Apple rumored to be acquiring Beats Audio for $3.2 billion

Apple may be getting ready to break from its tradition and buy a major gadget and tech company for quite a lot of money. The Financial Times reports, via unnamed sources, that Apple is in talks to acquire Beats Audio for as much as $3.2 billion.

If the rumored deal does go through, it would be the single largest acquisition Apple has ever made. The company is well know for buying a number of smaller start up businesses and they tend to do so very quietly, without a formal press release. 

Co-founded in 2008 by hip-hop artist Dr. Dre and music executive Jimmy Lovine, Beats Audio has become known for its high end products like its headsets, earphones and speakers. At one point, HTC had a 50.1 percent majority stake in the company but in 2013 it sold off its shares.

Today's report claims that Apple's acquisition would also include Beats Music, the streaming audio service that launch in 2013. Such a move would certainly be a complement to Apple's own downloadable iTunes service. It also means that Apple would own a service that is available on other platforms behinds its own, such as Android and Windows Phone.

Source: Financial Times | Image via Beats Audio

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Apple + Beats audio = iBeats

iBeats + voice recognition = "iBeats off"

Vulgarity + bad grammar = Not good.....

Anyone who thinks the Beats headphones have rubbish sound quality needs their ears checking.. Beats is the cool product to bash, the branding is rubbish so they didn't get off to a good start and they are more of a fashion statement so i can understand, but the quality is actually really good, i was surprised when i listened to them, and i've come from Sennheisers.

The major issue is the inflated price brought by the rubbish branding... but for general day-to-day consumer headphones these things are the bomb and I only see this as a good move for Apple.

Uplift said,
Anyone who thinks the Beats headphones have rubbish sound quality needs their ears checking........... but the quality is actually really good, i was surprised when i listened to them, and i've come from Sennheisers.

No offense, but it looks like that you have to have your ears checked instead, unless music is only "boom-boom-boom" for you and nothing else.

TBH I'm sure that apple is not going to do this. I do not own a mac and I just have an iPhone and I already hate apple for phone limitations, but I admit that Apple has very experienced and great audio engineers, and they are not going to agree on the beatscrap deal.

Beats are overly emphasized in the bass making the sound very unrealistic. High-End doesn't mean Audiophile quality. And Beats is far friend being Audiophile quality. Another mistake made by Apple. Seriously I'd rather wait for that Pono Player and Pono Music service that you guys clown on for it's ugliness. lol

Certainly didn't see this coming.

I wonder if this will, abruptly, mean an end to Beats Audio being licensed to mobile and laptop manufacturers. Being Apple, I suspect it will be.

Wall-swe said,
Apple just invented Beats Audio!

Was going to click like, but you deserve a reply. Got a giggle. Thanks!

It's just mind blowing because beats company is no where near a value of billion and it's even ridiculous to start with such a rumored. If this is true, i would flush all my apple product to the toilet in no time.

Master of Earth said,
It's just mind blowing because beats company is no where near a value of billion and it's even ridiculous to start with such a rumored. If this is true, i would flush all my apple product to the toilet in no time.

Why? Because you, a regular person, thinks a company is worth less?

It's obviously worth it to Apple.

Nashy said,

Why? Because you, a regular person, thinks a company is worth less?

It's obviously worth it to Apple.

It's not just me that feel the same way, i met many people complained it isn't worth or change the way you experience music. Apple can do better than that with 3B cash.

Master of Earth said,

It's not just me that feel the same way, i met many people complained it isn't worth or change the way you experience music. Apple can do better than that with 3B cash.

You missed my main point. You're not in any sort of position to comment on that.

Master of Earth said,

Are you referring position such as CFO,COO,CEO SVP?

No, I'm talking about you not being any of those at Apple, the company who employs such people to make decisions such as this one.

You're shooting off the hip, acting like you know the ins and outs, and disregarding it based on your knowledge, not theirs.

You think Apple would make this sort of bid if they didn't think it was worth it?

The comments on the article are hilarious. First of all, these headphones are marketed for the crowd who care more about bass coming through their headphones. I wouldn't use a pair to listen to my Bach Brandenburg. Secondly, Apple will only improve upon this product if this rumor is true.

JHBrown said,
The comments on the article are hilarious. First of all, these headphones are marketed for the crowd who care more about bass coming through their headphones. I wouldn't use a pair to listen to my Bach Brandenburg. Secondly, Apple will only improve upon this product if this rumor is true.

I've pretty much given up on trying to make common sense comments on a thread whenever Apple is involved.. there's so much trolling it's hard to try and even raise valid points.

Chicane-UK said,

Was a fascinating read, even if it was an April Fools.. I don't reckon Spotify is going anywhere for a while yet! There's nothing that can touch it!

I live in Spotify!

I'm probably going to have to eat my words here. It seems Dr. Dre is either running with the rumor, or calling himself the first billionaire in hip-hop as his way of confirming the deal until the official press release. I just remember reading the joke and figured that, like with the Firefly being renewed by Netflix April Fools joke, people just kept running with it.

benthebear said,

I live in Spotify!

I'm probably going to have to eat my words here. It seems Dr. Dre is either running with the rumor, or calling himself the first billionaire in hip-hop as his way of confirming the deal until the official press release. I just remember reading the joke and figured that, like with the Firefly being renewed by Netflix April Fools joke, people just kept running with it.

Weirdly I just came from watching that video on YouTube about Dr Dre!

If anything, maybe Apple can get good sounding speakers in their devices. Just trying to use the speakerphone on an iPhone is rather painful compared to most other devices, let alone using it to play podcasts/books, etc.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I know their iMacs have much better sound than any of the other all-in-ones I've seen, including HPs which have the stupid "b" for beats logo that apparently doesn't mean a whole lot... :/

My shop sells them, while they produce decent sound, they are very poorly made. We usually get one defect back in the store a week. Getting a proper defect return with them is almost impossible, so we usually end up eating the cost and writing them off.

Beats have great advertising. It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the marketing dresses up the products and makes some people strongly believe that they are the best, and that they must own a pair at any cost. It's basically subtle neuro-linguistic programming.

Imagine if BMW partnered with Hugo Boss and released a limited edition BMW 335i Boss Edition, they could sell the care at +40% of the price just because of the names involved. Welcome to the world.

Hugo Boss actually has mostly very high quality products. Even their underwear has much better material than Levi's, Diesel, Polo Ralph Lauren, etc. etc., yes I've actually compared for a while.

A marriage made in heaven. Both are fashionable, overpriced and best of all.. They are for people with low self esteem, with false sense of popularity.

Svggarden said,
A marriage made in heaven. Both are fashionable, overpriced and best of all.. They are for people with low self esteem, with false sense of popularity.

Why, exactly?

The included headphones are crap and despite their best efforts, the newer ones are too.

Which phone manufacturer supplies decent earbuds, as standard, with their phones.

Svggarden said,
A marriage made in heaven. Both are fashionable, overpriced and best of all.. They are for people with low self esteem, with false sense of popularity.
SMH!

Wonder what this will mean for HP and HTC if it does happen. Perhaps they'll stay separate, just under the Apple name?

Beats bought back all there stock and are now 100% owned by beats. Was interesting when this happened, and i think this has been in the book for sometime now (sale to apple). I also think its the streaming service that apple is after. From what i remember Beats bought out a company that streamed lossless music and remade it into beats. Another interesting story is the Monster and Beats business and how Monster loss out big time!

They bought the brand name.

Anybody with a briefcase of cash could source parts from China and come out with better products.

Really Apple Products Garbage. Last time i look my macbook pro after 2 years it running a lot better the my past windows laptops and sister current windows 8 laptop.

Yeah but what was the price of that w8 laptop? €399? does it have an ssd? please compare with products around the same specs.

This said apple is good but (to) expensive mij laptop that is 4y ols runs smoot like never before after w8.1 install. allot of people instal garbage on windows pc and thats why it is slow. how many times i have seen that users had 2 antiviruses running (Norton + McAfee most of the time) is unbelievable.

The_Observer said,
Really Apple Products Garbage. Last time i look my macbook pro after 2 years it running a lot better the my past windows laptops and sister current windows 8 laptop.

My 7 year old HP Windows Vista laptop still runs like new, I even upgraded it to Windows 8. Your point?

This seems really odd. I don't see what Apple would get put of this deal. Patents? Horrible ear/headphones? Average/acceptable streaming service?

Beats Electronics, LLC and Beats Music, LLC are two separate companies structurally and legally. The story says Beats Electronics. There is no such thing as "Beats Audio" outside of branding. It is not a formal company name.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
Beats Electronics, LLC and Beats Music, LLC are two separate companies structurally and legally. The story says Beats Electronics. There is no such thing as "Beats Audio" outside of branding. It is not a formal company name.

You're right. Beats electronics owns Beats Music.

Notice how almost everyone here got "Likes"? There's a reason for that: everyone agrees that Beats Audio = crap. It's nice to see that many people still have some sensibility and actually care about sound quality.

audioman said,
actually care about sound quality.

I bet you the majority listen to mp3s though, and use the standard dacs on the computers/phones/tablets!

Consumers say otherwise though. Remember, this is the internet. You could say Apple sucks and get likes so that doesn't say a whole lot. :laugh:

beats are bought as a fashion statement. they are overpriced and you can get a better product for less than half the price. sound familiar?

a match made in heaven.

Walrush said,
Over Priced products based around Marketing hype and silly Consumers.

Perfect for Apple.

could be worse, any Android handset maker could have bought them and then most of all the cool kids would have them.

If people think Beats headphones are good, need to try a real premium pair. I feel so sorry for the people in the gym wearing beats earphones, spending so much money on a pair of crap ass over produced stuff.

high end products.. lol.. More like at best average, overpriced but well marketed based in a specific market.. Yes sounds like a good match with Apple all right.

The headphones are really terrible unless you like the average car audio sound system, lots of boom and hiss, not much of a true audio representation of the source.

Looks like Dr. Dre is going to be a billionaire..

and that HTC messed up bigtime by selling their 50.1% for 410 million a year ago.. would be worth 1.6 billion now.

BAUMHAUER said,
Personally, I think Beats headphones are absolute garbage and so are Apple's own earphones.
They are better than the headphones that come with Nokia phones. I have a set from my former 920 sitting right here.

have you tried to use Mail.app in OS X lately? It often stops sending and receiving email until you quit and reopen it. If that's not mediocre than it's sucky.

holy hell will this make Dr. Dre a billionaire? Who would have thought when he first started rapping that years later when most musicians money is nothing, he has the potential to become a billionaire.

macrosslover said,
holy hell will this make Dr. Dre a billionaire? Who would have thought when he first started rapping that years later when most musicians money is nothing, he has the potential to become a billionaire.

Beats are quite poor, it's more a brand name that people are attracted to, something I feel Apple might have to be suckered into with the purchase just to stay relevant.

rippleman said,

explain "relevant" in the sense that you see it...

HTC already owned a majority share in the beats company before so it's not like mobile technology companies aren't interested in it, and they only really sold up to get out of the sink hole they were in.
Every one knows how bad the default ear buds are from Apple. With the recent Nokia take over by Microsoft, Windows Phone now have audio headsets by Monster. Like it or not, Monster is held in high regard by many as the standard for great audio/visuals.
If it's true that Beats are looking to sell, Samsung could purchase it now that they're clear of their troll patent trials.. and leave one of the biggest music (Apple's iTunes) providers with no proper 'hd' head gear. Sure they sell 3rd party stuff, but Apple being Apple just won't bundle it until they own it.

You also have to remember, that Beats have a large music network as well as non-head phone technology behind it, as a result the main manufacture of cars are starting to have beats audio installed. Microsoft is has already found itself into the likes of Ford for audio connectivity leaving Apple with little leg room to make an impact on any one other then it's iPhone user base.

Tech movies quickly, and so do people who use it. If companies don't move with the times and the people, they can fall just as quick as they started out. Beats head phones probably won't kill Apple if say Samsung purchased them instead, but it'll be another straw on the camels back.

sagum said,
HTC already owned a majority share in the beats company before so it's not like mobile technology companies aren't interested in it, and they only really sold up to get out of the sink hole they were in.
Every one knows how bad the default ear buds are from Apple. With the recent Nokia take over by Microsoft, Windows Phone now have audio headsets by Monster. Like it or not, Monster is held in high regard by many as the standard for great audio/visuals.
If it's true that Beats are looking to sell, Samsung could purchase it now that they're clear of their troll patent trials.. and leave one of the biggest music (Apple's iTunes) providers with no proper 'hd' head gear. Sure they sell 3rd party stuff, but Apple being Apple just won't bundle it until they own it.

You also have to remember, that Beats have a large music network as well as non-head phone technology behind it, as a result the main manufacture of cars are starting to have beats audio installed. Microsoft is has already found itself into the likes of Ford for audio connectivity leaving Apple with little leg room to make an impact on any one other then it's iPhone user base.

Tech movies quickly, and so do people who use it. If companies don't move with the times and the people, they can fall just as quick as they started out. Beats head phones probably won't kill Apple if say Samsung purchased them instead, but it'll be another straw on the camels back.

I suggest you check out the standard earphones that come with the iphone/idevices these days because they're nothing like the old ear pods. With that being said the bog standard earphones have always sucked be they from Nokia, Sony, Samsung etc. because in the end the average person has the hearing abilities of a potato so why provide them with a better experience when they wouldn't notice the difference. Sure there are the Nokia monster earphones but they don't come standard so they're an aftermarket earphone that anyone could buy - don't like the standard earphones with the iPhone then jump on Amazon and buy a pair of Sennheiser like I did.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

I suggest you check out the standard earphones that come with the iphone/idevices these days because they're nothing like the old ear pods. With that being said the bog standard earphones have always sucked be they from Nokia, Sony, Samsung etc. because in the end the average person has the hearing abilities of a potato so why provide them with a better experience when they wouldn't notice the difference. Sure there are the Nokia monster earphones but they don't come standard so they're an aftermarket earphone that anyone could buy - don't like the standard earphones with the iPhone then jump on Amazon and buy a pair of Sennheiser like I did.

I totally understand what you're saying, and for most people Apple's earphones are still going to be poor quality as long as Apple produces them, because as you say, potato dictates.

The difference is, Nokia have their own branded Monster gear, it's not just an aftermarket brand and at least in the UK, they seem to be giving it away all the time. My girlfriend got some earphones with her Nokia 610 and I was offered some headphones with a 920.

But it's just that isn't it. The idea that people are getting something extra, even if that extra is not as good as they make out to be,, and for a lot of people the beats brand name is far over priced, while the rest are quite happy to be suckered in and buy them, nod their head and agree that their Justin Bieber songs now sounds more fantastic.

There are a lot of people out there that brand awareness is more powerful then functionality and wouldn't dare to think of replacing their apple ear phones with something 3rd party, even if it meant they got better quality as a result.

Ugh - not to be a troll, but my $30 Sony speakers sound better then these and don't have a tendency to snap in half. These headphones are ridiculously overpriced and 3.2 Billion to buy the entire company sounds insane to me!

I seriously don't understand how anyone thinks these things sound good. I tried a pair of Solo HDs and some $100 earbuds. I'm being 100% honest in saying they were the worst I've ever tried. I don't know who actually enjoys the music coming out of them, if you can even call it music.

Yeah I'd agree. They aren't necessarily bad but for the price you could get something that would provide an insanely better high end audio experience.

In my experience the beats suffer from over driven bass and tinny resonance in the higher frequencies. Great for the dubstep/hip hopper but god awful if you want to listen to something else.

People also don't seem to take into account comfort. That's honestly why I've seen people buy a pair of Beats over Bose and other brands even, where comfort actually made a stand over supreme audio quality.

dead.cell said,
People also don't seem to take into account comfort. That's honestly why I've seen people buy a pair of Beats over Bose and other brands even, where comfort actually made a stand over supreme audio quality.

Comfort may stand over SUPREME audio quality, but they have NO audio quality. I'd rather not listen to music than to listen to what comes out of beats.

mrp04 said,
Comfort may stand over SUPREME audio quality, but they have NO audio quality. I'd rather not listen to music than to listen to what comes out of beats.

General consensus is that they're not bad, but for the price, you can find better in terms of audio quality. You're welcome to your opinion though, I just think you're being dramatic. :ermm:

Audio quality be behind. The bass on the Studios are pure nasty. If you have a Mac and you modify the audio output, you'd understand potential. 90% of these judgements are so petty. Some probably have never actually used beats. Where'd you try them? At a Best Buy using a sample iPod?

dead.cell said,

General consensus is that they're not bad, but for the price, you can find better in terms of audio quality. You're welcome to your opinion though, I just think you're being dramatic. :ermm:

No, that's the thing I'm being 100% serious. I literally do not see how anyone can say that they are not bad. I've tried the Solo HD (two different units) and some earbuds that I know were $100 but I don't know the model number. The headphones were seriously some of the worst headphones I've ever used. And the earbuds were also terrible, every pair of earbuds that have been included with a phone or device I've purchased have sounded better.

Maybe I just happened to test their two really bad models? I don't think so though, the Solo HD is quite popular. I've seen them a decent amount. I just can't fathom that people would actually want to listen to music through those.

And what does having a mac have anything to do with it? Nearly any device has an equalizer if you want to make the bass even more disproportionately loud compared to the barely audible and muddled higher tones. You just buying for brand?

Mr.XXIV said,
Audio quality be behind. The bass on the Studios are pure nasty. If you have a Mac and you modify the audio output, you'd understand potential. 90% of these judgements are so petty. Some probably have never actually used beats. Where'd you try them? At a Best Buy using a sample iPod?

Nope, I tried a pair at the Microsoft store on my on phone as my younger cousin was purchasing a set for $200. After trying them I tried to convince him not to and to just get a nice $100 set of sennheisers or something that isn't total crap but he didn't listen. After he bought them I tried his brand new out of the box ones out and they sounded just as terrible. A year later he finally admitted he only purchased them for the looks and because his friends would think they're cool. He admitted they sound like crap and resold them for just $70.

And what does having a mac have anything to do with it? Nearly any device has an equalizer if you want to make the bass even more disproportionately loud compared to the barely audible and muddled higher tones. You just buying for brand? (didn't mean to post this in the reply to dead.cell)

Mr.XXIV said,
Audio quality be behind. The bass on the Studios are pure nasty. If you have a Mac and you modify the audio output, you'd understand potential. 90% of these judgements are so petty. Some probably have never actually used beats. Where'd you try them? At a Best Buy using a sample iPod?

Had a pair of the Studio and the Solos in my possession whilst doing some testing to make sure an app of ours sounded ok in various environments and wasn't too loud or garish amongst other things.

Regardless, if I had tried the Beats at Best Buy or any store on a sample they should work as expected. Using OSX and tweaking the equaliser doesn't make it good, it makes it terrible. It should provide adequate audio OOTB. Sure for high end audio equipment you should make a profile to suit your music, DAC/AMP and speakers but that is to get the pure optimum out of it not to get it to "have potential". Sure if I stick a few jet engines on my car it has the potential to become a fighter jet. Truthfully it would fly like a balloon farting around after letting it go full of air.. somewhat similar to how I remember the beats solos sounding actually.

Truthfully, every user will have a different profile. Most audio fanatics will have profiles that are only decibels apart on certain freqs but will swear that that is the key difference. Audio is subjective, but at its root are a set of good cans. These are not good cans.

This judgement isn't petty, I don't think you shouldn't buy beats, and I don't think they're not good (heck they'll outperform a pair of $40 phones) but compare the prices. For what you pay you could get better, a lot better.

Make an equaliser profile for a set of $300 Sennheisers and compare with your Beats, its a big difference.

Dont see a problem with it as long as Beats continues to keep doing what they are doing. Apple will probably use beats in their phones so that will be good as well.

In lots of commercials where technology is involved, these seem to be closely tied hand and hand with the iPhone. I look forward to seeing what gets done with the brand :)

Personally love my 2 pairs of beats.

Enron said,
Seems like a brand Apple would do well with.

crappy headphones... we all know it.. apple can change that of course... perhaps not..

I have to agree with you Enron, another overpriced hardware product. They'll probably still raise the price of the headphones by $60.

devHead said,
I have to agree with you Enron, another overpriced hardware product. They'll probably still raise the price of the headphones by $60.

The problem with Beats is that the product is over priced for what it actually does - when compared to Sennheiser earphones that are half the price the sound quality is better on the Sennheiser. As for Apple's own products - at least you can point to parts that are superior such as OS X or the depth/breadth of applications at the Appstore for iOS where as Beats really have nothing much going for it other than brand recognition and celebrities wearing them.

Enron said,
Seems like a brand Apple would do well with.
Your anti-anything unless it's from Microsoft is always on cue.

JHBrown said,
Your anti-anything unless it's from Microsoft is always on cue.

I don't see where I said anti-anything. I said they'd do well with the brand. Stop trying to overanalyze things.