TiVo shot back tonight at a Wired report claiming that recent layoffs mean the company is exiting the hardware business. "It's not right to say that TiVo's out of the hardware business," VP of corporate communications Steve Wymer tells The Verge. "We're just as fired up as consumers are about the Roamio and we expect to deliver on that for years to come. It's one of our core businesses and our shining jewel."
Wymer confirmed that layoffs did take place, but that they reflect TiVo's new focus as it begins work on the network DVR platform it announced at CES. "We have exploding potential in the cloud," says Wymer. "We shift our resources and our personnel based on our priorities."
"It's one of our core businesses and our shining jewel."
Those priorities shifting ever more dramatically to software over hardware as time goes on isn't hard to envision, though; TiVo has long held that it's a software and services company, and it maintains a healthy patent-licensing business for several core DVR technologies. But dropping hardware now seems poorly timed: the Roamio DVR is getting stellar reviews, is featured in a massive national advertising campaign, and TiVo still has significant hardware obligations recently disclosed to investors.
All that said, the TV landscape is changing rapidly, as major players like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Netflix all test the waters of what has become an increasingly competitive market. If TiVo wants to be anything more than the software provider for a variety of smaller domestic and international cable companies, it's going to have to invest in consumer hardware, not just hold serve. Wymer says that's in the plan. "We stand completely capable of delivering whatever's on the roadmap, and in the hardware realm," he says.
"We don't have any plans to abandon that."
Additional reporting by Dave Zatz