Apple Computer buys CBS television

Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs announced today that the company has purchased CBS Television, using Apple's enormous hoard of cash. The company has been debt-free for many years, and analysts have engaged in endless speculation about what the company might do with its billions of dollars. In the press conference, Jobs indicated that because of CBS' recent problems with Dan Rather and "fake but accurate" news, Apple was able to pick up the company "for a song," which was apparently a pun on Apple's hugely popular iTunes venture.

Jobs announced sweeping changes for the venerable broadcasting firm. The biggest change is that he will have CBS abandon traditional television. Jobs said, "The old television model is dead. CBS will be the first all-Internet broadcasting company, and beginning April 1st, 2006, the company will end it's current 50 year old broadcast method and begin offering all its content via the Internet."

Analysts were skeptical that even Apple could pull off such a big change, but Jobs indicated the huge success of the tiny new Apple computer, the Mac mini, has already begun to pave the way. The Mac mini, which debuted in the fall of 2005, comes standard with an S-video out port, meaning that the tiny computer can output high quality video directly to a television set. Said Jobs, "With all the broadband users in the U.S., we've got a ready market for video via the Internet, and we'll be providing a Tivo-like piece of software called iVideo later this summer. iVideo will revolutionize the way people watch TV, just the way iTunes and the iPod has changed music."

Apple has also had a longstanding relationship with Akamai, which has banks of servers located all over the United States and already streams video for companies like Apple, usually for annual meetings and other corporate functions. Jobs indicated that Akamai would indeed play a major role as part of the all-Internet CBS. Jobs also indicated that Pixar, the movie production firm he also heads, will design the production facilities for the effort. "Nobody knows more about digital film and television production than Pixar," he said.

Jobs had little good to say about broadcast television. "Nobody watches the evening news anymore, and I can tell you that no one under 30 cares one whit about CBS' crummy line-up of half-baked reality shows, warmed over situation comedy, and that dumb show with the tick-tick-tick thing that Rather used to headline." Jobs' pointed reference to Sixty Minutes caused tsunami-like discussion in the halls of CBS, as Sixty Minutes staffers huddled around TVs watching the press event.

But Jobs did not stop there. He further promised the first thing he he would do was to sell the well-known CBS headquarters in New York and moving the entire staff to South Dakota, where he indicated he had purchased the old Gateway Computer corporate headquarters building, along with the entire company. "Gateway's manufacturing facilities will give us tstaff spenthe capacity to build the millions of Mac mini computers we will need to satisfy the marketplace, and it's about time that the CBS staff gets out of Manhattan and spends some time in a red state so they can cover news 'for the rest of us.'"

Although Gateway's current headquarters are in California, the company has always been associated with it's cowlike origins in South Dakota, and the cow spots on its boxes have become a company trademark. There was some surprise that Apple had purchased a PC company, but Jobs again indicated a master plan bigger than anyone realized. "We're saving the country from more of those awful Gateway ads with the guy in the truck singing along with his cow in the passenger seat. And we just want to pare down the competition--we're taking a page from the Microsoft playbook, which is to buy any company that gets in the way. So guess who's next?"

Despite impassioned pleas from the crowd of reporters in the room, Jobs simply clammed up and refused to say more. But characteristically, at this point Jobs smiled and said, "Oh, wait, there's one more thing." Jobs pointed behind him, and Jennifer Anniston stepped out from behind a curtain. Jobs introduced her as the new news anchor for the network. "We're going after a younger crowd, and I'm sure Bob Schieffer [Rather's replacement] has brought CBS, oh, eight or ten new viewers. With Jennifer, we're going to create a daily news program designed for the Internet generation."

Jobs refused to say any more, and after allowing Anniston to sign autographs, they both left the stage of the Apple auditorium in Cupertino.

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