Monday, May 12, 2014

Apple and Beats

It's been a weekend since Apple announced it was buying Beats headphones for $3.2B. Some of the press remain skeptical, while others claim that the skepticism might be racially tinged.

Maybe.

What I think is true, though, is that Apple is a successful brand, and by that I mean that consumers tie their identity to Apple, Inc. Set aside whether it is wise to weave your conception of self into a corporation (or anything for that matter), but I think I'm a Mac and I'm a PC resonated because Mac people were (are) Mac people and that was something that was important to their identity.

And "Mac people" do not buy Beats by Dre, because Beats by Dre are "technically inferior", appeared on American Idle, and aren't Grado SR60s. The reaction would be much the same if Apple bought Skullcandy. No offense to either Beats or Skullcandy, but that brand image at odds with Apple.

I don't know how financially beneficial this deal is for Apple, it's not clear to me what strategic sense it makes (I know MOG, which seems to power the Beats service, and I don't think they are worth $3B for whatever that's worth) and there have certainly been worse tech acquisitions in recent years, but I think that most of the complaining is coming from a sense of betrayal. Which I understand. Moral of this story -- don't identify too closely with corporations.

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