Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Monday, September 12, 2011
HTC buys controlling stake in Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics
HTC has today announced a strategic partnership with Beats Electronics, best known for the Beats by Dr. Dre audio solutions. That strategic partnership is actually a $300 million investment and controlling stake in the company.
Beats Electronics was created by Dr. Dre with a focus on delivering better sound through headphones and speakers and providing playback of music much closer to what the artist intended. The Beats audio solutions have also found their way into laptops through a deal with HP and the Envy line, but will now also be added to HTC’s range of devices.
By bringing Beats on board HTC will gain both a marketing and a feature advantage over other smartphones and tablets on the market. Its gadgets will be able to boast better audio output either through the included speakers or headphones, if you are using a Beats set of course, and can carry the well-known and easily recognized Beats branding.
In taking a controlling stake HTC can use the Beats technology as it wishes, but has chosen to allow the company to continue working “autonomously.” That means existing relationships with Monster Cable products and HP will be maintained, but any new relationships will come under scrutiny by HTC who will no doubt want the focus on its own products going forward.
Most of the mobile OS acquisition talk in the last two months has been about Samsung, whose misgivings about the Google-Motorola deal were thought to be sparking interest in an alternative to Android. An alternative besides its own Bada OS, which seemed somewhat unlikely. With Samsung flat out denying that it had any interest in acquiring an OS, the spotlight is now on HTC.
Chairwoman Cher Wang has told reporters in China that the company had “given thought” to buying a mobile OS. That would line HTC up with the likes of RIM, Samsung, and now the Motorola Mobility/Google tandem.
Which OSes was HTC considering? It’s safe to assume that HP’s webOS was most talked about, but Meego and Symbian could have been options as well. All three have been part of a swirling maelstrom of mobile uncertainty this year.
But HTC is in no hurry to drop a ton of cash on an operating system. They did, after all, just shell out big bucks for a controlling stake in Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics to secure exclusive access to Beats Audio tech for their phones and tablets, and Wang feels that HTC’s strength currently lies in “understanding an OS.” She likely means the OSes they already ship: Android and Windows Phone.
Wang states that HTC has the ability to differentiate on a “second or third layer,” meaning via software like HTC Sense and tech integration like Beats.
More at Focus Taiwan and TNW
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