Tuesday, May 13

Apple Buying Dr. Dre's Beats

Last week Apple announced its intention to buy Dr. Dre's Beats, the headphone brand that is credited with making big headphones a fashion accessory.  The announcement sent many a buzzing and not all of it positively.

First of all, there's a bit of a history on the development of the brand that resurfaced as a result.  Not sure how relevant all of that is now, but it's out there.

Many say this is also a signal of more deals from Apple coming down the pike.  Apple hasn't been a typical acquirer, so with deep pockets of cash and a post-Jobs world, this could be the first of many other large acquisitions.  Out of character perhaps, but now not without precedent.

But most importantly, I believe this signals something even larger ... a move away from the Apple brand.  Apple has largely stood for innovation, it's why many of us initially jumped into the brand so many years ago (1985 for me!).  But everything has been branded Apple all along the way and the equity has always been about Apple.  Steve Jobs was Apple.

Well now there's a new "name" on the docket ... Dr. Dre.  Will this mean "he" comes out with more products as well, and will there be other brand "names" on the horizon too?  It's a fascinating move to see a strong brand, who has always been just one brand, move away from that model.

Will Apple move from being a branded house to becoming a house of brands ... much like P&G or Unilever?  Hmmm.

What do you think?  What's your experience?  JIM.

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