EU Approves Apple Merger With Beats

July 29, 2014
By: Casey Houser

Apple (News - Alert) is not normally seen as a leader in audio production. Nevertheless, it has moved one step closer to completely owning Beats, the ubiquitous headphone manufacturer that has gained a high level of popularity in recent years.

This week, according to a report at Engadget, the European Union approved the $3 billion merger of Apple and Beats. The court was reportedly concerned with the possibility that Beats would provide Apple with a monopoly on the headphone market in Europe, but it ultimately found that the combination of both companies would not sufficiently drive out other market competitors.

Specifically, the court noted that the proposed merger "did not raise concerns because the combined (headphone) market share of Apple and Beats Electronics is low." This means that competitors such as Bose should still have a fighting change for consumer attention.

Bose, however, is not staying quiet, and it has its sights set on Beats for alleged infringement of its noise canceling technology. Now that Apple has gained Beats, it has now gained a lawsuit.

Initial reports indicate that Bose's complaint accuses Beats of using its noise reduction technology in its Studio and Studio Wireless headphones. Additionally, Bose reportedly says it has lost sales as a result of Beats' use of that technology.

TechSpot provides further analysis of the issue. It says Bose claims that it has worked on its noise canceling tech for several decades. As a result of that dedication, it released its QuietComfort headphones in 2000. It also said in a statement that its rights as a company, provided through patents, allows it to further succeed with that tech in the headphone market.

"Because Bose invests heavily in research and development, and because Bose has built its reputation on producing superior products through innovative technology, Bose's continued success depends in substantial part on its ability to establish, maintain, and protect its proprietary technology through enforcement of its patent rights," Bose said in a statement.

The lawsuit comes alongside an additional complaint Bose reportedly filed with the International Trade Commission in which it asked the ITC to block the import of Beats products from China to the U.S. TechSpot speculates that the complaint will likely be put on hold while the lawsuit plays itself out.

Edited by Maurice Nagle