Cody Willard: Apple’s Beats buy is just stupid

“Steve Jobs was famous for saying one thing and poo-poohing certain business models — and then blowing them out of the water if he changed his mind about it later. Well, Steve had long poo-poohed the subscription models like Beats and Spotify where you can download and/or stream any song in their extensive catalog instead of having to purchase songs one at a time, like the iTunes model had pioneered back when I first bought Apple more than 10 years ago,” Cody Willard writes for MarketWatch. “Long ago, more than three years really, when it was time to start getting in front of that music subscription model that Spotify has now mastered. Beats? Really? It’s at best a second-rate version of Spotify and at worst a fashion accessory company.”

“Yes, the Beats headphones, while heavy on bass, are not exactly most audiophile’s dream headphones. They’re an expensive and trendy accessory that will go the way of the boom box fad of the 70s and 80s,” Willard writes. “The good news is that the $3 billion price tag isn’t really all that much money to Apple shareholders, even if it is, as has been breathlessly reported for days now, as the ‘Largest acquisition in Apple’s history!'”

“I’d rather have the guys at Whatsapp on my team than Beats founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre, who are now going to be visionaries at a high-tech company. Uh, they are marketers who smartly got in front of the App Revolution stock market bubble with a music app at the right time — while Apple slept without their Steve Jobs change-your-mind approach,” Willard writes. “I wish Apple spent that money and time on much-needed improved operating systems and mind-blowing features for their gadgets instead of buying a fashion accessory tied to a music app company.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple may unveil Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre executive appointments at WWDC – May 12, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s pursuit of Beats seen presaging more takeovers – May 12, 2014
Former eMusic CEO explains why Apple wants to buy Beats – May 12, 2014
Apple’s deep ties with Jimmy Iovine key driver of Beats deal – May 12, 2014
Removal of Dr. Dre video about Apple-Beats deal likely means acquisition is real and imminent – May 10, 2014
Game changer: Apple buying Beats could radically transform the digital music business – May 9, 2014
If Beats deal happens, Apple is acquiring a fad, not quality, and that is troubling – May 9, 2014
If Apple’s really buying Beats, here’s hoping it’s brilliant in a way which isn’t immediately obvious – May 9, 2014
The reason for Apple’s $3.2 billion interest in Beats? Spotify – May 9, 2014
Apple buying Beats Electronics: Its best idea since the iPad? – May 9, 2014
Why would Apple want to blow $3.2 billion on Beats Electronics? – May 8, 2014
Apple in talks to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion – May 8, 2014

29 Comments

      1. Anyone with an ounce of sense recognizes that Apple isn’t after the damned headphones. Apple would be better off building their own brand than just buying second-rate hardware. Think deeper, and above all else, THINK DIFFERENT.

          1. Maybe for you it sucks. Millions of people including me happen to have no problems with it whatsoever. I just wish it was available in more countries.

        1. So what are they after, then?

          More diversity press clippings days after the pride parade rainbow faded?

          Darwin Evolved is spot on!

          Cheerleading fanboys that can’t grasp Apple missteps and only mock and denigrate those who do — what a waste …

        2. You are right. Apple is after the gangsta, murdering, drug abusing, pimp and ho login’, raping and robbing culture of the American rapper. Apple wants a swim in the sewer. This is it. They think there is big money in getting the love of sewer rats. Sad things is they may be right. EBT money buys a lot these day along with drug and hooker dough. I think maybe Obama suggested Apple do this for Dr. Dre as a form of reparations.

      1. Im skeptical too… But at the end of the day i say to myself.” Not everyone at apple could have simultaneously turn stupid ”

        And there are a lot of smart people at apple !

        I hope im not proven wrong !

        1. I don’t see the attraction of Beats, but I’m willing to give Cook et al the benefit of the doubt to see this play out. Willard makes the mistake of latching on to one technical parameter. Maybe there is some other reason these products are popular besides an audiophile rating?

          When the iPod mini came out critics hated it because storage was limited yet customers loved it for other reasons and ignored the storage limits.

  1. This is deserving of an MDN critical comment. Acquiring the music industry connection will keep iTunes relevant. This helps drive all apple products.

  2. Smaller iPad, larger iPhone, streaming music, Apple seems to be a couple of years late on certain things lately. It hasn’t hurt them any. They have the money to be arrogant and complacent. That’s how it starts. It took a while for Microsoft to feel their lateness and complacency too.

    1. Totally right, I certainly hope we aren’t seeing a lack of foresight of those dimensions. Microsoft itself started spending money big on acquisitions to hide its own lack of direction. So I hope that also isn’t the case here.

  3. iTunes (and iPod) started the monstrous ascent for Apple. It is dear. Possibly too dear, giving rise to “let’s buy continued leadership.”

    There’s undoubtedly a better explanation, but if not, I can understand a little shooting from the hip on this one.

  4. Let’s not forget that this nonsense has not been confirmed by Apple! I am still hoping that it is nothing but a publicity stunt by Beats. Rappers after all are not known for being publicity-shy.

  5. this is a great move by Apple. This partnership/acquisition expands the audience for Apple products, will help negotiate new partnerships and fix a lot of the annoyance with iTunes.

  6. I’m not the kind of person who buy Beats headphones, but isn’t that the point, attracting a new generation of customers? I wouldn’t buy an iPhone 5c but they sold to a lot people, adding Beats to them would properly sell more to that demographic. The problem with wearable tech is getting people to wear it, and a lot of people wear Beats headphones (and perhaps a lot more would if Apple improves the sound quality) so they’re perfect for Siri integration, heat rate monitors, whatever else. I think Tim realises that he doesn’t know much about music, Steve was the music fan. Iovine was a friend of Steve’s and with his experience he’s the perfect choice to run iTunes. Beats streaming service also has by all accounts a good way of curating playlists. I think once I got over “personally I would never buy Beats headphones” I think there are some interesting reasons that might be behind it.

  7. Catering to “audiophiles” doesn’t keep the doors open. There simply aren’t that many of them.

    The younger generations (teens and 20s) LOVE Beats. Not only do the love the added bass, they love the style. Their sports celebrities wear them. Their friends wear them. It’s a purchase they don’t mind over paying for.

    Now pair Beats with Apple devices. Bundle an iPhone with Beats headphones and Beats Music, and you have a VERY attractive package for young people. Lots of profit for Apple, streaming revenue, and an added coolness factor that Samsung can’t match.

    Then you have marketing and possible behind-the-scenes plans of which we know nothing. Maybe there’s an idea on the horizon that Beats can’t do without resources from someone like Apple, something that will revolutionize music again.

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