Microsoft(disclaimer: I am a shareholder in MSFT) announced the addition of Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings to their board of directors and also to a seat on the Finance Committee yesterday.
Of course the first thing one has to ask. Is Microsoft looking to buy up Netflix? Possibly. Not likely, but possible. I certainly can’t claim to have my ear to the industry train tracks. (speaking of train wrecks…) In any case, I don’t think that Microsoft will buy Netflix, unless they decide to further the broadband downloads of the movies. It’s a readymade service that could be ported over to the Xbox pretty easily. Suddenly Xbox live users can easily download and watch just about any movie. One more step on the way to being the home media center that Microsoft always seems to think it is supposed to be.
On the other hand. Perhaps the subcription mail rental business isn’t spiking as well as it was before and if the ISP’s would get off of their … and get everyones bandwidth up to par with the rest of the 1st world countries, we wouldn’t need it at all. Then we’d really see a push for broadband online rental and delivery. Who needs to get it by mail if you can download it in a few hours?
Another interesting possibility is that Microsoft is looking to bring in a Subscription veteran on their way to creating a better subscription license system for their products and a consumer version for their Windows and Office products. Buy a subscription for $$$ a month and you get free upgrades. Well. Maybe not.
In any case, it is a great honor for Reed to be named to the Board as MSFT doesn’t seem to have a history of naming currently sitting CEO’s to the Board. Regardless of what you think are MSFT’s motives (maybe they just wanted another board member.) it still seems to be a rather interesting move.