Apple and Beats sitting in a tree. After weeks of rumors—and setbacks—the deal was finally made official on Wednesday—and Apple CEO Tim Cook is pretty excited. Following up on the breaking news, Cook, Iovine and Dr. Dre all briefly sat down with Recode to talk about what motivated the deal, including music, talent and looking toward the future.
In the interview, Cook briefly reiterates that Apple has always been focused on music, and believes Beats could help carry the Cupertino company into the future of streaming. But even more than that—beyond the showy headphones—Cook said the folks involved have “very rare skills,” and “don’t grow on trees.” We got wind that Apple was doing this for the Beats talent, and his comments certainly suggest that to be the case.
“The real thing that gets us excited is that feeling that you only get so few times, are the things that we can jointly do together, that neither company could do on their own,” Cook said.
Cook went on to say that there’s synergy between Apple and Beats financially, and said there’s huge growth now that the two are working together, both in streaming and distribution of Beats’ headphones. “It’s not what Apple and Beats are doing today,” Cook said. “It’s what we believe pairing the two together can produce for the future.”
When asked why Apple would need Beats to accomplish further growth in software and hardware, Cook said Beats provides the company with a “head start.” “It’s about the future. It’s seeing around the next corner.” Sure, Apple can attempt to build its own headphones from scratch, or revamp iTunes Radio into a monthly subscription service. But Beats has already built that reputation, so the two coming together means one very powerful dream team.
“We can begin, the instant that this deal is approved, working on the future together,” Cook said. “And I think that future is better than either company could create on their own.”
When asked about what the acquisition might produce one, two, or even three years down the road, Iovine wouldn’t say. “In the record business you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it.” Seems Iovine harbors some of Apple’s disdain for its competitors. Maybe with the Beats executive now a “100-percent” Apple employee, the company will start actually doubling down on secrecy.