Monster vs. Beats (Apple)

In the category of “it’s always important to think through the actions that your legal team is recommending” I submit the latest in the troubled relationship between Apple Computer and Beats Audio, from the Wall Street Journal: Apple Revokes Monster’s Authority to Make Licensed Accessories.

Why is this happening? Because Monster forgot that when Apple bought Beats audio, that meant that the company was now protected by the famously aggressive Apple legal and business team, not its own couple of attorneys.

Beats headphones at an Apple Store.
Beats headphones at an Apple Store.

Monster, it turns out, brought a lawsuit against Beats and its co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine of duping Monster out of proceeds from the company sale to Apple, completely forgetting that it’s now properly written “Beats, a Unit of Apple Computer, Inc.”

Apple has now pulled the “Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad” MFi certification from Monster, meaning that they won’t be able to gain access to the third-party tech support, components and certification logo on any new products (existing products are unaffected). And quite likely, Monster products will vanish from the Apple Store too.

Monster’s general counsel David Tognotti claims that Apple told him that the relationship was being terminated because “the relationship between the two companies is no longer mutually beneficial.” Yeah, that sounds about right.

And here’s a number to ponder: 900 of the over 4000 Monster products were made through the MFi program.

Again, Monster, didn’t you guys think this through? It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out, but meanwhile, I wouldn’t bet against Apple…

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