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商业 - 科技

苹果30亿美元收购Beats是福还是祸

JP Mangalindan 2014年06月03日

传闻终于坐实,苹果最终以30亿美元收购了Beats。这笔交易让库克终于走出了乔布斯的阴影,但它对苹果公司、乃至整个音频与音乐流媒体行业会造成什么影响?

    三周前就有传言,现在终于得到了官方证实:苹果公司(Apple)以30亿美元收购音乐耳机制造商Beats。

    Beats联合创始人吉米•艾欧文在周三发表的一份声明中表示:“我内心一直都认为,Beats应该属于苹果。”

    业内人士似乎也同意这种观点,尽管苹果对Beats的出价可能过高,但收购这家公司是一个聪明的决定。

    高德纳(Gartner)分析师范•贝克称:“在某种程度上,他们购买的是品牌价值,是在年轻嘻哈一代中的市场地位。”事实证明,相比中年消费者,苹果产品更难打动嘻哈一代。

    市场营销公司DCA Growth Advisors创始人、品牌专家迪恩•克拉奇菲尔德赞赏苹果公司的这笔收购,因为它是一个大胆的举措。蒂姆•库克担任苹果CEO三年之后,终于走出了前任史蒂夫•乔布斯的光环。低调的库克带领苹果公司对iPhone、iPad和Mac电脑进行了多次升级。但除了相对较小的调整之外,他没有在苹果公司身上打上太多属于自己的烙印。

    收购Beats改变了这种情形。到目前为止,苹果还没有进行一笔几十亿美元的收购。相反,苹果只是购买了一些小公司,然后吸收他们的人才。克拉奇菲尔德表示,乔布斯可能曾经尝试开展音频与音乐流媒体业务。但他的选择不会是收购Beats,而是在内部为Beats培养一个竞争对手。

    克拉奇菲尔德说:“我认为,乔布斯是以苹果为中心;相反,库克会说:‘我们去收购一个品牌吧。’”

    苹果收购Beats打破了音频与音乐流媒体行业的现有格局。但业内的高管正在从正面的角度看待新的世界秩序。个人音频设备制造商V-Moda公司的CEO瓦尔•康顿认为,苹果的这笔收购对于整个耳机市场是好事。虽然有一段时间面临Beats的竞争,但他的公司从2004年至今共卖出了超过500万部“高端”耳机。

    康顿解释说:“Beats是一家大公司,现在已经成为一个深入人心的品牌,而这一点也有助于我们的增长。”

    苹果公司将要面临的挑战是,在今年年底之前交易结束之后,如何保持Beats对消费者的吸引力。虽然苹果是全球第二大最有价值品牌【它最近被谷歌(Google)超越】,但一些传统的Beats用户可能并不喜欢自己的耳机被科技巨头纳入囊中。

    分析师贝克将其总结为苹果公司的市场营销挑战。青少年和二十岁左右的年轻人不会像他们的父母一样痴迷苹果产品。

    “最初传出苹果收购Beats的传闻时,一位年轻消费者一语道破天机:‘谁会买一副印着苹果商标的Beats耳机啊?’”(财富中文网)

    译者:刘进龙/汪皓

    We heard the rumors three weeks ago, but now it's official: Apple is buying music headphone maker Beats for $3 billion.

    "I've always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple," Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovinesaid in a statement on Wednesday.

    Industry insiders seemed to agree that while Apple (AAPL) may have overpaid for Beats, buying the company was a savvy decision.

    "To a certain extent they're buying some brand equity, some positioning in the market with the younger generation, with the hip-hop generation," said Van Baker, a Gartner research analyst. It's a demographic that has proven to be a tougher sell for Apple than middle-aged customers.

    Dean Crutchfield, a branding specialist and founder of marketing firm DCA Growth Advisors, lauded Apple's acquisition simply because it was a bold move. After three years on the job, Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, has finally set himself apart from his from his predecessor, Steve Jobs. Cook, an understated business-type, had overseen Apple through a few upgrades to its iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. But he hadn't really left much of an imprint on the company aside from relatively minor tweaks.

    Buying Beats changes that equation. Until now, Apple has never made a multi-billion dollar acquisition. Instead, it has generally bought small companies and absorbed their talent. Jobs would have probably have tried to do the same in the audio and music streaming business, Crutchfield said. Rather than buying Beats, he would have tried to build a rival in-house.

    "I think Steve Jobs was Apple-centric, but Cook said instead, 'Let's buy a brand,'" Crutchfield said.

    The Beats acquisition dramatically reshapes the audio and music streaming industry. But executives in the space are trying to cast the new world order in a positive light. Val Konton, CEO of personal audio maker V-Moda, called Apple's acquisition a good thing for the headphone market in general. His company has sold over 5 million "high-end" headphones since 2004, while competing, at least part of that time, with Beats.

    "Beats is big and really has become a ubiquitous brand, and that's helped us to grow, too," Konton explained.

    The challenge for Apple lies in maintaining Beats' allure with consumer long after the deal closes, as it is expected to do by the end of the year. Apple may be the world's second most valuable brand -- recently trumped by Google -- but some traditional Beats customers may not like the idea of the tech giant owning their headphones of choice.

    Baker, the analyst, summed it up as a marketing challenge for Apple. Teens and twentysomethings aren't necessarily as enthusiastic about Apple's products as their parents.

    "A young person voiced it perfectly to me when the rumors first surfaced: 'Who wants to buy a pair of Beats headphones with an Apple logo on it?'"

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