Apple Hires Amazon’s Fire TV Head to Run Apple TV Business
Apple has hired Timothy Twerdahl, the former head of Amazon’s Fire TV unit, as a vice president in charge of Apple TV product marketing and shifted the executive who previously held the job to a spot negotiating media content deals, according to Bloomberg. The move suggests a renewed focus on the Apple TV and on providing more content for the device, an effort that has been stalled in the past by failed negotiations.
Twerdahl joined Apple this month, a spokesman said. He had been general manager and director of Amazon’s Fire TV business since 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile. At Apple, Twerdahl reports to Greg Joswiak, a vice president in charge of marketing for the iPhone, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Apple TV represents a slice of the company’s “other products,” revenue category, which generated just more than 5 percent of Apple’s sales in fiscal 2016. The last hardware update for the set-top device was released in 2015, but sales decreased year-over-year from the 2015 holiday quarter to the 2016 holiday quarter, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said last week in an interview. Amazon doesn’t disclose Fire TV sales, but last May called it the top-selling streaming media device in the U.S.
The Fire TV and Apple TV are among set-top devices that can stream video content and apps to large TV screens. Both boxes are known for their voice control functionality and integration with their respective companies’ larger services. Amazon’s Prime video service is key to the Fire TV, while the iTunes Store and App Store are core to Apple’s offering.
Twerdahl comes to Apple with significant experience in internet-connected TV devices. Prior to his tenure at Amazon, he was an executive at Netflix and later a vice president in charge of consumer devices at Roku, a streaming video box developer. Twerdahl’s experience could bolster Apple’s efforts in video content and living room devices at a time when the company is looking for new categories of revenue to augment iPhone and iPad sales.