Apple hires former Netflix executive and Amazon Fire TV chief to head up Apple TV business

Apple appears poised to shake up its Apple TV business amid data showing that sales of the media-streaming box saw a year-over-year decline. Apple TV was last refreshed in October 2015.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple in February hired Timothy D. Twerdahl to lead Apple TV operations and beef up teams seeking content deals.

Twerdahl is the former head of Amazon’s Fire TV operating unit. Prior to his tenure at Amazon, he served as an executive at Netflix and later as a Vice President in charge of consumer devices at Roku. He was also Vice President of Products at smartwatch startup WIMM Labs from 2009 to 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Twerdahl should take over Apple TV product development, reporting directly to Apple’s worldwide iPhone marketing guru Greg Joswiak.

An Apple spokesperson has confirmed the hire.

Twerdahl will replace former Apple TV product lead Pete Distad, who joined Apple in 2013 after serving as a Senior Vice President of content distribution at video streaming service Hulu. Going forward, Distad will be charged with securing content deals with Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue.

The new leadership structure is an indication that Apple has not abandoned plans to create an over-the-top bundle for Apple TV after its multi-year negotiations with Hollywood executives and content owners yielded no tangible results.

“We are learning a lot about the original content business and thinking about ways we could play it,” Apple CEO Tim Cook was quoted recently as saying.

During the company’s most recent earnings call, Cook teased new features and potential hardware updates in store for Apple TV, saying the cable industry is undergoing a major change due to the “breakdown of the cable bundle.”

“We started the new Apple TV a year ago, we’re pleased on how that platform has come along,” said Cook. “We have more things planned for it, but it’s come a long way in a year and it gives us a clear platform to build off of,” he said of the $149 device.

Source: Bloomberg