Report: Dr. Dre wants to buy out HTC's remaining stock in Beats Audio

For the past couple of years, HTC has held a sizable stake in Beats Audio, the company that was co-founded in 2008 by hip-hop artist Dr. Dre and music executive (and sometimes American Idol mentor) Jimmy Iovine. This has allowed HTC to incorporate Beats Audio technology inside its smartphones, including the HTC Windows Phone 8S, shown above.

Unfortunately, the Taiwan-based HTC has not been as successful in selling its smartphones lately. In 2012, Beats Audio bought back some of HTC's interest in the company, from 50.1 percent down to 25 percent. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that Beats Audios is looking to buy back the rest of the company that HTC currently owns. Neither HTC nor Beats Audio would confirm what was stated in the WSJ's report.

If true, the deal could mean that HTC could also lose the rights to use Beats Audio as part of its smartphone audio hardware. Having that brand name made the smartphones stand out from other devices. However, it's clear that Beats Audio sees HTC's recent financial problems as a drag on their own company. The Wall Street Journal says Beats tried and failed to gain more investors earlier this year. It needs more money to help fund its plans for expanding into new businesses, including speakers and even a streaming online music service, a la Pandora and Spotify.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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18 Comments

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I have no opinion about his move.. but I can attest for the fair quality of the headphones and technology. I own a HTC Sensation XE (with Beats Audio) and it sounds marvelous with my sennheiser earphones the EQ at least makes a difference, and a pretty good one.

Good on Dr Dre for doing good business but I never even considered buying Beats Audio stuff nor would it have any effect on my choice of phone. Pretty much all phones have good audio quality these days, including an old HTC Trophy Windows Phone I have, which was made prior to HTC's involvement with Beats.

HTC needs to concentrate on building their market share and making great devices, this Beats thing is just a distraction

In 2012 Dr Dre was the best earning musician on the planet. Put that into perspective: More than Bieber, more than 1D, more than Jay-Z, more than Jackson (via proxy)... And as I recall, he didn't release a damned thing... Why?

Average quality headphones with astoundingly good promotion... I mean literally amazingly good promotion.

Fair play to him!

Personally I think the beats EQ on my One X+ makes a massive difference, I don't use beats headphones though - I have a pair of Marleys.

I got a free pair of Beat Solo HD cans about 2 years ago from some Visa rewards program. The cans themselves sounded decent (I'm no audiophile), but they were uncomfortable after about 30 mins of wear, which is unacceptable.

Fast forward to last year, and I got the HTC One X because of apparent Beats Audio integration. What a gimic that was, to say the least. It's simply a bass-boosting EQ preset that is either on, or off. And, to top it all off, both ICS and JB won't understand in-line button commands out of the box.

The weakest cross-promotion in history. I'd say if Dre et al want the remaining 25%, have it. You're buying back a lacklustre product (with exception to the high-end models) in a truly saturated niche in the industry. As for HTC, we all know where they're heading...

When you say "CRAP" is that to be translated "to I hate beats and I'm being over the top with this comment" or do you have a real reason to feel that they are crap? I have I beats headphones and I would hardly call them crap. Also, the beats audio on the HTC One, sounds better than ANY phone I have listen too.

However, I will say that the beats audio the is built into my HTC 8X is half baked. It only works with headphones connected, while on the HTC One, it works on both.

Edited by uxo22, Aug 19 2013, 6:19pm :

Shadowzz said,
Compare Beats by Dre with any proper headset of the same price class, and beats by dre will be blown away.

I'm sure that there are better cans out there, however "Any Proper headset" and "Blown Away" are just terms you used to sensationalize your point. Besides, it's a subjective opinion.

uxo22 said,

I'm sure that there are better cans out there, however "Any Proper headset" and "Blown Away" are just terms you used to sensationalize your point. Besides, it's a subjective opinion.


Sound quality isn't subjective, its measureable. Get a sennheiser in the same price segment and its definitely better.

Shadowzz said,

Sound quality isn't subjective, its measureable. Get a sennheiser in the same price segment and its definitely better.

Funny you should say that. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD25-1 II's and it's not so evident. Besides sound quality is definitely subjective, you may dislike bass while I may like bass, therefore a speaker with heavy bass will appeal to me an not you. Is that not subjective. Just because you feels that something sound better doesn't mean I feel the same way.

I don't need to break out an oscilloscope and look at a bunch of waves patterns & charts to determine if I like the way a set of headphones sound. I feel no need to validate what I like with a bunch of stats; I'll leave that to the audiophiles. To me if they have some pop, and descent lows, highs and clean midrange I'll take them.

Don't confuse your personal opinion with facts.
We all like clear sound without any deformations don't we? If it comes to that, yes, sennheiser is better then beats in the same price segments.
Also number of available tones from low to high is wider on a sennheiser in the same price class.

This is not subjective, its a fact. That you personally prefer crappier sound, that's your opinion. Not a fact.

Why is this in the past tense? I have an 8X and its audio enhancements (via Beats Audio) do indeed deliver deeper bass.

Yeah bringing down Napster was a great business mind instead of going with the times.
And overpriced headsets that are to small to cover ears that are not on the head of a midget.