Can Boxee help Samsung stay a step ahead of Apple?
Is the Boxee acquisition a preemptive attack against the long-rumored Apple television set?
The news was first reported by the Israeli tech site The Marker, and later confirmed by Brian X. Chen at the New York Times. "Samsung has acquired key talent and assets from Boxee," a Samsung spokeswoman said in a statement to the Times. "This will help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices."
The deal is worth a reported $30 million.
Boxee is best known as the manufacturer of a set-top box that makes it easier to stream video content to a range of mobile devices, from smart phones to tablets. In addition, the Boxee Cloud DVR allows user to store hours of recordings in the cloud, according to the Boxee website.
"It's not clear how Boxee will be incorporated into future TVs," writes Dante D'Orazio of The Verge, "but the Korean company's smart TV software has long been a sticking point as it has struggled to add features while keeping navigation simple. Samsung's problem is one faced by both TV manufacturers and service providers, and it's one that a long-rumored Apple-made television would aim to tackle."
As Mr. D'Orazio notes, rumors about an Apple television set have been percolating for years. Most recently, there was word that Apple was working on a machine that would be operated via a motion-detecting "iRing" – a piece of jewelry that would presumably go nicely with the (allegedly real) Apple watch. Suffice to say that Apple has not acknowledged the existence of either device. It did, however, just trademark the term "iWatch" in Japan.
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