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According to one analyst, Apple’s biggest mistake was not buying Netflix years ago

Netflix gets teased a lot for having a lot of content, but “nothing to watch”. And some of its originals are panned for, well, not being that great. That isn’t to say Netflix hasn’t had some successes — it definitely has. And the streaming service dominates the space right now. So of course Apple should have purchased it years ago.

Right? Well, that’s according to Dan Ives, an analyst for Wedbush Securities. He recently spoke with Yahoo Finance and detailed how Apple’s decisions over the years not to buy Netflix has culminated into the “biggest mistake” so far for Apple. He argues that, despite the push for Apple TV+, it’s still not a major player when compared to Netflix, or Disney+, or Amazon.

Ives says this isn’t just a mistake on Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook‘s lap, but one for co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs as well. Apple’s role in the streaming wars would be considerably better, according to Ives, if Apple had simply pulled the trigger on acquiring Netflix “a number of years ago”. It’s hard to argue with the argument, of course. Netflix’s over 200 million subscribers around the globe would be pretty good for Apple’s business.

Netflix Logo

Per the interview:

The biggest strategic mistake, in my opinion, from Jobs and Cook over the last 10 to 12 years, is not acquiring Netflix a number of years ago,” Ives told Yahoo Finance Live, referring to the deceased founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs, and the current CEO, Tim Cook.

We actually don’t know how many subscribers Apple TV+ has right now. Apple doesn’t go out of its way (at all) to release those statistics. However, we do know that Netflix has a lot (over 200 million, as mentioned above), and Disney+ is almost at 100 million just over a year after launch. And Disney expects the streaming service to have over 200 million subscribers by 2024.

The interview also cites recent research that shows more than half of Apple TV+ subscribers are using a free trial to access content. That same research indicated that a lot of those customers don’t plan on resubscribing once their free trial ends, either.

Which, of course, comes down to the content. According to Ives, if Apple doesn’t want to try and acquire Netflix (whether or not that’s even an option), it could still buy a studio. Apple’s working with studios to bring content to Apple TV+ already, but those deals aren’t acquisitions. So even though Apple is working with A24 and, just recently landed a major partnership with Skydance Animation, Ives believes buying a studio would be better.

It could build up content that way. Ives suggests Apple could take a shot at acquiring MGM or A24. If it doesn’t, though, the analyst says Apple will continue to “be on the outside looking in”, as far as competition goes in the streaming market.

For what it’s worth, Cook has said in the past that he believes there is plenty of space in this particular market, and that multiple companies can help fill it. It doesn’t have to be a “one company over them all” deal. Apple wants to focus on stories about people, and, so far, it has managed to keep to that mandate with series like Ted LassoFor All MankindThe Morning Show and films like Palmer. That trend will surely continue with what’s coming down the pike.

But, while Ted Lasso has certainly stirred the pot and garnered plenty of attention from fans, it hasn’t quite reached the same cultural impact as things like Game of Thrones from HBO, The Queen’s Gambit from Netflix, or The Mandalorian from Disney+. One could make the argument that not as many people are watching Apple TV+ as those other shows on those other networks, and that would probably be spot on.

It’s starting to feel like folks are picking on Apple TV+ at this point, right? Just recently Netflix’s former CEO said that he doesn’t believe Apple is “trying hard enough” to get content on Apple TV+ (despite the fact the company is spending a ridiculous amount of money to secure film and talent to do just that).

But, what do you think? Is Apple not buying Netflix one of the company’s biggest mistakes to date? Or does Apple TV+ just need some time to grow?

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