NBC and Apple's relationship has been long and painful.
First came the news that NBC moved to split with iTunes, refusing
to sign another contract. Then came allegations by Apple
that NBC tried to gouge it by demanding a cut
of iPod revenue and higher
prices. This was quickly followed by NBC blasting
Apple in a press conference as "indecent". It
then salted the wound by signing content
deals with Amazon and also with free ad-driven
music provider SpiralFrog.
The end result was an uneasy
stalemate -- NBC still offers older content on iTunes, and there
isn't much newer content to worry about due to the writers' strike in
Hollywood. Tensions began to ease this month when Universal
Media Group, NBC's parent company, and Apple signed an agreement to
rentals of Universal's content.
Now as if the pair's back
and forth relationship wasn't schmaltzy enough, Apple CEO Steve Jobs
and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker are suddenly saying flattery
compliments about each other, and each other's services, hinting at a
possible reunion. Jobs and Zucker are talking about each other as if
they were best friends and making the kind of flowery comments seldom
seen this side of Bill
Gates and Steve Ballmer's deep friendship. In an interview
with Financial Times Zucker gave
Apple some loving, stating, "We've said all along that we
admire Apple, that we want to be in business with Apple."
finished by waxing about his admiration for Steve Jobs, saying,
"We're great fans of Steve Jobs."
some affection right back for Zucker and NBC right back, stating,
"We’ll put it back together on the TV thing. Everybody lost
[when Zucker pulled his content off iTunes]. But NBC is a great
company, and Apple is a great company."
Whether an exact
agreement on pricing and other issues can be worked out remains to be
seen, but it is obvious that the split hurt both companies. Now
it looks like their CEOs are back to being best friends forever,
perhaps foreshadowing a new content deal. Theres certainly no
shortage of "Heroes", "Office", and "Chuck"
fans hoping this is the case.