When news broke on May 8 that Apple might acquire Beats, the media went crazy. Armchair CEOs started spouting numbers, pointing out how good or bad or nonsensical the deal may or may not be. At this point, everything is hypothetical. Nothing has been signed. Yet stories are continually being churned out about this merger. Apple and Beats’ purported union has been beaten into the ground.
The thought of $3.2 billion dollars changing hands made finance and business analysts sit at attention behind their keyboards. Some like Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald say that is a spot on price, and Apple may even be getting Beats at a steal. Others, like Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, think the Mac maker is offering to overpay and this is really all for Jimmy Iovine. The going theory is they want the Beats executive to come in and fix their broken content strategy. If his methods succeeds, it could mean huge revenues from the growing online music space.
It could be that the thought of the brilliant minds at Apple and Beats bringing their respective patents together makes techies drool at the possibilities. Technologically inclined sources like Ben Thompson have been theorizing about what their combined might could do in the wearable technologies market. Others, like Bryan Chaffin at the Mac Observer point out that the company Jobs built has never had a problem with innovation and that Beats headphones are for base junkies who like flash over substance. In fact it was Apple that made news with their biometric headphone sensors patent in February of this year. Not that Beats comes empty handed. Beats Music, the online music streaming site in competition with Spotify and Slacker, is also front and center in the debates surrounding this possible purchase. Dr. Dre’s streaming service has grown in leaps and bounds since its birth earlier this year, but it is still an infant compared to Pandora, which dominates the market. As for the headphones themselves, Digital Trends asserted that Beats do well in sales because of their marketing and the famous names behind their brand rather than because of actual quality, and PCMag sticks to the story that the hardcore audiophiles still mock Beats as sub-par. However, any complaints about advertising or quality were not loud enough to make this much news. There are stories about how many stories are being written about this merger, like Gene Marks of Forbes who titled his Breaking News: Apple’s CEO Had A Tuna Fish Sandwich For Lunch Yesterday. The Apple and Beats discussion has been beaten to dust.
The fact that it has been days since the news broke with no further updates means there is a possibility this may be much ado about nothing. People are just killing time, clicking on, thinking about and talking about this until the powers that be decide whether any contracts will actually be signed. The topic of Apple and Beats has been beaten to death, and the public will likely not know more until the World Wide Developers Conference on June 2.
Opinion by Aliya Tyus-Barnwell