FORTUNE -- There are two theories about what happens to Apple (AAPL) if Comcast (CCV) is allowed to swallow-up Time Warner Cable (TWC) and become the world's largest provider of cable TV and home Internet service -- a deal Comcast's Brian Roberts cheerfully describes as "pro-consumer, pro-competitive, and strongly in the public interest."
Be that as it may, the news of the proposed merger, coming as it did in the midst of reports that Apple top negotiator Eddy Cue was close to hammering out a deal to stream Time Warner's content through a new version of Apple's $99 set-top box, immediately raised questions about what the merger might mean for the future of Apple TV.
As I say, there are two theories.
Their assumption is that Apple was blindsided by the merger news and that Cue will now have to re-start his negotiations at a huge disadvantage: "Given that Comcast has its own set-top box, the X1," wrote Forbes' Connie Guglielmo, "[it] would likely be uninterested in ceding any part of the Internet TV market over to a competitor."
The second theory was put forward most prominently by the Wall Street Journal's Brian Fitzgerald, who asked:
"What if the next Apple TV is the new set-top box that plays ball with cable?"
Which is it?
That question may be reductive and premature. Apple TV faces competition from Roku and others, and the proposed merger still has to pass muster with U.S. regulatory agencies.
But to help try to sort things out, I've attached (above) Comcast's demo of its X1 platform, and (below) the best demo I could find of the current version Apple TV (with apologies for the long unboxing ritual).
Is there a synergy there that Eddy Cue could sell? You be the judge.
No wonder Apple didn't want an antitrust monitor crawling around the company right now.
FORTUNE -- Testifying in the e-book antitrust trial last June, Apple's (AAPL) senior vice president Eddy Cue estimated that in the 24 years he's been signing up digital content for the company he's negotiated not hundreds or thousands but tens of thousands of contracts.
In the case that put him on the stand last June -- as star witness for MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 12, 2014 9:01 PM ET
Catching up to the demo BTIG's Rich Greenfield posted earlier this week on YouTube.
FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL) senior VP Eddy Cue showed up late to the e-book antitrust trial last month because he was busy nailing down the final iTunes Radio contracts in advance of the June 10 WWDC keynote.
And I was so busy Wednesday trying to wrap my head around Judge Denise Cote's decision in that case -- in which MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 13, 2013 6:22 PM ET
I thought the judge was coming around to Apple's point of view. I was wrong.
FORTUNE -- The benches were hard. The courtroom was over-cooled. The reporting challenges were daunting (no Wi-Fi, no cellphones, no laptops). But the drama that unfolded over three weeks of testimony was compelling, and I was happy to be one of a handful of reporters who sat through the whole thing.
I thought I had a good handle MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 11, 2013 8:28 AM ET
Shouldn't there be a law against beating a piece of evidence to death?
FORTUNE -- What started as a small "gotcha" moment last week in the cross examination of a mid-level Apple (AAPL) executive grew into a federal case -- literally -- on Monday, the ninth day of testimony in U.S.A. v. Apple.
The latest McGuffin in the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple is an e-mail signed by Steve Jobs and addressed MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 18, 2013 8:36 AM ET
On the day the U.S. is to close its antitrust case, Apple evokes the memory its late CEO.
FORTUNE -- "Once Steve decided he wanted to pursue the e-bookstore, he got more and more excited."
That was Apple (AAPL) senior vice president Eddy Cue, the alleged "ringmaster" of the conspiracy to raise e-book prices at the heart of U.S.A. v. Apple, being steered toward the end of his cross examination to talk about MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 17, 2013 1:56 PM ET
The DOJ will rest its case. Apple will present its defense. Summations on Thursday.
FORTUNE -- Eddy Cue, the alleged "ringmaster" of a conspiracy to raise e-book prices in 2010, returns to a Manhattan federal court Monday in the final four days of the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple (AAPL).
Having sailed through a grilling Thursday by the government's lawyer, the star witness of U.S.A. v. Apple will complete the friendly MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 17, 2013 5:47 AM ET
That's when Apple and Macmillan hatched a plot to sandbag Amazon, says the DOJ.
FORTUNE -- In its effort to prove that Apple (AAPL) "knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books" -- to use the judge's own words -- the Department of Justice has spent an inordinate amount of time cross-examining witnesses in the Apple e-book trial about a dinner that took place in Manhattan on MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 16, 2013 8:36 AM ET
If the government couldn't nail Eddy Cue -- and it didn't -- how's it going to win?
FORTUNE -- The Department of Justice spent a little over three hours Thursday cross-examining Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue -- the alleged "ringmaster" of an illegal conspiracy to raise the price of e-books -- and when it was over it wasn't clear whether the government had let its last best chance slip through MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 14, 2013 7:30 AM ET
Hammered by the DOJ on the effect of higher e-book prices on consumers.
FORTUNE -- With Eddy Cue finally where the Department of Justice has long wanted to put him -- in the witness chair in federal court facing civil antitrust charges -- the government seemed more interested in shaming him for raising the prices of e-books than in parsing the details of the laws he is alleged to have broken.
According MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 13, 2013 1:45 PM ET
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