Forking Apple brands

“Apple’s reputation, products, and imagery have coalesced into a brand, a mark that’s burned (as in the word’s origin) into the collective consciousness,” Jean-Louis Gassée writes for Monday Note. “Last year, Forbes called Apple the world’s most valuable brand.”

“At Apple… the product, not the brand, is the hero. Apple’s ads focus on the product, on what it does, on the feats that it allows unnamed customers to perform. The brand ascends to where it belongs, above specific products and promotions,” Gassée writes. “Given this thinking, what do we make of Apple’s other brand, Beats?”

“It’s a novel situation: Apple Thinks Different about the two brands it now owns. The personal computing brand is carefully nurtured, pruned, protected, now at the pinnacle,” Gassée writes. “The other is just as carefully kept apart.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Filemaker is a very obscure brand, Apple doesn’t really need to think about it when developing strategy for their main Apple brand.

    As for Beats, I wouldn’t be surprised if the plans for it are to simply eliminate it completely. Apple didn’t buy Beats for their headphones (nobody in their sane mind would do that). Once the whole online music service gets completely integrated into Apple’s own platform(s), Beats as a brand will be gone. As for the headphone business, they may unload it to someone else (such as Bose), or just absorb it and re-brand as Apple.

    1. No one in their right mind would shut down a profitable business and eliminate a well-known brand simply because some people on MDN don’t like the headphones or the brand.

      Like it or not, Apple paid $3B for Beats. I expect Apple to get every last cent of value out of that acquisition, from Iovine and Dre to the brand and the headphones and the curated streaming music. It would be foolish not to maintain the Beats name.

      If Apple is proud of the new products that come out of Beats after the acquisition, then it can add a small Apple logo and call it “Beats by Apple.” If not, then Apple can leave it just “Beats” while it finds a way to improve the Beats products.
      Or, as you stated, Apple could sell off the brand. But, Apple would then have to split off the Beats streaming music from the Beats headphone business – who would have control of the brand?

  2. I think they haven’t owned it for a year yet. They’re not like other companies. Eventually, it’ll fold into the Apple brand. They just don’t do that quickly like other companies do.

  3. Going back a ways, Apple formed the Claris software division in 1987. Claris started with MacWrite and MacPaint and added MacProject, MacDraw, ClarisWorks –> AppleWorks, Claris Resolve (informix WingZ), and Claris Impact (presentations). Claris bought FileMaker from Nashoba Systems in 1988.

    Claris had other software. That was just a sampling.

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