Apple's biggest mistake under Tim Cook has been not buying Netflix, strategist says

  • A strategist told CNBC Friday that Apple needed to acquire a leading production studio to boost its services business with original content.
  • He also predicted the company would see a trillion-dollar market capitalization in 2019.
  • Last week, J.P. Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee said in a note that Apple should buy Netflix.
The Netflix logo displayed on an iPhone 5s.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Netflix logo displayed on an iPhone 5s.

Apple's biggest mistake under CEO Tim Cook has been not acquiring Netflix, a strategist told CNBC on Friday.

Speaking to CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe," Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush, said Apple was currently facing its "darkest chapter" since the iPhone era.

"(But) we're bullish on Apple's services," he said. "The next few quarters will be an uphill battle, but we're predicting a trillion-dollar market cap for Apple in 2019."

In order to move into a new growth phase, Apple would have to invest in its services offering, Ives added.

"You need content, you need fuel in that engine. They're lacking original content and lacking video content, which is why we believe they'll buy a large film studio in 2019," he told CNBC. "We've talked about potentially Sony, Lionsgate, A24 – a CBS or Viacom is potentially still on the table as well as a Netflix, as that's the key to drive the services business."

"In my opinion, the biggest strategic mistake Apple has made since Cook took over is not buying Netflix," Ives added. "That was the deal that they needed to do because it comes down to content."

Apple is reportedly planning to launch its own streaming service in April, which will feature free original content for device owners. The service is expected to include content from CBS and Viacom, among other production studios.

Last week, J.P. Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee said in a note that Apple should acquire Netflix to boost its position as a content creator.

"We think Netflix is best strategic fit on leading position in engagement level as well as original content, differentiating itself from pure aggregators of content," he said. "We believe there is value to acquiring the most successful player in this space, which is hard to replicate with a smaller player in this market."

However, Cathie Wood, CEO and CIO of ARK Invest, told CNBC last week that she disagreed with Chatterjee's recommendation.

"They should be building – they definitely need to update their content in terms of video, (but) I don't agree that Netflix is a good way to do it," she said. "Netflix is horizontal in terms of platforms, it's on Android, it's on Samsung – what are they going to do, lose those customers? That doesn't make any sense to me."

Wood added that if Apple spent $50 billion on building its own library it could compete with existing streaming platforms without making an acquisition.