Now this is a surprising move...
Without the slightest whisper on the grapevine Logitech has gone and shocked us all by acquiring professional and high end consumer earphone specialist Ultimate Ears for $34m (approx. £17m) in cash. Yep, readies. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be finalised by the end of the month.
Little by way of explanation for the move has so far been provided by Logitech other than it was seeking to "expand its portfolio of digital audio products, providing more options for portable music listening". We also don't know whether Logitech plans to subsume the Ultimate Ears brand or maintain it as a wholly owned subsidiary as it did with Slim Devices.
Personally, given the reputation of Logitech as a good quality generalist and Ultimate Ears as a very well regarded specialist the latter would make far more sense.
“Ultimate Ears is a perfect fit for Logitech and our audio business,” said Logitech President and CEO Gerald P. Quindlen. “Since its inception, Ultimate Ears has been driven by innovation, close ties to its customers, and the desire to enable an immersive audio experience. Logitech’s success has been built on using a deep understanding of our customers to create innovative products that let people immerse themselves in their pursuits... We look forward to using our worldwide distribution network and operational efficiencies to help more people discover this superior listening experience.”
No doubt purists are up in arms at this point but - if handled properly - I think the marketing muscle of Logitech may at long last give the earphone upgrade market the publicity it deserves and that will also be good news for the likes of Shure, Denon and Etymotic.
Besides, if anything can help reduce the number of times I have to see audio luddites wearing Apple earphones (and consequently suppress my strong reaction to strangle them) then that has to be a good thing, both for me and the congestion on the Victim Support line…