"Computer firm Apple has announced plans it hopes will put it at the heart of consumers' home entertainment systems. On Tuesday it unveiled a device which will stream music and video wirelessly between televisons and computers. The plug-in hardware is due to be released early next year and has been given the temporary name of iTV. As well as announcing updates of its best-selling iPod music players, Apple also launched a new service allowing users to download films."
These initiatives come at a time when Steve Jobs, Apple's legendary founder, approaches the tenth anniversary of his return to the firm in 1996. At the time, the company was all but written off. Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system was flying high. Apple's management team was in disarray. In the winter of that year, BusinessWeek ran a cover story on Apple called "The Fall of an American Icon." (Let me take this moment to self-servingly remind readers that Apple was the subject of the cover story in the debut issue of Inc. magazine, back in 1979.)
Anyway, the BBC ended today's wrap-up of the Apple news (which you can read in its entirety here) by noting that Apple's big push into these new fields comes at a time when the computer maker has switched to Intel microchips. The Cupertino, California, firm also faces some small crises:
Recently, Apple "has run into occasional quality problems," the BBC says, "while the firm's reputation has taken something of a hit thanks to a battery recall - also suffered by PC maker Dell - and an ongoing investigation into the stock options it awarded some executives."
What do you think? Are these moves more evidence of Steve Jobs' audacious brilliance, or is he taking too many risky bets at a time when the company is distracted by quality and other problems? This time next year, will iTV be seen as a conquering new product or a dud?
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