Invaders from Cupertino!

  @FortuneMagazine December 5, 2013: 6:55 AM ET
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(Fortune)

Anthony Wood doesn't come across as a paranoid kind of guy. The 47-year-old founder and CEO of Roku, with his French-blue button-down shirts (no jacket, please), rounded features, and relaxed demeanor, is an understated pitchman for his product, which lets consumers stream online videos and content from sites like Netflix and Amazon on their TVs. His modest work-life philosophy -- he likes his employees to come in, do their work, and go home to their families -- is the opposite of the hard-driving, all-consuming work ethic of many Silicon Valley companies. He is, it's fair to say, a dolphin in a tank of sharks.

Yet Wood has every reason to be constantly looking over his shoulder. The company is the primary adversary to Apple in the burgeoning Internet TV business -- an area where Apple may be planning to make a big, bold, game-changing move in coming years. "There is a very grand vision for TV," Apple chief executive Tim Cook said at an industry conference in May 2013. "I have nothing to announce, but it is an area of incredible interest." Add to that the knowledge that one of Roku's highest-profile partners, Netflix, is in talks with cable operators to bundle its content library with a cable service -- an action that would potentially diminish consumer interest in Wood's company -- and it's easy to wonder how the serial founder (AW Software, SunRize, iband, ReplayTV, BrightSign) gets a good night's sleep.

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