Forbes and other publications have recently floated rumors that Microsoft could be buying Netflix. For one reason, they speculated that Microsoft’s possible push into developing Xbox into an entertainment device like Apple TV could make a purchase possible. While such rumors may really be important for investors, the acquisition of Netflix by Microsoft could have an impact on streaming web video for a few reasons:
Full Microsoft Integration
Microsoft released its new Windows 8 operating system last week, which is more tablet-friendly than PC-friendly. If Microsoft purchases Netflix, it could mean that the company may integrate the streaming site into subsequent operating system releases. Also, Forbes staff writer Eric Savitz points out that this could be a boon for Microsoft’s Xbox consoles as it becomes in the eyes of Microsoft “more like an entertainment device and less like a video game console.”
So Long DVDs?
A Microsoft purchase could hasten the irrelevance of DVDs. Already, more people are ditching DVDs — which had been the cornerstone of Netflix’s success for many years — in favor of streaming video and YouTube. Since Microsoft’s strength is in software and computing, expect the company to invest heavily on making the streaming video experience more worthwhile.
Competition Will Still Be Fierce
Even if Microsoft improves Netflix’s outlook, it’s not the streaming behemoth it used to be. With many competitors like Apple TV, Hulu Plus and YouTube trying to get their slice of the pie, Netflix will have to truly differentiate itself from its other competitors. So far, it’s trying its hand in being a television player, streaming the fourth season of “Arrested Development” and political drama “House of Cards” starting next year. Whether that means more Netflix subscribers remains up in the air.
Although these are still rumors, Microsoft’s potential purchase will probably change the dynamics of Netflix’s service, but won’t stop the competitors from putting out a product that users can enjoy.