RealTime IT News

Video Killed the Radio Star

When it comes to developing a plug-n-play PC, Apple's (AAPL) iMac needs some work. I like fruity colors just as much as the next girl, but whose brainstorm was it to make the floppy drive optional? The development team definitely needs to ease up on Starbuck's double tall lattes.

Today John Sculley is a comfortable VC bouncing between Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley, while Steve Jobs has finally dropped that goofy interim title. All is right with Macheads everywhere, and the company has reinvented itself into one heck of a comeback story.

Don't look now, but Apple is right on track, focusing on its core strengths with its latest acquisition of DVD authoring software and technology from privately-held Astarte. That's not to be confused with Astarte.com. While a commendable effort to disseminate information on egg donors to infertile women, the company's Web site just doesn't have the same chutzpah as its DVD counterpart.

Terms of the deal have been kept under wraps, but Apple is looking to boost its digital video publishing initiative with this latest deal. And, so far so good. Astarte's entire DVD team of hotshot engineers will come aboard Apple following the closing of the acquisition.

On the heels of this latest announcement, Apple announced partnerships with Pinnacle Sytems (PCLE) and Matrox Video Products Group. Pinnacle makes digital video editing tools for professionals and consumers, while Matrox is a leader in the field of graphics hardware and software used in DVD authoring and Web streaming applications.

Apple unveiled the new Pinnacle pairing with its Power Mac G4, equipped with Apple's Final Cut Pro software platform and specialized chips, courtesy of Pinnacle. Matrox will bring up the rear with its RTMac PCI video card for use in real-time digital video editing.

Apple is counting on this latest development to stay competitive as the platform of choice for desktop video editing. Boxes that run on the Windows platform have pinched Apple's market share over the last few years. While publishing has been Apple's bread and butter, more and more users are favoring cheaper PC platforms that support a wider array of software.

Apple does still enjoy a lucrative and religious following from publishers and graphic designers, so establishing its dominance in the desktop video editing market shouldn't be much of a stretch. Now, if only the company's board of directors could explain how shareholders will pick up the bonus tab on Steve Jobs' $40 million Gulfstream V Jet.

DealTracker scorecard: Apple/DVD technology from Astarte

Investor sentiment B+
Terms of the deal n/a
Industry outlook A-
Overall scorecard A-