Who will buy Hulu? Eyes turn to Apple.

Hulu would make an interesting acquisition for Apple. But analysts disagree on whether Hulu has serious bids.

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    Hulu, if the rumors are correct, could soon be acquired by the fine folks at Apple. Here, Hulu is displayed on an HP TouchPad.
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Apple is considering a bid for Hulu, the streaming video service launched in 2007, according to Bloomberg News. The acquisition – news of which Bloomberg attributes to a pair of inside sources – would help Apple challenge Netflix on the streaming video front, and possible bring an added layer of dynamism to Apple products such as the iPhone and the iPad.

"Part of the ecosystem of Apple’s future is to include more video," Scott Sutherland, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told Bloomberg. "It’s something they are focused on." That makes sense: Witness the proliferation of iPad tablets and even the disc-drive free MacBook Air. Streaming video, clearly, is here to stay, and Apple is gearing its hardware toward it.

So are the rumors real? Well, maybe. And maybe not. Over at GigaOM, Ryan Lawler runs down an interesting list of reasons why Apple will absolutely, definitely not be acquiring Hulu. The reasons include the very tight brand control Apple exerts over all its products – Apple sells "Macs" and "iDevices," and not independent subsidiaries, Lawler points out.

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"Hulu wants to be everywhere," Lawler concludes. "Apple wants to control its own ecosystem, and mostly cares about making Apple products and services to work with other Apple products and services. Would it want Hulu to operate on competing products, like for instance Android phones or tablets? As a media entity Hulu would want as much distribution as possible, but that doesn’t necessarily jive with how Apple tends to do business."

Lawler is seconded by Clayton Morris at Fox News, who offers a similarly pessimistic outlook on the Apple-Hulu rumors.

"The one thing Hulu has that Apple could use is a solid video-subscription service," Morris writes, echoing analyst Sutherland. "Many people speculate that Apple will launch a monthly subscription service for music or video, one that would allow unlimited access for a monthly price. That hasn't happened yet, no matter how much we all want it. Acquiring streaming service Lala didn't bring that any closer, so I'm not clear how buying Hulu would."

He has a point. Right? Drop us a line in the comments section below. And in the meantime, sign up for our free weekly newsletter, which arrives every Wednesday.

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