Beats by Apple

It is not a surprise to me that this $3 billion deal is all about Beats Music. Others seem to agree. The way I see it, Apple CEO Tim Cook is trying to replace some of Steve Jobs’ skills by bringing in the best in business. Angela Ahrendts has the chops to take Apple retail into a new territory. Jimmy Iovine will be running Apple’s content side of the house. Jony Ive is still a powerhouse in design. This is a good approach.

Some say, Apple paid about 2x revenues for Beats from its overseas stash of cash, so it isn’t that expensive a deal. It also allows them to extend into non-Apple markets. That said, despite all the hoopla, Apple’s music business doesn’t make them as much money. And the problems for Apple are elsewhere.

Apple’s Achilles heel is its inability to come to terms with a world where, data, cloud and services define the experience, not just great hardware. When it comes to the Internet and Internet-services, they are and will continue to be reactive. Culturally they don’t grok the importance of that problem, they don’t have anyone on the senior management team who is data-native to understand the problem, so they don’t know how to solve that problem.

So, they will continue to have a problem.  Deals like Beats won’t be the last such deal. As a friend of mine once told me, that for most of us — time buys us money, for those who are rich, money buys time. Apple’s just buying time!

A letter from Om

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