While a billion-dollar acquisition would be out of character for Apple, the company could certainly afford it. (Apple has billions in cash and cash equivalents that it isn’t doing anything with.) But more than that, buying Beats seems like a very odd move for Apple — especially since iPhone maker already has the means to produce quality audio hardware as well as its own streaming music service, iTunes Radio.
A few past reports do lend credibility to Apple buying Beats. For instance, Beats founder Jimmy Iovine has previously gone on record about how he prodded Apple founder Steve Jobs to launch an Apple music service. Additionally, Beats was rumored to be considering a partnership with Apple to launch Beats Music just last year.
As for Beats, the company was rumored to be pursuing a major new round of funding worth $60 million to $100 million. (Beats is said to need the additional funds to stay competitive with leading on-demand music service Spotify, which it competes with directly in the streaming realm.) That’s on top of the $60 million raise that Beats closed a little over a year ago.