Still no news on the rumors that Apple is buying TiVo, since Apple isn't suing anyone this time there's no way to be sure one way or the other. However, people putting their TiVo stickers on the backs of their iBooks might want to hold off a little while. It's unlikely that either company will come out and deny the rumors even if they're untrue, so we'll just have to wait and see if they get confirmed.
While we're waiting, let's look at what the companies could offer each other. First off, TiVo is built on top of Linux, Mac OS X is built on top of a
NetBSD port called Darwin. I'm no kernel hacker, but it seems like it would be possible to port TiVo's Linux changes to Darwin. It would be easier for Apple and TiVo than most companies because they both are built on PowerPC architectures - at least easier than if there were rumors of Microsoft buying TiVo.
Meanwhile, Apple's iTunes Music Store continues to sell iPods (well, they don't sell them on the iTMS, but you know what I mean). There is speculation that Apple will be building a QuickTime Movie Store; if Apple could make money selling the hardware they could use the iTunes Music Store business for it as well. It would also help cement the position of the Quicktime Streaming Server, which would likely sell a number of Xserves.
A TiVo acquisition would also provide a place for iTunes in the living room. Apple's AirPort Express proves Apples interest in moving out of the office and into the living rooom. There's even a way to control an AirPort Express from the TiVo using HME.
The TiVo could also tie into Apple's iLife suite. TiVo already plays well with iPhoto and iTunes, why not add iMovie and iDVD integration as well? My sister could make an iMovie of my nephew and send it to my TiVo between my 10 hours of Law & Order a day, then I could burn it using iDVD. Heck, why not let me show my Keynote slideshow using my TiVo?
Then there's the perennial talk of a video iPod. This fits in perfectly with TiVoToGo, you would simply dock your iPod on your TiVo and download your shows. Obviously there are some technical challenges there for the TiVo and iPod, but TiVo provides a great platform to build on.
So what does TiVo gain from this? For one thing, Apple is sitting pretty well these days. It could afford TiVo some elbow room to innovate; right now Ramsay is frustrated with investors not seeing the bigger picture. As an Apple division they could focus more on user experience and product development.
Apple's name would also give Om Malik the premium branding he says will save TiVo. Apple has a firm grasp on how to survive with a premium product and a small marketshare. TiVo's competition with the cable providers looks a lot like Apple's competition with Microsoft. Apples experience in this fight could prove invaluable.
Apple's offerings also tie into TiVo's Tahiti plans. TiVo knows that in order to compete with the cable companies, it needs to offer something they can't. Access to content through Apple would be a great start to that.
We may never hear anything else about this rumor but there's certainly plenty of reasons why an Apple/TiVo merger could work.