Before Apple makes its Beats acquisition truly official, join us for a trip down context lane.
Sure, every tech pundit with Internet access has weighed in on why the $3.2 billion deal is good or bad for Apple, but before you make up your mind, here’s a look at how Beats Electronics evolved into the accessory powerhouse it is today.
Click on the dates below to learn more about each milestone.
- July 25, 2008: Rapper and producer Andre “Dr. Dre” Young and Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine cofound Beats Electronics. The duo’s first product launches exclusively in Apple and Best Buy stores and cost $349.95.
- August 2010: Beats Electronics licenses its brand to third-party manufacturers under the “Beats Audio” name. HP is the first to sign up. Standout integrations include the HP Envy 14.
- April 19, 2011: Beats signs deal with Chrysler Group to bring Beats Audio into automobiles. According to Beats: “Your car is more than just a way to get from A to B. It’s one of the few places where music matters the most. With BeatsAudio you can immerse yourself in your favorite songs and hear them in ways you never have before.”
- August 2011: HTC buys a majority 50.1 percent share in Beats Electronics for $300 million. Simultaneously, HTC loans the firm $225 million. According to the New York Times: “Peter Chou, HTC’s chief executive, said that teaming up with a top music brand would help his company compete with other cellphone makers like Apple and Samsung.”
- September 14, 2011: HTC begins releasing Beats Audio-powered smartphones. The first product: the HTC Sensation XE.
- January 12, 2012: Beats begins manufacturing its products in-house, after ending an exclusive manufacturing deal with Monster Cable Products. Later, Monster kicks off a competing product.
- July 2, 2012: Streaming music service MOG is officially acquired by Beats. The service reportedly sold for over $14 million.
- July 23, 2012: Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine buy back a portion of HTC’s shares for just $150 million. The two founders collectively own 75 percent of the company. HTC still owns 25 percent.
- November 2, 2012: Beats gets into the portable speaker market, flops. VentureBeat calls it “a tiny speaker with big problems.”
- December 10, 2012: Beats partners with Nine Inch Nails front man and Oscar-winning musician Trent Reznor, and plans to launch a music streaming service the following year.
- January 11, 2013: News surfaces that Beats cofounder Jimmy Iovine had tried to convince Apple’s Steve Jobs to launch a music streaming subscription service before launching Beats. Iovine was reportedly quite close with Jobs.
- March 5, 2013: Beats raises $60 million and plans to spin-off its music streaming project into a separate company. Apple is said to be a potential partner in the new venture.
- September 27, 2013: HTC sells its remaining 25 percent stake in Beats for $265 Million. Meanwhile, Carlyle Group LP reportedly invests in Beats. Following the deal, Beats is reportedly worth $1 billion.
- January 21, 2014: Beats Electronics enters the music streaming business to challenge the likes of Spotify, Pandora, and Apple’s iTunes Radio.
- April 21, 2014: Rumors that Beats is raising another $60+ million in funding emerge. The alleged round signals that Beats is likely struggling to compete with companies like Spotify.
- May 8, 2014: Reports allege that Apple is in talks to buy Beats for $3.2 billion. Later, a video surfaces on Facebook which appears to drunkenly confirm the news.
While we still await formal confirmation (or denial) from the two firms, the timeline above reveals that Apple and Beats have apparently been close for years. Rumor or not, the deal could actually make sense for Apple, according to VentureBeat’s own Devindra Hardawar.
What do you think of the deal? Let us know in the comments below!