“We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits.”

Tim Cook biceps

A week ago, disgruntled (scared?) network executives ran to the press to complain about Apple’s “hard-nosed” negotiation tactics and, in their view, unreasonable demands regarding the Cupertino firm’s rumored skinny TV bundle.

Reflecting on a 2013 meeting between Apple’s Eddy Cue and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, the elusive “people familiar with the matter” revealed that Cue had arrived ten minutes late “wearing jeans, tennis shoes with no socks and a Hawaiian shirt” while all the other executives were wearing suits.

As pointed out by Daring Fireball, this isn’t the first time a third-party has fought Apple over wardrobe. A few years back ahead of the original iPhone’s introduction, an AT&T representative suggested that then Apple CEO Steve Jobs wear a suit to meet with AT&T’s board of directors.

From a 2010 Wired story by Fred Vogelstein on Apple’s strained relationship with AT&T:

Looking back, it’s clear that the cracks in the Apple-AT&T relationship began forming as soon as Jobs announced the iPhone in January 2007. It was the first time the public got to see the long-rumored device—and, shockingly, the first time AT&T’s board of directors saw it as well. (Apple refused to show the phone to all but a handful of top AT&T execs before the launch.)

The split only deepened from there. Apple and AT&T have bickered about how the iPhone was to be displayed in AT&T’s stores: Apple insisted the phone be presented on its own display stand, away from other models.

They have even fought about wardrobe: When an AT&T representative suggested to one of Jobs’ deputies that the Apple CEO wear a suit to meet with AT&T’s board of directors, he was told, “We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits.”

For context, here’s an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal’s report a week ago describing Apple’s “hard-nosed” negotiation tactics (as per usual, emphasis mine):

In 2013, Mr. Cue met with Mr. Britt, Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes and other executives in Mr. Britt’s office overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park. Time Warner owns HBO, TNT, CNN and other channels.

Apple’s Mr. Cue arrived ten minutes late and was wearing jeans, tennis shoes with no socks, and a Hawaiian shirt, says a person familiar with the meeting. The other executives were wearing suits.

The talks dragged on. Apple wanted full on-demand seasons of hit shows and rights to a vast, cloud-based digital video recorder that would automatically store top programs and allow ad-skipping in newly aired shows.

TV-channel owners “kept looking at the Apple guys like: ‘Do you have any idea how this industry works?’ ” one former Time Warner Cable executive says. Apple has said doing new things requires changes that often are unsettling.

The report blames iTunes chief Eddy Cue for making demands that even the Walt Disney Company, with which Apple shares a board seat, wasn’t ready to meet.

As succinctly summed up by The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple, “We want Eddy to be tough when negotiating deals that we’ll end up paying for, either in purchasing content or subscriptions.”

Source: Daring Fireball