding about that last part,” he added, laughing.
The meeting was originally billed as a showdown between activist investor Carl Icahn and Apple over the company’s buyback program. Icahn has been vocal about Apple repurchasing more of its stock. In December, Icahn announced a nonbinding proposal for Apple shareholders to vote on a buyback at Friday’s meeting.
But Icahn then announced earlier this month that he would pull the proposal, mainly because the Institutional Shareholder Services, a trade organization, urged shareholders to vote against it, and because Apple had increased the volume of its stock repurchasing. After investors were disappointed with first-quarter results, Cook announced that the company had bought back $14 billion worth of shares in two weeks. The company is said to be on course to repurchase $32 billion by year’s end, just $18 billion off Icahn’s $50 billion sum.
But even without the Icahn drama, the meeting was not without its excitement. A group of Silicon Valley security guards — including Apple’s own — held a protest at Infinite Loop to coincide with the gathering of the company’s shareholders. The protest was just another example of theculture clash engulfing the tech industry in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.