As others have indicated, the only conceivable reason for this acquisition that I can see would entail content and streaming rights, and perhaps some technology tied to creating curated playlists. By all accounts, the Beats radio service is a serious contender, and the curation seems better dialed into how listeners mix and match artists and genres. Some of the mergers and partnerships out there that on the surface do not make much sense, like the Dish/Blockbuster merger, will also include extensive content rights that the media misses.
Some of the oft-noted criticisms of iTunes Radio are that it might not create relevant playlists, it repeats a lot of songs, and might mismatch genres. With the Beats streaming service, they seem to have gotten a lot of things right from the outset, and Apple might be trying to tap into that. But, how would this tie into iTunes and the iOS ecosystem, given that many of the subscribers use Beats streaming on other platforms? Also, $3 billion is quite steep for what Beats offers.
I just can't see Apple though acquiring Beats for their headphone and Bluetooth speaker lines. While they are well-marketed and sell well with high margins, they also do not have a good reputation for performance and value. Also, Beats has diluted the brand by licensing it to HTC smartphones and HP PCs. Stuff like this would seem to cheapen Apple's brand image. Also, I thought that Beats Audio was a joint venture with Monster Cable (another company known for peddling high priced products with marginal quality) -- where are they in the discussion?
For my listenings, the Beats headphones are a mess. I much prefer the Grados, which sound great and are handmade in Brooklyn.
Edited by Woochifer - 5/8/14 at 6:34pm