Microsoft, Apple ready to take another run at cable

The set-top box is not dead; it's just being reconfigured. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) have their own ways of getting more involved in the burgeoning over-the-top space that don't include traditional cable television. Microsoft introduced a TV-ized version of its Xbox gaming console and Apple officially unveiled the iCloud online storage and syncing service.

Microsoft hopes to use the Xbox in the U.S. the way it does internationally, offering users sports, news, movies and dramas (and probably comedies, too) via their gaming devices and the Xbox Live communications system. While the software giant has big plans, it hasn't announced any network, local station or studio partners but did say that Xbox will provide access to YouTube.

Apple was more conservative. Its iCloud, company CEO Steve Jobs said, will "demote the PC to be just a device" and "move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud." While the iCloud is expected to store content like music and photos, reports have stated that Apple will also place video content and even television access in the cloud where its audience can use any Apple device to retrieve and display it.

"Everything happens automatically and there is nothing new to learn," said Jobs.

For more:
- the New York Post has this story
- and the New York Times this story

Related articles:
Rumor mill redux: Microsoft wants to deliver TV across Xbox Live network
Microsoft talking to networks about Xbox TV
Apple confirms iOS 5, iCloud to launch at WWDC 2011