Apple looks set to buy Beats Audio in a multi–billion dollar deal. Reports overnight suggest the Cupertino company will seal a $3.2 billion (£1.89 billion) takeover next week.
The surprising move would not only give Apple a bestselling headphone brand. It would also furnish it with the Beats music streaming offering - a service that Tim Cook and co have so far struggled to get off the ground.
With Spotify, Rdio and Google all offering streaming access to millions of tracks, this is an area in which Apple cannot afford to miss out.
iTunes downloads appear to be sliding, as consumers switch to ad–supported and paid for streams. Apple’s iTunes Radio platform, meanwhile, has failed to capture the imagination.
Last month, Tim Cook described himself as being ‘on the prowl’ for companies to acquire. This move has certainly come out of left field, although while some tech watchers have disparaged Beats’ headphones as not up to scratch, their undoubted global appeal will have impressed Apple’s board.
If this deal is finalised, expect to hear more about an Apple streaming service, and how it dovetails with iOS 8 and future Apple kit, at next month’s WWDC event.