For some, Apple looking to purchase Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion seems sad and desperate, like a middle-aged man buying a red Ferrari to stave off growing old.
But is the buy only about looking cool or staying relevant?
In a way, yes -- but in another, it's that Apple has overlooked the importance of its accessories line. One of the main reason Beats Electronics existed was that Apple wasn't creating adequate headphones. Like any good virus, Beats found the niche it could use to infiltrate Apple's users, and it did. Its attached music streaming service can only help Apple''s street cred.
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Apple has no shortage of cash: about $151 billion is still left in its dragon's hoard, according to the New York Times, but the $3.2 billion price tag is the biggest ticket item for Apple ever. The Times article suggests that Apple's billions is also to acqui-hire music executive Jimmy Iovine who at one time worked with Apple's late founder and chief Steve Jobs.
But the fear is that Apple has lost that innovation it had with its visionary leader Jobs and the only way it can get it now is by buying it. For most companies, this is quite common -- didn't Facebook just buy Whatsapp for $19 billion? -- but Apple isn't the usual tech company.
Apple wants you to "Think Different", remember? Its design and innovation is what drives users to buy its products, so when it can no longer create those innovations or anticipate its users' needs, perhaps its time for Apple to rethink its mission.