Could the Hulu, Disney Deal Create a Tangled Video Web? - Page 2

No matter what happens in this race for viewers, Apple co-founder and CEO Jobs won't have to worry. He has hedged his bets and is safely planted on both sides of the video fence. So is Schmidt, CEO of Google, which owns YouTube. Thus, both have conflicts of interest in their personal portfolios.
Jobs, who's currently recuperating from serious health issues, sold his Pixar animation studio business to Disney in January 2009 and subsequently became the single largest stockholder of the huge corporation. He now has a stake in Hulu.
Think of those Pixar movies-"Toy Story," "Finding Nemo," "Cars" and others-and all the ABC network television shows that will become available on Hulu, competing directly with the iTunes video store. In the long term, if Hulu grows with the new investments, Job's own iTunes video model stands to lose money.
"Over time, perhaps the direct payment model [will go] away," Gartner analyst Michael McGuire told BusinessWeek. So Jobs' conflict is this: He needs to see both iTunes and Hulu succeed, but they are, in fact, competitors.
Curiously, Schmidt-an iTunes competitor through YouTube-joined the board of directors of Apple on April 29. As a board member, he is pledged to help iTunes succeed; as Google CEO, his job is to make YouTube succeed.
It says in the Good Book that no man can serve two masters. Jobs and Schmidt certainly have conflicts, but at this point it does not appear that there is anything illegal about their involvements.
Apple, by the way, had no comment on any of these business shenanigans when eWEEK called to ask. Nor did anybody else.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...