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Beats buy is Apple's play for new cool

Beats buy is Apple's play for new cool

In agreeing to pay $3 billion to acquire Beats, Apple Inc. is betting that two music industry insiders can help restore some of its fading cool among young consumers while also helping it reinvent a troubled digital music business.

The largest deal in Apple's corporate history will include Beats Electronics, which sells headphones and speakers, and Beats Music, which just launched its music streaming service earlier this year. Although the Beats purchase represents a dramatic departure from Apple's conservative approach to acquisitions, it's still relatively small by Silicon Valley standards, using only a tiny fraction of Apple's cash hoard of $151 billion.

Perhaps just as...