Apple has long made a habit of buying up companies for their technology, innovations and most importantly their patents. Generally the companies purchased are low key under the radar non consumer centered companies, which is why the news of a Beats Audio buyout has me scratching my head. Before we move on to the potential Beats Audio purchase, let’s look at a list of companies Apple has purchased since 2008, shortly after they hit it big with the iPhone.
You can see through the years their purchases have been heavily centered on technologies that will improve their own existing services, or services that can be integrated into their own. Which brings us back to Beats. Why purchase such a large consumer electronics brand for such a hefty price tag? This purchase is one of the loftiest in Apple’s history of purchases at a huge $3.2 billion price tag. Early speculation is that Apple is after the Beats music service. Looking to fend off competitors to iTunes such as Spotify, Google Play Music and others. Apple has had a rough time in that arena. Acquiring the Beats service would give them an established service with a user base in place and could potentially give them lift-off. But is Beats music service worth 3.2 billion? What is Apple going to do on the hardware side?
Apple generally doesn’t like to share it’s brand name with other brands, they tend to buy something and brand it Apple. So what’s to become of the Beats brand? Can Apple re-brand an already popular brand with it’s own culture into an Apple brand and succeed? The details about the “speculated” deal are obviously not even out there so we don’t really know what’s going on. It’s entirely possible that Apple is buying Beats outright and leaving Andre Young (Dr Dre) out of the future of Beats. And it’s entirely possible that Andre will continue to have some sort of relationship with Beats and Apple to continue to foster and cultivate the brand.
The branding thing resonates with me and just won’t stop ringing in my ears. Of course we don’t know what Apple is ultimately going to do with Beats, but I feel Apple is dancing with the possibility of diluting their own brand with this purchase. Apple is a brand many people want to buy. Whatever reasons they personally have, Apple has made it a point to brand themselves as something that people want. Watching Apple buy something this big for its established services makes one think they aren’t trying too hard anymore, let’s just buy what’s out there and puke it out so we can keep up with Google. And what happens with the hardware?
For a good long while we’ve known Apple as a computer, tablet, smartphone and music player company. What are they going to do with the hardware side of Beats? Are you ready for Apple/Beats branded headphones? I am no audiophile but I have used Beats headphones and I really do not hear much of a difference in a Beats set of headphones and a $90 pair of Supertooth headphones. Sam Biddle of Gizmodo had a great article about the history of Beats you should all read. Here’s a quote I really enjoyed.
[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”650px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]”Jimmy and Dre took decent headphones that could swamp your ears with low-end, isolate you from street noise, and keep your skull relatively comfortable during a long walk, and made all of these qualities irrelevant under a sheen of rapper-lure.”[/dropshadowbox]
And speaking of Andre Young, this morning a video of himself and actor Tyrese Gibson was posted to Gibson’s Facebook page, showing a celebration and it would seem, confirmation of the Apple purchase (Gibson has since pulled the video but The Next Web got it on YouTube before that happened).
In my mind, with no major announcement made from the money holders (Apple) on the matter. It would seem Apple would have some reservations with going through with the deal after that kind of a leak on a major deal. I’m thinking if Steve Jobs was still around he would have axed the deal the second the video hit the web. But then again, I’m not so sure Steve would have even considered such a purchase in the first place. If Beats offered more than just branding and established user base I could understand this purchase, but that and a music service is all they are buying here. There’s nothing spectacular about the Beats hardware, as Sam Biddle says….Dr. Dre has taken Beats headphones and “made all of these qualities irrelevant under a sheen of rapper-lure.”
What do you think of this possible purchase by Apple? Let us know in the comments or on Google+, Twitter and Facebook