Does it matter who is in third place?
A recent estimate from Parks Associates says Apple TV is in third place -- at a 12% share. Google Chromecast is next at 8%.
That 12% share is not too shabby. It keeps up the promise of Apple’s recent business goal to build the services part of its business, which now includes its newer streaming VOD content app, Apple TV+.
I bring up Apple TV+ and Roku in this context. The biggest growth for the latter has come from expanding its streaming app technology onto smart TV sets from its set-top physical streaming boxes -- so-called "platform" business. Roku is now in 15 different smart TV brands.
Now back to Apple. It wasn’t that long ago rumors abounded it would be moving to expand its roster of devices beyond iPhone, iPad, iMac, AirPods, to include smart TV sets.
This never happened. Apple moved on to other areas. But Roku saw an opportunity -- in a different way. In addition to baking its interface into smart TV sets, it gained by taking a slice of the advertising inventory/ad revenue share, as well subscriptions fees.
Did Roku steal Apple TV’s thunder? Maybe. But the streaming race isn’t over.
Apple -- as well as Google, and perhaps Facebook -- have the wherewithal and staying power to make changes.
Still, expanding media business -- vertically -- can be difficult. And some would say out of vogue, especially when it comes to acquisitions. Comcast is perhaps the last to do this somewhat successfully. (Now, rumors swirl that Comcast might make a run at Roku.)
Recent news says Apple is going after much bigger fish -- electrically powered automobiles totally created from the ground up by Apple engineers.
Sounds like a major gamble. But with autos undergoing seemingly nonstop revolutionary changes, why not take a shot? Third place in that market would be a much bigger deal.