Microsoft, flush with cash and the right ideas with the Xbox 360, would make a huge coup to “own the living room” by acquiring Netflix in a blockbuster takeover, according to stock impresario and host of “Mad Money” Jim Cramer.
Always known for his mix of bombast and humor, Cramer told TheStreet.com that he figures Microsoft needs this deal to stay relevant as a consumer brand, and has the resources to swallow up Netflix’s whole operation, including production and licensing costs. Apparently, the software giant’s future success could be contingent on bringing in a massive asset like Netflix to put the Microsoft brand on the map of “cool”.
And while he “thinks the world of (Netflix CEO) Reed Hastings”, he seems to think the co-founder should sell and just run the whole thing under the Microsoft banner — and presumably, CEO Steve Ballmer’s whims. Actually no, Cramer implies that Hastings could run the whole company instead of just the baby he helped bring to life.
Cramer is right when he points out that binge viewing of TV shows, particularly serial dramas that play out stories over entire seasons, is a growing trend that Netflix has hit squarely. It’s like the streaming equivalent of a DVD box set, and younger viewers with time on their hands can marathon a show’s run in a weekend.
He doesn’t say whether the Netflix model would also work with video games, which would make the platform all the more interesting. Streaming video games hasn’t fully taken off yet, but that could be an interesting avenue to pursue should this monster acquisition actually take place. Chances are, it won’t, since Cramer was only stating his opinion and probably doesn’t have that much insight into the inner workings of both companies.
Still, Microsoft has made it clear that the Xbox won’t be just a gaming console anymore. From apps and live TV, to music subscriptions and movie rentals, there is clearly a strategy to do more. The next-generation Xbox will probably expand on that further whenever it’s revealed, but the likelihood of Netflix willing to sell to Microsoft seems more than a little remote.
Then again, considering how much Microsoft tends to pay for other companies, there’s no doubt that such a marriage would be one of the most expensive weddings, ever.