The headphones are a natural upgrade for Apple audio players, but the deal isn't about the headphones. It's about Jimmy Iovine.
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It doesn't have anything to do with the headphones, as much hype as there is about the Beats headphones, and regardles of whether they're worth anything like what they cost, they're a tiny market compared to Apple's other hardware business.
It's about the streaming technology and the subscriber base.
Revenue from buying and downloading music, the iTunes model, is steadily dropping compared to streaming subscription revenue and Apple is buying an entry into the streaming market, based on Beats' acquisition of MOG.com and the transformation of MOG into beatsmusic.com.
That's a good one Judy.
As for Apple, let's see....
They have an estimated $150 Billion in earnings they're keeping overseas to avoid paying taxes on.
Last year they applied for and got a $17 Billion debt shelf and just two months ago applied for but only got a $12 Billion debt shelf.
(they've got to pay the shareholders somehow)
They're doing massive buybacks of their own stock to inflate the price.
Those bonds, which cost a lot but have low yields (don't forget we've been in a zero lower bound for some years now) won't sell for three years to satisfy those debt shelves which have loaded up the company with, what?
$29 Billion worth of debt. (Somewhere, Mitt Romney is wishing he was in on this one).
Let's hope Apples new lineup (aside from the Beats deal) which will be announced soon, pays off in more sales. If not, who's to say what will happen in 2-3 years when that debt comes due? Cook, Dre and Iovine will be off the hook and the company will own that debt. Any deals to bring manufacturing back home, stateside, may be sidelined as a result.
If only they paid their taxes like the rest of us do, then I'd look up to them and not question their motives.
All the best,