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A Death Knell For Netflix?

If you've noticed your IT guys are slow to respond today, here's one possible explanation.  

Earlier today, Steve Jobs gave the keynote address at the MacWorld Conference & Expo, unveiling Apple's new products for 2008. Nothing announced will arouse the interest of gadget-freaks like last year's iPhone, though there are still some noteworthy developments. The loudest applause, of course, greeted the new MacBook Air, a three-pound, almost paper-thin laptop, whose mouse pad has the same "pinch" and "swipe" functions as the iPhone. But I bet that the new and improved Apple TV (starting at $229) will prove more revolutionary in the long run. It allows you to watch web video content-podcasts, YouTube, iTunes purchases--on your TV, and it's launched along with iTunes's new movie-rental business, which gives you films from all the major studios for a low price (regular movies $2.99, new releases $3.99, and $1 more for an HD upgrade).  

As psyched as I am for Apple's entry to the movies-on-demand market, I fear for Netflix, which offered a wan riposte to Apple's news in the form of unlimited downloads from its understocked online store. The DVDs-by-mail company is looking like it's the new ol' mom-and-pop shop destined to be trounced by the Apple mega-store. That said, if Apple is delivering me my favorite movies in bed, I won't lose any sleep over it. 

--Adam Blinick