Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and its new television software, Google TV, have been making headlines in the past month as it prepares to ship in set top boxes this fall. And according to Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) CEO Paul Otellini, Google TV will be in households sooner than expected – arriving before the end of September.
The push comes as leery content partners have voiced concerns over how Google’s interface will allow viewers to not just watch broadcast television and on-demand programming but any video content on the Web. Google’s reach is long and their brand trusted, but ABC owner Disney (NYSE: DIS), Fox parents News Corp (NYSE: NWS), NBC owner General Electric (NYSE: GE), and a host of cable channel parents — especially Viacom (NYSE: VIA) — are concerned that their current broadcast outlets will be shut out once Google lets TV viewers watch whatever they want, whenever they want.
But whether they like it or not, Google TV is coming. Sony (NYSE: SNE) is already manufacturing a television, the Sony Internet TV, with Google TV installed.
Intel CEO Otellini spoke with the Wall Street Journal yesterday, discussing his company’s role in the development of Google’s new television offering. The Intel CEO dropped two major hints about Google TV and what form it would take. First, while Google stated earlier this week that their television software would be shipping “this fall,” Otellini said that Google TV would be available this month. He did not, however, confirm which set top box or television manufacturer’s product would be available in the United States, whether it will be Sony’s device or another from Logitech (NASDAQ: LOGI). The executive said that Intel has had a significant role on the software side of Google TV as well, with the company contributing half of the actual code in the software.
Regarding Intel’s former Internet television partner, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Otellini made a subtle dig at the Intel-less Apple TV refresh that Steve Jobs unveiled at last week’s Apple media event in San Francisco. He called the new Apple TV a “step backward,” “simplistic,” and something his mom would use while his son would use Google TV “simply because it’s cool.” Those, as they say, are fighting words.
Google has a number of tech fires burning. The newly launched pay-per-view and streaming movie service on YouTube, their new phone call service on Gmail, Google TV, and the rumored flagship tablet computer with Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) coming later this year shows a company with no intention of easing up on ambition.
Will these initiatives bring them back to the $714 per share highs of 2007? They very well could.
As of this writing, Anthony Agnello did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.
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