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5 Companies Apple Could Buy Instead Of Beats

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Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is rumored to be on the verge of its biggest acquisition yet, but is it the right move?

Tech pundits, analysts and numerous others have been quick to share their opinions. And while rap mogul Dr. Dre seemed to confirm Apple's interest in Beats Electronics, the deal is still just a rumor.

Beats is not the only company Apple could acquire to bolster its image, however -- nor is it the only entity that could improve the iPhone's audio quality. There are other (potentially more appropriate) corporations that could provide Apple with greater opportunities.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this slideshow.

Posted-In: Beats Beats by Dre Beats Electronics Bose Dr. DreRumors M&A Tech Best of Benzinga

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    Spotify

    Spotify

    Spotify is easily the biggest name in on-demand streaming. It is also one of the most successful online music services of any type.

    In 2013, Spotify's MAU (monthly active users) stood at 24 million, including six million paying users.

    By comparison, more than 525,000 people pay for Beats' streaming music service.

    Could it grow over time? Sure, but Apple could gain more from a company that has already established a foothold in the industry. And it might not cost much more than Beats.

    This, of course, assumes Apple wants Beats for streaming music.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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    Bose

    Bose

    It's no secret that audio quality is one of Apple's weak points.

    From early editions of the iPhone and iPod to MacBooks and other products along the way, consumers have complained that Apple's speakers just don't cut it.

    Bose, the second most popular headphone maker (behind Beats Electronics, which is currently number one), could provide Apple with the proper audio improvements.

    It may not be a hot company of the moment, but Bose has been around for more than 40 years. It operates eight plants and more than 150 stores, which could create some redundancies for Apple.

    Still, the benefits are clear: in addition to its headphone and surround sound business, Bose is also a prominent supplier for the auto industry. Apple could take full advantage of that.

    Beats is hot right now, but where will it be in five or ten years? Remember that there was a time when Walkmans were popular. They, like so many cool-looking electronics, faded with time.

    The same could happen to Beats, which makes Bose a much safer bet.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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    PonoMusic

    PonoMusic

    Neil Young pushed really hard to get the PonoMusic project going, and it worked. His Kickstarter campaign was a tremendous success, earning more than $6.2 million.

    PonoMusic is building a device that could be referred to as the new iPod -- or, perhaps more appropriately, the new MP3 player. Its device (known as the PonoPlayer) promises to deliver a music experience unlike any other.

    History shows that consumers may not buy into a no-name product, even if it is revolutionary. But that's what made the iPod so brilliant: Apple took an existing product concept (an MP3 player) and made it cool.

    If Apple does the same here, it could acquire PonoMusic and kickstart the dying iPod sales.

    Better yet, it could apply PonoMusic's impressive technology to future iPhones and make it the most powerful music player in the world.

    And if that's not enough, this would also give Apple the chance to sell consumers more expensive versions of albums they've already purchased.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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    Meta

    Meta

    Some have theorized that Apple wants Beats Electronics to enhance its image in designing and selling wearable technology. But Apple would be better off acquiring a company that will help it produce technology consumers will actually want.

    Benzinga has written about Meta before, and with good reason: it could change the future of augmented reality.

    Meta has developed a very promising AR computer that could one day replace a traditional desktop. If the company is successful, it may also replace game consoles and other technology that consumers can't seem to live without.

    Meta's glasses aren't cheap -- they currently sell for $3,650 and won't ship until September. But that price is likely come down over time, especially if Meta were acquired by a large company.

    As a startup with zero revenue, Meta could likely be acquired for less than a billion dollars. Possible unannounced partnerships could increase the price, but those deals (if any exist) could provide even more value to Apple.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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    Monster

    Monster

    Few people realize that Beats Electronics wouldn't exist without Monster.

    Monster engineered all of the initial headphones for Beats by Dre. Thus, when consumers spent $200+ on a new pair of rapper-approved headphones, they were really purchasing a Monster product.

    Monster and Beats went their separate ways two years ago. Critics continue to argue that both companies sell electronics that are overpriced.

    But Monster at least engineered the headphones. Beats merely put a shiny logo on the box and convinced celebrities to use them, which in turn persuaded consumers to buy them.

    Apple could do the same with Monster. So why would it need Beats, when Beats would only bring its own brand of marketing?

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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