I am not an audiophile, and have never tried Beats headphones so I can't speak to their quality or value. Though clearly the brand has a strong following and they are primarily a hardware company (though my understanding is that Monster handled the actually production in the beginning), which is something the companies have in common. Beats also has a fledgling streaming service though not as popular as Spotify or Pandora and Apple has the iTunes Radio service, which while still a minor player in the streaming market is a strong contender.
Most the uproar across the internet seems to be over the fact that Apple is buying a well-known company with a strong brand, which is something they traditionally haven't done. Regardless on how this turns out I think this definitely shows a change in Apples acquisition strategy going forward. Apple traditionally either rolls companies into the Apple mothership (e.g. La La) or keep them completely seperate (e.g. FileMaker) so it will be interesting to see how Apple handles the acquisition.
- With Beats Could Buy the Future of Music Rather Than Reinventing It (Taylor Hatmaker at Readwrite; 05/09/2014)
- Why Apple Is Betting Big on Beats: Hardware for Now, Streaming for Later
(Petar Kafka at Recode; 5/08/2014)
- Dr. Dre & Jimmy Lovine Expected to Become to Become Apple Executives As Part of Beats Acquisition (Mark Gurman at 9to5mac; 05/09/2014)
- Apple's Pursuit of Beats May Foretell A Shift (Ben Sisario at NY Times; 05/09/2014)