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Time Warner CEO says possible Apple buyout was never 'serious'

Apple's senior VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, likely had no "serious" intentions when suggesting the possibility of a Time Warner takeover, according to the latter company's CEO.

"That particular one is more about the efforts of the technology companies, Apple included, who we've been trying to help because we want this better user interface, and what they should do and how would they get involved," Jeff Bewkes explained to Bloomberg in an interview published on Tuesday. "That's more about that than M&A [merger and acquisition]. I don't think M&A was serious."

In May, a report indicated that Cue raised the idea during a 2015 meeting with Olaf Olafsson, Time Warner's head of corporate strategy. Even at the time, though, sources claimed that talks never went beyond a preliminary stage, and in fact never reached the CEOs of Apple or Time Warner.

Buying Time Warner — not to be confused with the separate Time Warner Cable — would, in theory, give Apple instant access to a wide range of channels and movie studios, among them CNN, HBO, and Warner Bros. That might be particularly advantageous if Apple can make progress towards a live streaming TV service, which has allegedly been stalled by hardline negotiation tactics.

The problem however is that Apple would then find itself knee-deep in an industry it has no familiarity with, and locked into obligations — such as with cable and satellite providers — that it would probably rather avoid. The need to reach a maximum audience with shows like Game of Thrones would force it to better support platforms like Android and Windows.