Apple's Acquisition of Beats Met with Skepticism, but Jimmy Iovine May Be Key

Since the Financial Times broke the news yesterday, numerous publications are now claiming Apple is in the final stages of acquiring Beats Electronics, a headphone company and streaming music service created by hip hop star Dr. Dre and music industry veteran Jimmy Iovine. The response to the news is mixed, with some experts offering compelling reasons for the deal and other pundits questioning Apple's rationale in pursuing what would be its biggest acquisition to date.

Iovine has strong ties to the music industry and a long history of working with Apple, having met with Steve Jobs to discuss a subscription music service in 2003 and more recently in talks with Apple's Tim Cook and Eddy Cue about the Beats Music service before it launched earlier this year. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Iovine credits Apple as his inspiration for the idea of the Beats brand.

"The idea of Beats...to be very frank, I got from Apple," he said, noting the "uniqueness of their blending of technology with popular culture."

If the acquisition proceeds, Iovine may join Apple as a "special adviser" to Tim Cook on creative matters. Iovine would bring to Apple his knowledge of the music business as evidenced in a AllThingsD interview from last year embedded below, and his insider influence that Wall Street Journal sources predict could be used to boost advertising on Apple's existing iTunes Radio.


Apple also would acquire Beats' successful consumer electronics business selling high-margin headphones and its newly launched music streaming service. Apple could bring the Beats hardware brand under the guidance of Jony Ive and use it to create new music product lines and add new channels to sell Apple's products, suggests Re/code. The Beats music service is likely a longer-term investment, allowing Apple to accelerate any plans to offer a streaming music service for its iTunes customers, which number in the hundreds of millions.

Analysts, however, are meeting the news of the high-priced acquisition with both contempt and confusion, noting that such an acquisition is out of character for the Cupertino company. One of the first to weigh in on the deal was Gene Munster, who called the acquisition a "bad idea" in an investor note.

We are struggling to see the rationale behind this move. Beats would of course bring a world class brand in music to Apple, but Apple already has a world class brand and has never acquired a brand for a brand's sake (i.e., there are no non-Apple sub-brands under the company umbrella). Separately, we are not aware of any intellectual property within Beats that would drive the acquisition justification beyond the brand.

Apple pundit John Gruber of Daring Fireball was equally skeptical of the deal, saying "I don’t get it."

On the surface, this doesn’t make any sense to me. I can’t see Apple keeping the “Beats” brand around for headphones. If Apple wanted to sell expensive high-end headphones, they don’t need to spend $3 billion. The Beats streaming service is interesting, but can’t Apple do that on its own, as an expansion of the iTunes Music Store and iTunes Radio?

According to the original Financial Times report, Apple's acquisition of Beats could be announced as soon as next week. Negotiations are still ongoing with some final details yet to be ironed out, allowing for the possibility that "talks could still fall apart."

Top Rated Comments

DrFu79 Avatar
95 months ago
If true, this literally has to be the worst acquisitition i can think of.

I hate Beats with a passion - all style, no substance.

As a longtime (20+Years) Apple user, I don't want this kind of philosophy (further?) taking over Apple - all about fashion and brand. Angela Ahrends, Beats etc.

Just make a damn good product and it sells itself by merit. Stop the fluff.

Kids get off my lawn. I know.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0xyMoron Avatar
95 months ago
Really why should a company worth billions of dollars acquire another company before consulting MR forum posters first?
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
touchipods Avatar
95 months ago
Wow, Steve Jobs would have never let this happen.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mdridwan47 Avatar
95 months ago
Overpriced meets overpriced.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nzalog Avatar
95 months ago
Google buys Nest and Apple buys Beats. What has the world come to? Embarrassed as an Apple user. :(
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bishopstory Avatar
95 months ago
Please guys stop the Friday morning CEOing!


Take a look at Jimmie Iovine's Wikipedia page, he is the Chairman and co-founder or Interscope Records (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interscope_Records) and Chairman of Interscope Geffen A & M (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interscope_Geffen_A%26M) which is part of the Universal Music Group (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Music_Group) which is the largest music corporation in the World . Also scroll down to the complete Iovine discography.

Spot on dude.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature

Unreleased Apple Macs and Apple Watches Listed in Eurasian Database Ahead of Fall Product Launches

Monday August 2, 2021 9:34 am PDT by
Apple is preparing for a slew of fall product launches according to new filings that showed up today in the Eurasian Economic Commission database. There are listings for new Mac and Apple Watch models, all of which have previously unknown model identifiers that indicate that they're upcoming devices. There are six new Apple Watch identifiers, including A2473, A2474, A2475, A2476, A2477, and...
ifixit iphone12 mini

Apple to Make Space for Larger Batteries in iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks By Adopting Slimmer Peripheral Chips

Monday August 2, 2021 2:12 am PDT by
For future iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, Apple plans to use smaller internal components in an effort to increase the size of the device's battery, according to DigiTimes. Image Credit: iFixit Specifically, Apple plans to "significantly increase the adoption" of IPDs or integrated passive devices for the peripheral chips in its products. These news chips will be slimmer in size and allow for...
Apple watch series 5 new case material made of titanium 091019

Titanium Apple Watch Series 6 Models Currently Widely Unavailable

Sunday August 1, 2021 6:21 am PDT by
Models of the Apple Watch Series 6 with titanium cases part of the "Apple Watch Edition" collection is currently widely unavailable for pick-up in several of Apple's retail stores in the United States and is unavailable entirely for delivery in major markets. Noted by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, titanium models of the Apple Watch Series 6,...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...
magic keyboard touch id

Apple Makes Magic Keyboard With Touch ID Available for Separate Purchase

Tuesday August 3, 2021 5:22 am PDT by
Apple has made the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, which previously was only available with the purchase of the new 24-inch iMac, available for purchase individually for $149. Apple also retails the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and a numeric keypad for $179. A standard Magic Keyboard without Touch ID or a numeric keypad is available for $99, and a new Magic Trackpad for $129. One major...
themorningshowcarrell

Apple Decided Not to Buy Reese Witherspoon's 'Hello Sunshine' Media Company

Monday August 2, 2021 2:02 pm PDT by
Reese Witherspoon's media company "Hello Sunshine" recently courted various buyers, and while Apple was one of parties interested in buying Hello Sunshine, the Cupertino company did not end up going through with the purchase. Hello Sunshine was valued at around $900 million thanks to its involvement in popular series like The Morning Show," "Big Little Lies," and "Little Fires Everywhere,"...
COVID19 Digital Wallet Apple Wallet

Australian Government Now Offering COVID-19 Digital Vaccination Certificates for Apple Wallet

Monday August 2, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
The Australian government has introduced support for adding COVID-19 vaccination digital certificates to Apple Wallet via the Express Plus Medicare app on iOS. Image credit: Tap Down Under As spotted by Tap Down Under, users who have received two doses of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine now have access to the digital certificate through their Medicare online account or via the Medica...
mac pro new graphics

Apple Introduces New High-End Graphics Options for Mac Pro

Tuesday August 3, 2021 7:34 am PDT by
Apple today began offering new high-end graphics upgrade options for both the tower and rack versions of the Mac Pro desktop computer. This comes on the same day that Apple started selling the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID on a standalone basis. As noted by CNN Underscored's Jake Krol, the Mac Pro can now be configured with new AMD Radeon Pro W6800X, W6800X Duo, or W6900X graphics when...