With the expected Beats Electronics acquisition by Apple expected to take a week longer than first reported, industry watchers are making their last minute predictions as to why Apple would be interested in the audio and music service company.
“Isaacson thinks the Apple-Beats deal is not about headphones or streaming music but rather is about video. He speculates that Cook wants Iovine to run Apple’s content business and help Apple launch the TV product that analysts have been gossiping about for years. The product has been held up because Apple can’t get all the content owners on board.”
Lyons adds that Isaacson shared with him something which he did not include in the authorized biography of the late Apple co-founder: Jobs was pitched on Apple buying Universal by Jimmy Iovine around 2002 or 2003…
Apple obviously did not buy Universal at the time, but the note is made that much more interesting in light of reports that Apple will announce a deal to buy Beats Electronics, co-founded by Jimmy Iovine, any day now. Our own Jordan Kahn wrote extensively last week about the possibility of Apple becoming the most powerful record label in the world with Jimmy Iovine and his goals for the music industry on board with Apple and its existing infrastructure.
In short, Iovine is dead set on improving the music industry whether it’s through headphones, streaming music, or any other business. Isaacson’s prediction that Iovine will run Apple’s content business is plausible as The Wall Street Journal has reported the acquisition could put Iovine in an executive position at Apple.
Isaacson, of course, is highly regarded when it comes to reading into Apple’s plans considering the exclusive access to Steve Jobs he was granted when tasked with the role of writing Jobs’ official biography. Notably, Jobs told Isaacson that he had cracked the code on what the television experience should be like and described a smooth experience yet to arrive to consumers.
With that being said, it makes sense for the biographer to associate such a large acquisition involving an entertainment industry insider with Apple’s plans for television – especially since that vision has yet to come to fruition – and it’s certainly possible his experience could lend favor to Apple greatly as it continues to negotiate deals with content providers and bring new channels to the Apple TV set top box lineup and whatever it has planned after the set-top box.
In January, the biographer commented on Apple’s lack of innovation compared to Google but later cited Apple’s ability to execute as its strength. That’s to say that Isaacson’s access to Jobs does not necessarily translate to knowledge of future roadmaps and inherently better predictions.
Isaacson’s guess is that the expected $3.2 billion purchase of Beats is about putting Iovine in charge of its content business in an effort to ship the ultimate vision for the Apple TV. For me, that sort of dismisses everything about Beats Electronics as a whole except its co-founder. Is buying Beats the quickest way to buy Jimmy Iovine and deliver the ultimate Apple TV experience, or could Apple have hired Iovine without involving headphones and music subscription services?
At any rate, the general mood at this point is for the acquisition to actually materialize (and here’s to hoping for some guidance from Apple on its reasons) before any more grand guesses about why it may happen continue to come forward.