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Yes, it’s a clean sweep for the Forbes “contributor” network this week! Three contributors, and they’re all here to tell us what a terrible idea it is for Apple to acquire Beats. We don’t know if the company really is acquiring Beats, but rest assured that if it is, Forbes has you covered for reasons why it’s executive malpractice.

Failing sideways

Formerly of Business Insider, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry now writes for the Forbes contributor network.

Is that a lateral move? Down? Diagonal? Crosswise? It’s hard to tell.

“There’s Only One Good Idea In The Apple-Beats Deal” (no link, but tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody).

Just one! And calling this particular idea “good” is a bit of a stretch.

Let’s get it out of the way first …

I am literally covered in deer ticks right now.

… if the reports Apple are in talks to buy Beats headphones are true, it’s insane, and it probably casts a pall on all of Tim Cook’s leadership.

You can take the boy out of Business Insider and put him into the Forbes “contributor” network, but you can’t make him stop writing dumb and bombastic things about Apple.

That’s why he wrote for both publications. It’s a tautology, really.

Beats’ main asset is it’s [sic] brand. It’s got a great brand, and it’s a great business success. That’s how it can sell mediocre headphones and make fat margins. Again, more power to them. Great. But Apple is a one-brand company. Its strength is its brand.

Brand, great. Brands, not great. Got it. (?)

Taking on a new, separate brand makes absolutely no sense. And if Apple wants to fold Beats into its brand, why buy them in the first place? Why not just make its own headphones.

Why does anyone do anything when we’re all just going to die in the end?!

[table flip]

Some people say the Beats deal is not about headphones, it’s about Beats’ streaming service and technology. But it makes no sense whatsoever either.

Nothing makes any sense anymore! Like pudding! What does it do?! Nothing! It just sits there in that bowl, mocking me!

Is it about record label deals? … Is it about the technology?

Is it about cats? Lasers? Laser cats?! WHAT IS IT ABOUT?!

There is, however, one good idea in the Apple-Beats deal: and that’s making big acquisitions [emphasis the author’s].

Pundits love a big splash! Particularly a meaningless and stupid one that you have to roll back in two years. Then you get to write about it twice!

Nest, for example, really should have gone to Apple …

No! No, no, no, no, no! Nest’s strength was design and Apple already has design coming out of orifices that design should really not come out of and it should probably see a doctor about that but will it listen? Nooooooo …

The technology landscape changes extremely fast, let’s face it Tim Cook is not the visionary that Steve Jobs was, and Apple has $100 billion in cash that it just doesn’t know what to do. It should make very big acquisitions.

Just not Beats.

Pundits, 2013: Acquire something, Apple! Anything!

Pundits, 2014: No, not that!

All the “buts”

Gene Marks says that not only is this acquisition out of order, but you’re out of order! The whole system is out of order!

“Breaking News: Apple’s CEO Had A Tuna Fish Sandwich For Lunch Yesterday” (tip o’ the antlers to Tay Bass).

Mmm, Cook doesn’t seem much like a tuna fish kind of guy. More like brisket.

This is really not such a big deal. Yes, it would be Apple’s largest acquisition ever.

Uh … so, by definition, a literal “big deal.” But go on.

But companies like Apple do acquisitions all the time.

Are purchases of anything really newsworthy? What is “news”?

Sure, $3.2 billion is a lot money.

Ugh, jeez, make up your mind.

But this doesn’t come anywhere near the ten biggest acquisitions ever …

If it doesn’t come near the ten biggest acquisitions ever, then why are we even talking about it?!

But it’s 2014 and companies, particularly giant tech companies, have a lot of money.

How many “buts” can one put into an article? Is it possible to write an article using nothing but buts?

Apple has more than $151 billion in cash alone on its balance sheet. So a mere $3 billion is a rounding error.

No, a rounding error would be in the millions, not the billions. How does math work, anyway?

Yes, it’s the biggest move Tim Cook has made so far.

Buuuuuuuut …

But …

See? Totally called that.

… snapping up a little maker of headphones makes zero impact on the company’s profit and has little to do with their overall business model.

Breaking News: Forbes Contributor Does Not Understand Something.

Why did they do it? What does it mean?

And who is the mysterious stranger with the eyepatch and the pet iguana?!

The more important question to ask is: why do we care so much?

It’s probably Apple’s fault.

There was once a time when Apple was changing the world, introducing new and exciting products that captured our imaginations.

Every. Five. Minutes.

At least that’s how pundits remember it. In reality, it was an average of every 4.5 years.

But since Tim Cook has taken over, it seems like the most innovative thing the company has done is release upgrades to the iPhone.

Again, the Mac Pro does not exist.

Where’s that smartwatch you keep talking about?

Apple has not, in fact, talked about a smartwatch.

Why am I cursing complete strangers because they beat me to a plug in the airport and I’ve only got 5% battery life left?

If only you could buy an Apple laptop with a monstrous amount of battery life! Or stop cursing at complete strangers!

Why is Google leading the world in wearables …

More like “leading the world in concept videos and getting punched in the face for wearing its products.”

… and designing driverless cars?

Really, why is it designing driverless cars?

How come NetFlix [sic] all of a sudden is making better shows than HBO?

Are we just free associating now? “Why are cupcakes so darn tasty? Why are there fish? Why does a man in a track suit and smoking Tiparillos appear in all of my family photos?”

Why is Samsung developing foldable smartphones?

Oh! The Macalope knows this one: because it has no idea what consumers want unless Apple makes something first, so it just randomly churns out meaningless features. That’s why.

Why is Richard Branson selling tickets to outer space?

Why is a man in Northampton, UK, dressing up like a creepy clown and just standing around to scare people? Come on, Apple! Think outside the box!

Even Microsoft is making news with its new CEO who promises great applications across all devices.

That’s almost like really doing something!

And now there’s big news from Cupertino …

Which is not “news” in the sense that it’s actually happened.

Apple buys a maker of headphones. Really, company-formerly-run-by-Steve Jobs? That’s all you got? Headphones?

What would we do without Forbes contributors to tell us about Steve Jobs’s legacy?

The Macalope doesn’t know, but he’d like to find out.

Asked and mis-answered

Our third and final contestant on “Who publishes this stuff? Oh, that’s right, Forbes” is “startup specialist” (very exciting) Jonathan Brill who asks:

“Was Apple Buying Beats A Mistake?”

You’ll never guess what he thinks the answer is.

Apple is the most successful consumer electronics company in history. As close as any company in that space has come to complete vertical integration. And aside from being cool, it makes the best products you could buy in every category it operates in.

Except for headphones. And cloud services.

They just bought Beats …

Did they? It’s been over a week since this story broke and we don’t have confirmation of that, but go ahead and report it like it’s totes for sure.

So why did Apple buy them? I can think of any number of reasons – one of which is that software is dead …

Other things that pundits have proclaimed as dead that are not, in fact, dead include hardware and Abe Vigoda.

Two years ago, you were likely to find 20% of an Apple store covered with software. Now? “iPod Accessories” …

Yes, software is certainly dead, because it isn’t sold on retail shelves anymore. The action’s all in “iPod accessories,” like iPod socks and such.

Apple needed another play after Nest went to Google, and they’re going to need great products with brand equity to compete with Google’s platform in this space. But I don’t think Beats is it.

Let’s get this straight: You don’t think that headphones and streaming music competes with home automation.

That right there is exactly the kind of insight you will get from the Forbes contributor network, ladies and gentlemen.

Beats never had the kind of horses in design and engineering that Nest had.

Gee, if only it had been bought by a company that had skills in design and engineering.


Nest is a platform; Beats is a fashion product for teens.

It’s apparently not a streaming music service with a CEO who’s a talented industry insider, according to Brill.

And why does he keep comparing these two deals? Google needed Nest because it needed design talent. Apple doesn’t. Apple shouldn’t have and didn’t acquire Nest. Pick up the shattered pieces of your poorly constructed acquisition fanfic and move on.

I think it was a panic move …

Sure, that seems like Tim Cook.

… and Apple’s going to regret it when the smoke clears.

Uhnnnnnnnnnnnnn. The problem with this job is there’s never any liquor around when you really need it.

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