What Apple Really Gets By Buying Beats

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced Wednesday the acquisition of music company Beats in a deal totaling $3 billion.

Beats creates high-end headphones, audio software, and equipment. The company also operates the Beats Music streaming music service, which competes with Pandora (NYSE: P) and Spotify. Beats was co-founded in 2008 by musician and producer Dr. Dre and legendary producer Jimmy Iovine, who was the chairman of Vivendi’s Interscope Geffen A&M record label. The founders’ industry clout attracted branded partnerships with popular musicians including Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj. Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine will join Apple at the acquisition’s completion, but their roles were not disclosed.

Beats was Apple’s fourth acquisition of 2014, though by far the most high-profile. Apple barely confirmed the other three purchases and offered no deal details. Those acquisitions include the following:

  • SnappyLabs was acquired in January and had developed the SnappyCam app, which allows iPhone native cameras to take rapid, high-resolution pictures. The company was founded in 2011.
  • Burstly was acquired in February; the company created the in-app ad management platform SkyRocket and owned TestFlight, an app testing platform. Founded in 2009, the company had raised $7.3 million in Series A funding.
  • LuxVue Technology, acquired in May, produces micro-LED displays for consumer electronics that use less power than standard displays. Incorporated in 2009, LuxVue had raised $43.8 million in three rounds of funding.

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