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Beats parts ways with design firm after Apple acquisition

post #1 of 46
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Ammunition, the design studio responsible for Beats Electronics' iconic hardware styling, announced on Wednesday that it will transition away from the company in the coming months as new owner Apple takes over.


Ammunition founder Robert Brunner. | Source: Ammunition Group


In a post to Ammunition's official blog, the firm's founder and ex-Apple design chief Robert Brunner said he is "thrilled" about Apple's $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics and Beats Music.

Brunner, who was first introduced to the Beats project while working at his former company Pentagram, was one of the first people with Apple ties to meet with co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. The designer has been an integral part of Beats since 2006, styling the company's distinctive headphones and subsequent audio products like the Beats Pill portable speaker.

From Brunner's statement:

Over the next few months, the design for Beats will transition away from Ammunition. It's tough to step down as Chief Designer for a brand I take so much pride in, but it certainly makes it easier knowing we are handing the reigns [sic] over to one of the world's most successful design teams.



In related news, Jibe Audio founder Steven Lamar is suing Beats, as well as Brunner and Pentagram, for breach of contract, breach of good faith and denial of contract. Lamar is also targeting Brunner and Ammunition for over alleged interference with standing contracts.
post #2 of 46
Ive just takes everything over from this poor guy, doesn't he?
post #3 of 46

Looks like Ammunition took the bullet for Beats.

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post #4 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Looks like Ammunition took the bullet for Beats.
Yep.
post #5 of 46

A smart man who still maintains a fondness and sincerity towards Apple (from what I read in Kahneys book on Jony).

post #6 of 46

"Over the next few months, the design for Beats will transition away from Ammunition."

Tim Cook is all like, "Wait, wait, I thought we bought ALL the smart people for three bills!!!"

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post #7 of 46
"Over the next few months, the design for Beats will transition away from Ammunition."

Why does business language have to be such bullshit? Transition away? Hasta la vista, Ammo.

And Ammunition's chief designer is 'thrilled' — yet 'it's tough to step down.' It's hard to be honest.
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post #8 of 46
I think they call that "mixed feelings"
post #9 of 46
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Originally Posted by greffiks View Post

I think they call that "mixed feelings"

I call it being economical with the truth.
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post #10 of 46
Jessica Lessin questioning Beats hardware reporting to Schiller. Says it shows a lack of leadership on product i.e. who owns product at Apple? Good question.
post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

I call it being economical with the truth.

I call it good business. If he was all sore about it people would think twice before working with him.

(here comes samscum)
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cali View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

I call it being economical with the truth.

I call it good business. If he was all sore about it people would think twice before working with him.

(here comes samscum)

Of course. He has to put on a brave face. I just think that using the word 'thrilled' doesn't convey a very honest reaction. Something along the lines of 'sad to say goodbye to my baby but delighted that Apple are the benefactors' would be a bit more truthful to my mind. Yes, he effectively said that, but it's about the tone.

Edit: I haven't even seen the whole statement, so the context might be quite different. Just going on the AI post here.
Edited by Benjamin Frost - 5/28/14 at 8:51pm
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post #13 of 46

These are real people, with real jobs and real passion. So it's never nice to hear about these stories, especially knowing how much that design team would have put into a project like Beats. 

 

That said, it's great news in the fact that Apple will have their own vision on whatever the future of Beats holds -- not the cheap, easily dated look of Beats current products. 

post #14 of 46

I'm surprised to hear that the Beats designer is ex-Apple. The Beats style seems so un-Apple like...

 

If he was given the task to make something ostentatious, he succeeded. This would seem to be a difficult task, coming from the Apple design aesthetic. Designing for others is often a balancing act, considering one's own tastes and the wishes of the client/end-user.

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post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Of course. He has to put on a brave face. I just think that using the word 'thrilled' doesn't convey a very honest reaction. Something along the lines of 'sad to say goodbye to my baby but delighted that Apple are the benefactors' would be a bit more truthful to my mind. Yes, he effectively said that, but it's about the tone.

Edit: I haven't even seen the whole statement, so the context might be quite different. Just going on the AI post here.

It doesn't see any double talk or lies in the comment. Ammunition is a big part of Beats success and now we know their name. Their efforts over the last 8-9 years which has lead to Apple's largest acquisition by about 8x speaks well for Ammunition and I'm sure they have and will continue to get work because of the success of Beats which they are a part of.

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post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Of course. He has to put on a brave face. I just think that using the word 'thrilled' doesn't convey a very honest reaction. Something along the lines of 'sad to say goodbye to my baby but delighted that Apple are the benefactors' would be a bit more truthful to my mind. Yes, he effectively said that, but it's about the tone.

Edit: I haven't even seen the whole statement, so the context might be quite different. Just going on the AI post here.

It doesn't see any double talk or lies in the comment. Ammunition is a big part of Beats success and now we know their name. Their efforts over the last 8-9 years which has lead to Apple's largest acquisition by about 8x speaks well for Ammunition and I'm sure they have and will continue to get work because of the success of Beats which they are a part of.

But they're not buying his design talents...
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post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

But they're not buying his design talents...

So what? He didn't say he was thrilled for being bought by Apple (which would be a lie) or thrilled for not being bought by Apple (which would sound like sour grapes).

Aren't you thrilled when your child accomplishes something even though it's not your accomplishment? Unless you're a sociopath you are thrilled because you're part of what led to that accomplishment. He designed products that helped Beats be the leading vendor in premium headphones. He's part of the reason Apple wanted to buy Beats.

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post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundaboutNow View Post

I'm surprised to hear that the Beats designer is ex-Apple. The Beats style seems so un-Apple like...

If he was given the task to make something ostentatious, he succeeded. This would seem to be a difficult task, coming from the Apple design aesthetic. Designing for others is often a balancing act, considering one's own tastes and the wishes of the client/end-user.

These don't look ostentatious to me. I think these look very sharp.

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post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

But they're not buying his design talents...

So what? He didn't say he was thrilled for being bought by Apple (which would be a lie) or thrilled for not being bought by Apple (which would sound like sour grapes).

Aren't you thrilled when your child accomplishes something even though it's not your accomplishment? Unless you're a sociopath you are thrilled because you're part of what led to that accomplishment. He designed products that helped Beats be the leading vendor in premium headphones. He's part of the reason Apple wanted to buy Beats.

Are you blind? If he's part of the reason, then why aren't they buying his services?
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post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Are you blind? If he's part of the reason, then why aren't they buying his services?

For the same reasons that the company your children work for are not going to then also hire you despite you being part of their growth and development that made them a viable candidate for their new employer. Or are you not proud of the accomplishments of others you were an integral part of helping make successful?
Edited by SolipsismX - 5/28/14 at 10:10pm

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post #21 of 46
Now I'm heating this deal even more after Iovine insulted Apple on stage tonight. He basically said Apple makes headphones just to make sure the sound is working on the phones. That's rich coming from someone who makes what many people consider to be overpriced plastic crap. If he and Dre try to interfere in future Apple designs I hope Ive tells them to **** off. #asshole
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

"Over the next few months, the design for Beats will transition away from Ammunition."

Why does business language have to be such bullshit? Transition away? Hasta la vista, Ammo.

And Ammunition's chief designer is 'thrilled' — yet 'it's tough to step down.' It's hard to be honest.

Hard for you, maybe - he's probably just better than that, and has other things on his plate.

post #23 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Now I'm heating this deal even more after Iovine insulted Apple on stage tonight. He basically said Apple makes headphones just to make sure the sound is working on the phones. That's rich coming from someone who makes what many people consider to be overpriced plastic crap. If he and Dre try to interfere in future Apple designs I hope Ive tells them to **** off. #asshole

It was not in good form to insult the company you work for but it is true.

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post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post


Of course. He has to put on a brave face. I just think that using the word 'thrilled' doesn't convey a very honest reaction. Something along the lines of 'sad to say goodbye to my baby but delighted that Apple are the benefactors' would be a bit more truthful to my mind. Yes, he effectively said that, but it's about the tone.

Edit: I haven't even seen the whole statement, so the context might be quite different. Just going on the AI post here.

Wow - you're reading all that into a paragraph on his blog. "It's about his tone", "he's not being truthful", etc. Wow again.

 

I find his statement totally believable.

post #25 of 46

The firm is located in San Francisco right on the bay Hmm....

post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post
 

Hard for you, maybe - he's probably just better than that, and has other things on his plate.


Probably other things like multi-billion dollar offers from Google and Samsung, with Mark Zuckerberg dancing around waving more money than he knows how to handle.

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post #27 of 46
Mr Robert Brunner is very professional about this.
He must be an exceptional person.
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

For the same reasons that the company your children work for are not going to then also hire you despite you being part of their growth and development that made them a viable candidate for their new employer. Or are you not proud of the accomplishments of others you were an integral part of helping make successful?

You don't hire a parent for completely other reasons (for example because he is retired or has another occupation or is to old).
On the other hand, hiring someone who is part of a successful venture your buying is entirely logical.
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Are you blind? If he's part of the reason, then why aren't they buying his services?

For the same reasons that the company your children work for are not going to then also hire you despite you being part of their growth and development that made them a viable candidate for their new employer. Or are you not proud of the accomplishments of others you were an integral part of helping make successful?

You're making a bizarre analogy. The fact is, if Apple loved the design of Beats headphones, they could have hired him. They chose not to, which suggests they think they can do a better job.
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post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

You're making a bizarre analogy. The fact is, if Apple loved the design of Beats headphones, they could have hired him. They chose not to, which suggests they think they can do a better job.
Brunner runs his own design consultancy. I doubt he wants to go back to Apple working for the guy he hired at Apple. I don't think Apple brining design in house is a reflection on Brunner's work. I'm sure Apple would be killing the Beats brand if it wasn't so popular right now.
post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by knowitall View Post

You don't hire a parent for completely other reasons (for example because he is retired or has another occupation or is to old). On the other hand, hiring someone who is part of a successful venture your buying is entirely logical.

You know that parents aren't older versions of their kids, right? The skills I possess my parents are so far outside my parents scope of knowledge that they can't even understand the job titles for the jobs I've had, and yet my success is their success because they raised me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

You're making a bizarre analogy. The fact is, if Apple loved the design of Beats headphones, they could have hired him. They chose not to, which suggests they think they can do a better job.

I'm making a perfectly reasonable analogy of why is he proud of what he helped create for Beats So what if Apple thinks they can do better, that doesn't mean they think he did a bad job, but what Apple thinks is irrelevant to this discussion where you believe that those that work at Ammunition shouldn't feel good about what they did to help make Beats a success.

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post #32 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by knowitall View Post

You don't hire a parent for completely other reasons (for example because he is retired or has another occupation or is to old). On the other hand, hiring someone who is part of a successful venture your buying is entirely logical.

You know that parents aren't older versions of their kids, right? The skills I possess my parents are so far outside my parents scope of knowledge that they can't even understand the job titles for the jobs I've had, and yet my success is their success because they raised me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

You're making a bizarre analogy. The fact is, if Apple loved the design of Beats headphones, they could have hired him. They chose not to, which suggests they think they can do a better job.

I'm making a perfectly reasonable analogy of why is he proud of what he helped create for Beats So what if Apple thinks they can do better, that doesn't mean they think he did a bad job, but what Apple thinks is irrelevant to this discussion where you believe that those that work at Ammunition shouldn't feel good about what they did to help make Beats a success.

Now you're just putting words in my mouth.

You're getting all out of joint because you think I'm not giving the Beats designer credit. I'm looking at this with the cold eye of business. If the design of the headphones was so crucial to Apple, they would have tried to keep his expertise. Clearly it isn't. They are spending $0 on Beats design. And for good reason. You're never going to see everyone walking around with huge headphones; it's completely un-Apple.

No doubt Apple saw a compelling reason to buy Beats, the fruits of which we are yet to see. The one aspect that has been verified is the design—Apple are not interested in that part of Beats.
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post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Now you're just putting words in my mouth.

You're getting all out of joint because you think I'm not giving the Beats designer credit. I'm looking at this with the cold eye of business. If the design of the headphones was so crucial to Apple, they would have tried to keep his expertise. Clearly it isn't. They are spending $0 on Beats design. And for good reason. You're never going to see everyone walking around with huge headphones; it's completely un-Apple.

No doubt Apple saw a compelling reason to buy Beats, the fruits of which we are yet to see. The one aspect that has been verified is the design—Apple are not interested in that part of Beats.

:sigh: The design of Beats was an integral part of Beats success but that doesn't mean Apple needs Ammunition going forward. Look at it as a baton passing from one design house to another. That neither detracts from Beats success nor Ammunition being a part of that success. Apple bought Beats, but Ammunition is a separate entity. Why you oddly believe that Brunner can't be happy for the deal is ridiculous. Why you believe that if Apple thinks they can do a better job than Ammunition it means they think Brunner doesn't have talent or that Brunner shouldn't be happy that he helped put Beats on top of the headphone market is also ridiculous.


PS: I've already posted some Beats designs in this thread. What is wrong with them? I think they are stylish.

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post #34 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by quamb View Post

These are real people, with real jobs and real passion. So it's never nice to hear about these stories, especially knowing how much that design team would have put into a project like Beats. 

That said, it's great news in the fact that Apple will have their own vision on whatever the future of Beats holds -- not the cheap, easily dated look of Beats current products. 

And therein lies the mismatch of company values and style. Beats is no different from overpriced flashy shoes that used to make headlines. You start making them "better" or more "Apple" and you lose the customer. They are completely retrograde.

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post #35 of 46

I thought Monster designed the headphones...or were they more responsible for the technical side?

post #36 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlmondRoca View Post

I thought Monster designed the headphones...or were they more responsible for the technical side?

"From 2008 through 2012, Monster Cable served as the manufacturer for all Beats products; the company's manufacturing operations have since been taken in-house. […] Monster Cable was granted exclusive rights under a 5-year contract to manufacture and develop the first Beats-branded products."1

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post #37 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlmondRoca View Post

I thought Monster designed the headphones...or were they more responsible for the technical side?

Monster manufactured them. Like how Apple designs their products and then Foxconn etc manufactures them.
post #38 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Now you're just putting words in my mouth.

You're getting all out of joint because you think I'm not giving the Beats designer credit. I'm looking at this with the cold eye of business. If the design of the headphones was so crucial to Apple, they would have tried to keep his expertise. Clearly it isn't. They are spending $0 on Beats design. And for good reason. You're never going to see everyone walking around with huge headphones; it's completely un-Apple.

No doubt Apple saw a compelling reason to buy Beats, the fruits of which we are yet to see. The one aspect that has been verified is the design—Apple are not interested in that part of Beats.

:sigh: The design of Beats was an integral part of Beats success but that doesn't mean Apple needs Ammunition going forward. Look at it as a baton passing from one design house to another. That neither detracts from Beats success nor Ammunition being a part of that success. Apple bought Beats, but Ammunition is a separate entity. Why you oddly believe that Brunner can't be happy for the deal is ridiculous. Why you believe that if Apple thinks they can do a better job than Ammunition it means they think Brunner doesn't have talent or that Brunner shouldn't be happy that he helped put Beats on top of the headphone market is also ridiculous.


PS: I've already posted some Beats designs in this thread. What is wrong with them? I think they are stylish.

I would be disappointed if I were Brunner.

Imagine if Samsung decided to buy Apple, but gave Ive his P45? People would conclude that Samsung weren't interested in Ive's design skills. It tickles me to think of such a scenario! Would Ive be 'thrilled'? Possibly not.
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post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

I would be disappointed if I were Brunner.

Imagine if Samsung decided to buy Apple, but gave Ive his P45? People would conclude that Samsung weren't interested in Ive's design skills. It tickles me to think of such a scenario! Would Ive be 'thrilled'? Possibly not.

JONY IVE IS AN EMPLOYEE OF APPLE! BRUNNER IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF BEATS!

Regardless, Ive should be proud of what he's created at Apple even when they do finally have another head of design. In no way will that mean Ive's contributions were worthless and that he shouldn't be proud of what he's contributed to the company's success. I would be happy if I were either Ive or Brunner

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post #40 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


These don't look ostentatious to me. I think these look very sharp.

 

 

How 'bout that...

 

I agree, those look nice. I was obviously not familiar with the entire product line.

 

But you have to admit, a lot of other Beats product design is visually "loud" (as well as aurally ;)).

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