Intel’s troubled Internet TV unit may soon be Verizon’s problem.
Citing sources familiar with the situation, AllThingsD reported that Intel and Verizon officials are in late-stage talks about the telecommunications giant taking over Intel Media, the business unit created to pave the way for the chip maker’s Internet TV operation.
The move would end Intel’s two-year effort to build a set-top box through which customers could stream TV shows, on-demand content, live events and other services into their televisions and other devices via the Internet. The goal was to enable users to order and pay for whatever shows they wanted, without having to pay for content and channels they didn’t want, according to Intel officials.
The move would put Intel into competition with the likes of established cable and satellite media companies Dish, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable. In addition, other tech vendors—including Google, Apple and Sony—also reportedly have considered an Internet TV service.
Company executives earlier in 2013 said the goal was to have the service up and running by the end of the year. The service was to be called OnCue, and it was being tested by thousands of Intel employees. However, Intel continued to have problems securing deals with TV programmers for content, and in September it was reported that the chip maker was looking to Samsung—with its smart TVs—and Amazon—with its huge base of Internet users and growing Internet video capabilities—for help.
Intel’s change of CEOs in May also may have had an impact. Former CEO Paul Otellini reportedly supported the project, but his replacement, Brian Krzanich, apparently is less enamored, wanting to focus the company’s efforts elsewhere, such as in mobile. In an interview with Reuters in June, Krzanich said the Intel was being “cautious” in its Internet TV strategy.
“We’re experts in silicon, we’re experts in mobility, in driving Moore’s law,” he told the news organization. “But we are not experts in the content industry, and we’re being careful.”
Now Intel reportedly is looking to Verizon, which runs a TV service via its FiOS network, as the home for Intel Media and its 300 or so employees.