专栏 - 苹果2_0


Philip Elmer-DeWitt 2014年05月13日



    苹果公司(Apple)真的会像《金融时报》(Financial Times)上周四晚间报道的那样,以32亿美元的价格收购Beats电子公司(Beats Electronics)吗?


    截至上周五上午,70多家媒体纷纷节选、放大了这则未经证实的报道称,音乐制作人吉米•艾欧文和嘻哈明星Dr Dre联合创办的耳机制造商和流音乐流服务公司Beats有望成为苹果公司历史上最大的收购对象。


    但投行派杰公司(Piper Jaffray)的吉恩•蒙斯特对此持怀疑态度。


    Is Apple (AAPL) really going to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion, as reported Thursday evening by theFinancial Times?

    The main body of the tech press seems to think so.

    By Friday morning, more than70 publications had picked up and amplified the unconfirmed report that the largest acquisition in Apple's history might be the headphone maker and music-streaming service founded by music producer Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop star Dr Dre.

    Wired called it Apple's "Best Idea Since the iPad."

    Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, for one, is skeptical.

    "We are struggling to see the rationale behind this move," he wrote in a note to clients Thursday evening. "Beats would of course bring a world class brand in music to Apple, but Apple already has a world class brand and has never acquired a brand for a brand's sake (i.e., there are no non-Apple sub-brands under the company umbrella). Separately, we are not aware of any intellectual property within Beats that would drive the acquisition justification beyond the brand."



    “希望这不是真的,”苹果信息博客 《MacObserver》的布赖恩•沙芬写道,他发牢骚说Beats的耳机“只会产生大量的噪音干扰,会把任何音乐变得混乱不堪。”



    最新消息1:在一篇巧妙命名为Beats Me的博文中,美国宏桥信托投资集团(BTIG)的沃尔特•皮斯基客观地看待这个传闻中的交易:



    鉴于苹果历来对自己庞大的知识产权宝库所持的态度异常谨慎,如果苹果放弃收购计划,特别是在昨晚的“试探气球”(如果确实如此)结果如此糟糕的情况下,那也是意料之中的事。但是让我们来考虑这样一个事实:苹果不是一家愚蠢的公司。诚然,苹果可以出错(例如,Apple Ping),但是即使摔倒,它也通常是摔倒在值得攀登的高峰的半路上。由此,我得出了下面这个幻想:如果在收购Beats的过程中,苹果知道和掌握我们所不了解的情况,结果会怎样呢?果真如此,苹果会怎么做?(他按照所谓的“合理性降序排列、轰动性性升序排列”,给出了三种可能。)请参阅《相信苹果》(Having Faith in Apple)。(财富中文网)


    Munster's is a minority opinion, but he's not entirely on his own.

    "Please let it be false," wrote The MacObserver's Bryan Chaffin, who complains that Beats headphones "can turn any music into a muddy romp through a swampy bottom land of mush."

    Having no inside knowledge whatsoever -- not even the number of Beats Music subscribers -- I'm with Time's Harry McCracken. After examining the deal seven ways to Sunday, he ends his piece with the ultimate caveat:

    Or maybe this isn't happening at all. If it doesn't, kindly forget that I wrote this story, so that I can write another one explaining why the notion was absurd and unworthy of contemplation in the first place.

    UPDATE 1: In a blog post cleverly titled Beats Me, BTIG's Walter Piecyk puts the rumored deal in perspective:

    A $3 billion purchase by Apple following decades of acquisitions that haven't topped $400 million is a change in pattern that will justifiably generate some questions for management and perhaps the Board of Directors to address if announced. Let me tone down that hyperbole a bit. $3 billion is less than 2% of the company's cash and less than 10% its annual free cash flow. So in the grand scheme of things, it's not a deal that is going to have a material impact on results but the change in pattern is what drives the questions.

    UPDATE 2: Another perspective, this one from Forrester's James McQuivey:

    Given Apple's historical tight-fistedness with the contents of its huge treasure chest, it wouldn't be surprising if the company backed away, especially after last night's trial balloon (if it was such) sputtered so badly. But let's consider this fact: Apple is not a stupid company. Sure, Apple can make mistakes (Apple Ping, anyone?) but when it trips over itself, it usually does so on the way up a hill worth climbing. Which leads me to this flight of fancy: What if, in buying Beats, Apple knows something that we do not, Apple sees something that we do not? If true, what could it be? [He goes on to offer three possibilities, in what he calls "descending order of plausibility, but ascending order of awesomeness."] See Having Faith in Apple.