European Commission to rule on Apple's Beats acquisition by July 30

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2014
Apple will know whether European antitrust authorities will clear its $3 billion deal for headphone maker Beats by the end of next month, paving the way for the acquisition to close before the end of Apple's 2014 fiscal year.


Photo via Paul Stamatiou.


The deadline announcement came from the European Commission earlier Wednesday, according to Reuters. Though there is no word on what the Commission's decision will be -- the body could demand concessions if it views the agreement as anticompetitive --?a challenge is unlikely.

It is still unknown which agency will review the sale in the U.S. Federal law mandates that Apple report the deal to both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice's antitrust division, but the two agencies traditionally divvy up investigations between themselves.

Despite Beats's dominant position in the headphone market, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple expects a swift confirmation from antitrust regulators around the world. Apple chief Tim Cook has said that he believes Beats will add to Apple's revenues beginning in his company's fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in September.

Apple announced the Beats deal late last month, paying some $2.5 billion for the premium headphone business and another $500 million for the nascent Beats Music streaming service. Beats cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will also come on board as Apple executives, reporting to marketing chief Phil Schiller and services guru Eddy Cue.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,172member
    Don't see why/how approval of this could remotely be an issue.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post



    Don't see why/how approval of this could remotely be an issue.

     

    It's Europe, they'll squash this deal because Timmy and Jimmy rhyme and the names look too much the same.

  • Reply 3 of 48
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,227member
    Lol
  • Reply 4 of 48
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    Apple and Bears are American companies, right? How does the EU commission have any jurisdiction in the matter?

    Just for the sake of argument: what happens if they say "no" and Apple acquires Beats anyway?
  • Reply 5 of 48
    taniwhataniwha Posts: 347member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iaeen View Post



    Apple and Bears are American companies, right? How does the EU commission have any jurisdiction in the matter?



    Just for the sake of argument: what happens if they say "no" and Apple acquires Beats anyway?

    The EU has jurisdiction over what is traded in the EU. But it hardly seems to be an issue .. the anti-trust approval is a formality, but since beats in the EU has nothing approaching market domination in the Headphones market, its not going to be an issue. Regarding other Beats activities there may be some issues, but there will be no show-stoppers.

     

    Turning to the other question: What happens if Apple goes ahead despite a veto ... then they go out of business in the EU. I don't think any sane company will try to defy the EU in anti-trust issues. They may dispute the decision in front of the EU court of justice and could conceivably have some success in that, but defying an order would be corporate suicide and apple is simply not that dumb. The stakes would be really high. Antitrust and anticompetitive activity is serious in the EU (also in the US, but on that side of the atlantic there's more lobbyism and bought courts and politicians).

     

    So in all there doesn't really seem to be any risk.

  • Reply 6 of 48
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    Yeah, this surprised me. It's a story being picked up by all outlets.

    Is this a issue for every / any company that Apple buys (and certainly applying to all other corporations as well)?

     

    Maybe this is about the Beats Streaming service lined up with Apple's iTunes Radio (?) I guess I would understand that.

  • Reply 7 of 48
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    "Premium"?
    Overpriced junk.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,579member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post



    "Premium"?

    Overpriced junk.

    Maybe, but what headphones that you would use are not overpriced and/or junk?

     

    While I don't use Beats headphones because I personally don't like the way they sound, they seem to be decently designed and constructed.   I do like the sound of my relatively low-cost Sennheisers, but the cables on these never last more than a year or two and I find them impossible to re-solder onto a new plug because there are so few strands of copper.  

  • Reply 9 of 48
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,530member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

     

    Yeah, this surprised me. It's a story being picked up by all outlets.


    European Commission review of large mergers is standard practice. It is unsurprising to see this headline here, and it is particularly unsurprising to see media outlets picking up on a headline related to Apple. News articles/rumor mongering about Apple generates page views.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

    Is this a issue for every / any company that Apple buys (and certainly applying to all other corporations as well)?


    No, Apple typically acquires smaller, more obscure companies.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

    Maybe this is about the Beats Streaming service lined up with Apple's iTunes Radio (?) I guess I would understand that.


    Neither service are dominant players. No risk of anti-competitive practices.

     

    But the review is the entire business of both companies, not just of specific business units. Clearly there are some things that overlap (streaming audio, earphone hardware design and sales), but there are components that are also related (digital music sales, headphone design and sales), and the merger is reviewed as a whole entity and how it relates to various businesses and competition, not just at a micro level like streaming music services.

  • Reply 10 of 48
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,530member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

     

    Maybe, but what headphones that you would use are not overpriced and/or junk?


    For headphones: Grado Labs, AKG.

     

    For earphones: RHA, NuForce.

  • Reply 11 of 48
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,172member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     

    For headphones: Grado Labs, AKG.


    I realize that it's in the eyes of the beholder, but both are fugly beyond belief.

     

    Moreover, if you think the way Beats sounds is a problem, change the (what is pretty crappy anyway in iOS devices) equalization setting. With the typical quality of AAC or MP3 files that most of us listen to and the environment in which we often do so (e.g., cars or places with lots of ambient noise), you really can't tell the difference between a high- and medium-quality headphone. (Unless one is an aural snob.)

  • Reply 12 of 48
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,530member

    I agree with the comment on aesthetics about Grado headphones, but they do sound great. The SR-80s are a bargain.

     

    AKG make a wide range of designs, some look quite very urban like Beats By Dre, others look more like studio monitors.

     

    If the headphones have good audio performance, you shouldn't be diddling with equalization controls that much. I use my SR-80s at home listening to lossless rips of classical music with no equalization. My AKGs are the folding type and are the ones I take on the road, but again, I don't diddle with the EQ settings.

     

    The point is that headphones and earphones with good audio performance can be found at prices well below what Beats By Dre is commanding.

  • Reply 13 of 48
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    I realize that it's in the eyes of the beholder, but both are fugly beyond belief.

     

    Moreover, if you think the way Beats sounds is a problem, change the (what is pretty crappy anyway in iOS devices) equalization setting. With the typical quality of AAC or MP3 files that most of us listen to and the environment in which we often do so (e.g., cars or places with lots of ambient noise), you really can't tell the difference between a high- and medium-quality headphone. (Unless one is an aural snob.)


     

    Maybe I'm a big aural or audio snob, but EQing is a big no, no.

     

    The sound has to be good without any processing added to it at all.

  • Reply 14 of 48
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

    I do like the sound of my relatively low-cost Sennheisers, but the cables on these never last more than a year or two and I find them impossible to re-solder onto a new plug because there are so few strands of copper.  

     

    A lot of "pro" headphones have detachable cables, so it's no big deal to replace them, should anything happen.

     

    I recently bought a cheap pair of headphones to travel with (ath-m50x), and even that came with 3 detachable cables included in the box.

  • Reply 15 of 48
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,172member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

     

    Maybe I'm a big aural or audio snob, but EQing is a big no, no.

     

    The sound has to be good without any processing added to it at all.


    I don't get it: you've lost tons of data anyway in the process of getting to a typical AAC file, and all that is left behind is a fraction of bits and bytes compared to original lossless version. You're simply manipulating those that are left behind to get a sound that most appeals to you.

     

    What's wrong with that? How's it different from increasing the font size or changing the brightness setting for easier viewing? Or adding salt and pepper for a better taste? Wearing fabrics that are not rough on your skin? Putting on some cologne so that you smell better?

     

    On the topic of "EQing being a bid no no," do you leave the bass/midrange/treble settings on your stereo at neutral, regardless of your speakers and regardless of whether you're listening to jazz or classical or rock? If you change any one of those, aren't you "EQing"?

  • Reply 16 of 48
    Talk about sloppy reporting! Reuters announced July 30, 2014 not June 30, 2014. Come on AI, pull it together!!
  • Reply 17 of 48
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    I don't get it: you've lost tons of data anyway in the process of getting to a typical AAC file, and all that is left behind is a fraction of bits and bytes compared to original lossless version. You're simply manipulating those that are left behind to get a sound that most appeals to you.

     

    What's wrong with that? How's it different from increasing the font size or changing the brightness setting for easier viewing? Or adding salt and pepper for a better taste? Wearing fabrics that are not rough on your skin? Putting on some cologne so that you smell better?

     

    On the topic of "EQing being a bid no no," do you leave the bass/midrange/treble settings on your stereo at neutral, regardless of your speakers and regardless of whether you're listening to jazz or classical or rock? If you change any one of those, aren't you "EQing"?


     

    It's just a matter of individual preference I suppose.

     

    Listening to things neutral allows me to properly judge whatever it is I am listening to. 

     

    And yes, I don't touch any bass/midrange/treble settings on a stereo or speakers either. Of course, my preferences might be different than the average person, since I am involved in audio & music creation, and I need to be able to judge everything from a fairly neutral perspective. I do plenty of EQing and plenty of other processing while creating, but not after the fact.

  • Reply 18 of 48
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    What's wrong with that? How's it different from increasing the font size or changing the brightness setting for easier viewing? Or adding salt and pepper for a better taste? Wearing fabrics that are not rough on your skin? Putting on some cologne so that you smell better?

    Listening to music is all about enjoying the sound.
    1. Reading text isn't about enjoying the font.
    2. I don't add salt or pepper when I'm eating food cooked by a world class chef (or even a half decent one).

    Not saying I disagree with you; I just think the analogies are weak (the second one in particular, I think, demonstrates Apple]['s point). I do find it annoying when, reading headphone reviews, people complain that the bass on high quality headphones sucks because it isn't artificially exaggerated.

    Edit: formatting.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,666member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    I don't get it: you've lost tons of data anyway in the process of getting to a typical AAC file, and all that is left behind is a fraction of bits and bytes compared to original lossless version. You're simply manipulating those that are left behind to get a sound that most appeals to you.

     

    What's wrong with that? How's it different from increasing the font size or changing the brightness setting for easier viewing? Or adding salt and pepper for a better taste? Wearing fabrics that are not rough on your skin? Putting on some cologne so that you smell better?

     

    On the topic of "EQing being a bid no no," do you leave the bass/midrange/treble settings on your stereo at neutral, regardless of your speakers and regardless of whether you're listening to jazz or classical or rock? If you change any one of those, aren't you "EQing"?


    Many, if not most (?) high end amplifiers come without eq settings, don't they? The point, as I understand it, is for the system to recreate the recorded sound most accurately. Some of your examples are not really representative, anyway. I think equalizing the sound is more like having the ability to change the colour of the lighting in a room in order to make your art look 'better'. Ideally the lighting should recreate natural light in order to see the art as intended by the artist. Not that I am an audio snob and people can listen to sounds any way they like for my money. Personally I never touch the eq controls though in the future I might. I know that people's hearing change as they get older. 

  • Reply 20 of 48
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

     

    Many, if not most (?) high end amplifiers come without eq settings, don't they? The point, as I understand it, is for the system to recreate the recorded sound most accurately. Some of your examples are not really representative, anyway. I think equalizing the sound is more like having the ability to change the colour of the lighting in a room in order to make your art look 'better'. Ideally the lighting should recreate natural light in order to see the art as intended by the artist. Not that I am an audio snob and people can listen to sounds any way they like for my money. Personally I never touch the eq controls though in the future I might. I know that people's hearing change as they get older. 


     

    I'm not a graphics artist, but I imagine that it's similar to a photographer or graphics artist who has a monitor that is calibrated 100% accurately.

     

    If they look at a picture on their calibrated monitor, they'll instantly know if the red color is correct or off. They need to have accurate reproduction.

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