Does Apple Own Bose in 2024?

No, Apple does not own premium audio company Bose Corporation. While the two companies partnered on select products in the 1990s and early 2000s, they now compete across headphones, speakers and home audio systems. Given Apple‘s majority acquisition of Beats in 2014 and Bose‘s continued independence under owner MIT, a merger appears unlikely.

A History of Temporary Collaboration

Although they are rivals today, Apple and Bose partnered on early premium audio products for Macs and iPods over 20 years ago:

  • 1997: Bose Acoustimass-15 Speaker System for Macs
  • 2004: Bose SoundDock to play and charge iPods

Older model Bose SoundDock for iPod

The SoundDock became a popular iPod speaker, allowing music playback via the 30-pin iPod charging connector. Apple even sold it in retail stores for a period.

But this collaboration would prove short-lived once the smartphone wars heated up.

Why an Acquisition Appears Unlikely

In 2014, Apple purchased Beats for $3 billion – maker of premium headphones, earbuds and speakers. This instantly put pressure on Bose in the hardware audio market.

Meanwhile, MIT maintains majority ownership over Bose after company founder Amar Bose donated the bulk of his shares to his alma mater MIT in 2011.

With Apple‘s focus shifting to Beats-branded headphones and speakers over the past decade and MIT controlling Bose, few analysts see a reasonable path for Apple absorbing its key competitor.

Market Share Shows Strong Competition

Apple continues investing in Beats with its Powerbeats Pro earbuds and premium over-ear headphones. And its AirPods now dominate the true wireless earbuds space with an estimated 24% global share as of Q3 2022 according to Strategy Analytics:

CompanyMarket Share

Meanwhile, Bose remains a strong player especially in higher-priced headphones and Bluetooth speakers:

  • Estimated 17-20% share of global premium headphone revenue
  • Over $3.5 billion in annual revenue as of 2021

Bose and Apple seem content to battle it out rather than considering acquisition talks.

Why Apple Likely Passed on Buying Bose

Beyond MIT‘s controlling interest, analysts debate a few reasons why Apple hasn‘t attempted to swallow up Bose:

  • Allows Apple and Bose brands to compete and drive innovation in headphones/speakers
  • Adds more value as independent alternative to Beats in high-end audio
  • Expensive proposition given strong sales and brand value

With Apple still actively developing new Beats-branded headphones and rumored high-end AirPods, an audiophile segment remains that Bose fills outside the Apple ecosystem.

What Does the Future Hold?

Bose remains focused primarily on premium home and personal audio rather than smart assistants. But its recent launch of Bose AR-enabled sunglasses hints at some of Apple‘s expanded ambitions in AR/VR.

While another surprise Apple acquisition can never be ruled out, MIT retaining majority control of Bose makes such a scenario less likely short of an exceptionally high offer price.

For now, both companies seem content advancing their audio lineups and battling for market share across multiple price tiers rather than joining forces. If Apple intends to expand further into augmented reality technologies like smart glasses, that could potentially increase acquisition speculation down the road.

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