Poor Comcast. It put its heart, its soul, and several millions of dollars into its 2014-2015 attempt to buy Time Warner Cable, only to end up completely blocked and forced to scrap the plan. And while consumers, consumer advocates, and even we here at Consumerist may have felt a bit celebratory over its demise, the Comcast executives who tried to make it happen were oh so very sad.
That’s what Comcast CEO Brian Roberts told a Philly hometown crowd on Friday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Speaking to a crowd of about 1,200 local and state officials, executives, and lawyers, Roberts said that the company’s executive team was “despondent” after it had to cave to reality and “throw in the towel” on the TWC merger plan.
In later 2015, about four months after the merger aspirations officially met their doom, Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh tried to spin the failure as a “blessing in disguise,” saying the company was freed up to use the billions of dollars it would have otherwise spent on all the actual acquisition and integration work on other projects.
So what other projects would those be, perchance?
Well, there’s the whole DreamWorks acquisition, which cost Comcast the better part of $4 billion. That gives the business — which already owns all NBCUniversal film — a bigger foothold in the very lucrative world of children’s entertainment.
“Kids are an area [in which] we don’t traditionally have a big business,” Roberts told the crowd, alluding to the fact that some kind of Shrek reboot could find itself existing in the future.
But the biggest trend coming down the pipeline? Definitely AI, Roberts opined.
It seems like everyone and their grandmother is all over the idea of computers doing everything for themselves and without your help, thankyouverymuch, and Comcast is in the club. Right now we mostly see some driver and home assistance (and Assistants) features. But, Roberts — and others — think, smart cities and smart cars that talk to each other are definitely the wave of the future.
And yet, Roberts noted, “there’s always a dark side to that kind of change.”
He’s probably more concerned about internet connections becoming subject to continued federal and state-level regulation than he is about a Matrix-style robot takeover but, well, one never knows.
by Kate Cox via Consumerist