Do you believe in Tim Cook’s vision for Apple Inc.?
The deal is done, finally. After weeks of speculation Apple (s: aap) says it is officially acquiring Beats, the upscale headphones maker launched by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, for $3 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported http://online.wsj.com/articles/apple-to-buy-beats-1401308971?mod=e2tw
It’s a bonanza for co-founders Dre and Iovine, who instantly become two of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry. But what about the buyer? Beware.
Apple is not known for executing head-turning acquisitions, of any kind, and so this step is a departure in the company’s quest to move beyond “The Steve Jobs Years”and allow CEO Tim Cook to place his stamp on the “new” Apple. Jobs died in 2011 after a longboat with cancer and onlookers have fretted that Apple has not been the same innovative dynamo since he passed away.
Apple, which will spend $2.6 billion in cash in the deal, hopes that this purchase will give it a leg up in the streaming business, the flavor of the month now in the technology industry. Plus, the music connections of Dre.and music producer and entrepreneur Iovinemight be able to open doors for new parent-to-be Apple in the music universe of Hollywood.
Whither, Apple in 2014? With that notable lack of innovation recently, the company that gave us the iPhone,the iPad and the iPod has groped to retain the kind of impressive buzz it sported when you-know-who ran the company. This has not been easy. While Apple’s stock price has enjoyed a resurgence in recent weeks, some observers still hang on to a wait and see approach. WHEN will Apple come up with its next trademark Great New Thing, they want to know.
Can Beats, a decidedly cool, status-reeking product, retain its aura as a division of Apple? Or has Apple tossed away three billion bucks, in a relentless but ultimately futile quest to look hiip, allover again?
It’s possible that Apple’s current lack of innovative buzz could contaminate the image of the Beats in the marketplace. Everything is subject to change in the consumer tech world. An image can evaporate overnight. Remember how Apple, in a bloodless revolution not so long ago, made the once-powerful Sony Walkman look like yesterday’s papers.
Apple is making a wager that it will prove much cheaper and easier in the long run to buy growth than to try to build it from scratch. Is this an admission that the Apple brand name doesn’t have the kind of firepower that it once boasted?
Hopefully, for Apple, it won’t now become the punchline in jokes about an Apple beat-down.