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Businesses Apple

Apple De-Certifies Monster Cables After Lawsuit Against Beats 288

An anonymous reader writes: Since 2005, Monster cables have been licensed under Apple's "Made For iDevice" program, which lets cable manufacturers put a logo on their product signifying they work with Apple products. Now, Apple has revoked that certification. In January of this year, Monster sued Beats, accusing its founders of fraud. Beats was acquired by Apple in 2014, and Monster is accusing Apple of bullying them by terminating the licensing deal. Monster's general counsel said the move would "significantly disrupt Monster's business and that the two companies had worked well for years, with Monster paying Apple more than $12 million in licensing fees since 2008."
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Apple De-Certifies Monster Cables After Lawsuit Against Beats

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @06:47AM (#49928049)

    It's inevitable and it's going to happen more. They are both from the dark side so who cares for any of these frauds. This type of thing will happen more often because of the IP Protection racket the government is running and also because these companies are going to increasingly run into each other due to this protection racket. The whole stack of cards is in it's last era.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @06:51AM (#49928065)

    Flim-flam cable maker suing overpriced hipster baiting electronics firm over tacky rich kid headphones.

    Fetch me my popcorn

  • Bad guys... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @06:52AM (#49928073) Journal
    Apple, Monster, Beats, an ex hedge fund manager turned headphone designer... This reads like a Marvel comic with only supervillains in it.
    • This reads like a Marvel comic with only supervillains in it.

      My favorite kind!

    • by Nkwe ( 604125 )

      Apple, Monster, Beats, an ex hedge fund manager turned headphone designer... This reads like a Marvel comic with only supervillains in it.

      Or the start of a joke: Apple, Monster, Beats, and an ex hedge fund manager turned headphone designer walk into a bar...

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        One asks the another, where is your attorney? They answer: he was disbarred this morning.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @06:53AM (#49928075)

    I have always admired Monster's business model. Take something as dirt cheap as a cable, tack on a price at least 3000% above cost and not only make it a success but have customers who advocate the superiority of your product on faith alone. Because they spent so goddamn much.

    • by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:07AM (#49928149) Homepage
      Back in the day of analog cables, there was some margin of truth in Monster's claims of cable quality and gold plating. Now that everything is digital though? A rusty coat hanger can carry a digital signal as well as their best cable, so yeah fark 'em.
      • by rfengr ( 910026 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:23AM (#49928233)
        To extent; a rusty coat hanger can't carry a 10 GBPs serial link like a coaxial cable. It's digital, but signal integrity is still an issue.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:39AM (#49928345)

          What you get is packet loss, which either results in buffering or artifacts. An example is 'snow' on faulty HDMI cables. So there's still a case for a good quality cable that's not going to be dropping data because it's sitting on the edge of what quality is acceptable.

          Where some manufactures enter the realm of fantasy is when they start to say things like the colours will look better. They won't. If the all the data is getting through a $10 and $3000 cable will look alike.

        • I would also question wether or not a rusty coat hanger has the appropriate 110-ohm termination in the AES spec... (or 75 in the case of SPDIF).

      • Careful: if the connectors on your equipment aren't gold-plated, then it's those hard-to-replace connectors that will rust instead of the easily replaced cable. Gold does not improve signal quality; it merely prevents rust which degrades conductivity.
        • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:43AM (#49928373) Homepage Journal

          Careful: if the connectors on your equipment aren't gold-plated, then it's those hard-to-replace connectors that will rust instead of the easily replaced cable.

          What you really want is a connector plated the same as the connector you're connecting it to. If it's tin-plated, use a tin-plated connector. If it's gold-plated, use gold. What I don't know of is any tin-plated cables which include a sacrificial zinc anode. In motoring (and presumably other places with metal bolted to metal) we use zinc anti-seize where dissimilar metals meet because it gets eaten up first, which is handy. I'm not sure if that applies to tin, though. Also in motoring, tin is what's used as an intermediate between steel or copper and aluminum.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @08:50AM (#49928807)

            That's why I make sure to use dust-plated connectors.

          • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @09:00AM (#49928879) Homepage

            Yeah the big problem in bicycles is steel frames with aluminum seat posts or stems (where the handlebars attach to the frame). Those things are often assembled without any kind of anti seize or grease and are known to basically get "welded" together from corrosion. I've seen a few that were impossible to remove.

            • I've seen a few that were impossible to remove.

              I'd try lye, it'll eat the hell out of the Aluminum. Or if you're trying to get back the Aluminum, washing powder and a battery charger will run the rust reaction in reverse. I imagine it's horrible to do that with Cromoly though. If you do it with stainless the results are horrendously, illegally toxic.

            • I've seen that also. In the real world, if your bicycle's aluminum seat post got fused to your steel bicycle's downtube, you have had your bicycle for too long.

              • What's "too long"? Still working isn't too long.

                Since when is owning something for an extended period of time "too long"?

        • They are other ways to prevent corrosion too. However the fact that you are plugging in these expensive cables that will not rust, into connectors integrated into more expensive equipment that will rust.

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        Even for analog cables, there were plenty far cheaper cable brands that offer the same or better measurable quality.

      • by KozmoStevnNaut ( 630146 ) <henrikstevn@LISPgmail.com minus language> on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:37AM (#49928339)

        There are still plenty of analog connections around. Headphone jacks, RCA outputs and so on. None of them sound any better through Monster cables than through cheap dollar store cables, and they never did.

        http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2... [blogspot.ca]

        Note that by far the largest difference was stereo crosstalk, and that has a lot more to do with cable geometry than with price or "quality". You can make any cable measure exceedingly low crosstalk by physically separating the wires, but no one can head crosstalk at -84dB anyway, so it's pointless.

        • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @10:31AM (#49929587)

          I'm not a fan of MC, but I will say this: while the MC's are overpriced at least the shielding is reasonable. hum can be a problem with poor shielding and the MC's that I used to use, years ago (car audio ones with foil wrap) were quite good for keeping hum low. dollar store cables have the thinnest shielding and usually poor molding so they break easy.

          once you get to minimum quality standards, there's little diff other than being able to see numbers change in high priced test gear. but dollar store is really not what you want to compare anything to. even monster is better than that ;)

          their prices are outrageous but the quality is acceptable. not worth the money but that's not the same as saying that they are made like dollar store cables. they definitely are not.

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          You can definitely go cheap enough on cables that it's a real problem. My favorite is pulling out a coax cable and having the center pin break off and get stuck in the equipment. Paying $5 for an analog cable is wise, IMO. And if you want a 50 foot HDMI cable, the cheaper ones aren't to spec (you have to use a heavier gauge wire for long runs).

          Sure, there's no need to pay Monster's crazy inflated prices, but that doesn't mean there's no downside to the cheapest possible option.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:49AM (#49928413)

        And this is why radio hams, a self-selected group of the technically knowledgable that routinely deal with analog signals orders of magnitudes higher frequency than audio signals, are so fanatical about solid gold plated oxygen free copper directional cables. Not.

      • Aside from noise rejection and the lack of impedance matching coat hangers work perfectly well even for analog gear as input patch cables (but due to sensitivity to impedance differences you wouldn't want to use in place of phono patch cables). They work supremely well as speaker cables, providing the gauge is heavy enough for the current (so driving the speakers at a Pink Floyd gig may not work out too well but for the average bar, wedding, etc. they would be perfectly fine).

        Benefits of fine strand OFC cab

        • * They handle repeated stress better (so they're better for speakers mounted in doors)

          Ugh, yes. I need to go into my Mercedes' doors to fix the wiring to the windows on the driver's side because they didn't use particularly fancy wiring. I'll be using some silicone-jacketed stuff intended for R/C packs, because I have it already and it should last longer than the rest of the car.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          How do you make a patch cable out of a coat hanger? Surely you need two conductors, one for signal and one for ground.

          Same with speaker cables, you would need at least two coat hangers, but at least you normally have terminal posts. Somehow your patch cable coat hangers would need to get the inner and outer connectors of a typical RCA jack or both contacts in a 6.5mm jack.

      • Gold plating connectors is worthless. Gold is super soft to begin with and any time two surfaces scrape there goes the few microns of coating. There is a reason most military gear is silver plated.

        • by mlts ( 1038732 )

          A gold alloy is harder, so it is more resistant to insertions.

          There are places where this comes in handy. For example, some PCs have an internal USB cable which plugs into the motherboard, then goes to the front ports. The problem is often the contacts corrode over time, which gives a spotty connection after a while. This is why I wind up testing a faulty USB device by plugging it directly into the motherboard's ports before tossing it altogether. USB connectors are generally made to handle insertions a

      • Sound better is subjective. For analog cables, better quality cables help with noise and distortion. Note that I said "better quality" and not exclusively Monster cables. You can pay a little bit more for higher quality cables that have better shielding and better contacts and not pay the obscene Monster prices. In the long run the better cables will last longer.
    • they had circuit city or best buy compare them unfairly on tv with a monster cable running ESPN HD next to one with out a monster cable on ESPN SD.

    • by Phreakiture ( 547094 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:30AM (#49928293) Homepage

      customers who advocate the superiority of your product on faith alone. Because they spent so goddamn much.

      The guitarist in a band I've engineered for is stone deaf but thinks of himself as an audiophile. He can't hear the hum coming out of his guitar amp, but swears by these overpriced interconnect cables as well as the special acoustic pad that he puts said humming amp on. One night I pointed out one of the XLR cables to him and said, "You see that $10 cable there? Whatever you're listening to went through one of those." He didn't say another word to me all night.

      • by Stuarticus ( 1205322 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @09:00AM (#49928883)
        I tend to buy fairly expensive guitar cables, the Planet Waves ones. Rather than being an audio quality issue (though they do sound better than the cheapest cables which can hum a bit in a noisy environment, those gain pedals boost noise!) I buy them for durability, the cheaper ones can fail after a few months while I've only had one planet waves one die in nearly 10 years of use and they replaced it for free, with no hassles. Reliability is worth the money.
        • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @10:32AM (#49929595)

          There is a point with audio that there is a split between "pro audio" (as in flat response monitor speakers), versus "audiophile audio" (speakers that have Bog knows what for response levels, but they look cool on their marble stands.)

          While some cable making companies tout things that can't be quantified, there are items that can be, such as a proper gauge of wire, well soldered fittings that are properly shrink wrapped to prevent oxidation, good insulation, and other basics.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

      but have customers who advocate the superiority of your product on faith alone. Because they spent so goddamn much.

      What you describe underpins entire business models that go way outside of audiophile technobabble and into homeopathy, acupunture, and basically a whole field of snake oil products that improve your well being, protect your car from rust, and make everything in your house just that much better. Personally I'm still congratulating the person who managed to sell "organic" water in our supermarket.

    • I don't care how rich a company is, I cannot admire an organization built on screwing over people who are just naive.
    • I have always admired Monster's business model. Take something as dirt cheap as a cable, tack on a price at least 3000% above cost and not only make it a success but have customers who advocate the superiority of your product on faith alone. Because they spent so goddamn much.

      Monster cable is bargain basement compared to the bill of goods that many "audiophiles" are buying nowadays... To the audiophile, this $10,000 Ethernet cable apparently makes sense [arstechnica.com]. At least Ars had the sense to add this sub-headline: "In reality, one-way silver cable does nothing but make "audiophools" poorer.".

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @06:55AM (#49928087) Homepage
    does 'certified for iDevice' even matter anymore? I could see it being a concern for the average consumer about a decade ago but so many products, uncertified mind you, exist for the apple to channel audio from soundcard to headbone that the logo itself seems of little merit.

    Monster and Beats cultivated a brand all their own. Sure, Dr. Dre doesnt have his doctorate in accoustic waveform theory, but neither does Monster when it comes to a $600 pair of mission control headphones on the average teenager. Its all about the image, and in this case that image is perpetuated by pop culture and not dictated by apple.
    • Is power supplies [gizmodo.com], because of the fire hazard.

    • does 'certified for iDevice' even matter anymore? I could see it being a concern for the average consumer about a decade ago but so many products, uncertified mind you, exist for the apple to channel audio from soundcard to headbone that the logo itself seems of little merit.

      I only really worry about not using knock off cables/adapters when it's connected to 110 volt power or higher, cheaply made cables that break easily are also easily replaced; cheaply made power adapters without proper insulation and air gaps can cause fires and electrocutions. That being said I use Apple EarPods because I find them comfortable.

    • by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:11AM (#49928165) Homepage

      It matters, in some cases, such as their sync cables. Apple's walled garden is so high most people buy Apple's peripherals just to be sure they'll work.

      I'm still shocked, to be honest, that Apple uses standard headphone jacks though.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        They aren't as standard as you think. The wiring for in-cord volume controls is reversed from normal, so there's a version for Apple products and a version for everyone else.
      • At $25 for an official 3 foot Apple Lightning cable, there's no way I'd buy one. I got mine at MonoPrice, for around $9. They seem to work well enough. Even $9 sounds a little pricy if you ask me, but I'm not about to risk my expensive devices on something cheaper. The real problem is that the official Apple cables are so prone to breaking. The Monoprice ones are built much better and have lasted me way longer than the original Apple ones did.

      • Before the iPhone, there really weren't any consumer devices that use the TRRS jack. Nowadays, almost every smartphone supports that. It's only *STANDARD* because Apple pretty much made the adoption of it standard.
    • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:14AM (#49928181)

      These programs tend to go well beyond just a sticker, though. If you're not part of this program, you just won't be listed in the store, or carried in Apple's physical stores. If you're not 'certified' for Apple devices, your product won't be in the "Apple Accessories" aisle at other retailers. And if you're not part of the MFi project, then at least in theory Apple could simply block your accessory from working at the lightning interface level.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Perhaps not for the end-consumer, but it might be worth something on where they are places in a brick store. Do they get the middle shelf, the top shelf or the bottom shelf?

      If they are licecenced, they could better negotiate to get the middle shelf or better placement in the store in any other way.

      Now they either need to pay extra or somebody else gets that place.

      Brands pay serious money to get visability. There is a reason Coca-Cola does their own stocking in many stores. Why are magazines places where the

    • Its all about the image, and in this case that image is perpetuated by pop culture and not dictated by apple.

      Not quite. It's about quality, or rather the impression of quality. I mean these are the headphones that Skrillex uses and the headphones that Dr Dre has his name on. They must be top quality professional gear and looking good is just a bonus. I mean just look at the website. The "Beats Pro" are "The Headphones Used To Mix In Every Major Studio." so it must be absolutely awesome.

      That is the mind set of a lot of people. They buy Beats because they want something better, and they don't know any better unless

      • Not being someone who pays much attention to the audio equipment world is Sennheiser the company that makes the headphones that pilots use? I had a dorm-mate in college who was going to school to be a pilot and he had a pair of headphones that were phenomenal that I got to use a couple of times.
    • You overestimate the intelligence of people in general. Of course 'iDevice' matters. So many people are incapable of thinking for themselves, they're looking for the iDevice label because... because.... surely something bad will happen if they don't. They don't know what that bad thing is, but large American corporations would never lie to them and overcharge for the sake of overcharging, right?
  • So, a good move then (Score:5, Informative)

    by AikonMGB ( 1013995 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:00AM (#49928105) Homepage

    Monster's general counsel said the move would "significantly disrupt Monster's business and that the two companies had worked well for years, with Monster paying Apple more than $12 million in licensing fees since 2008."

    So, this is a philanthropic move from Apple, then. Monster are bottom-feeders that prey on the naive, and the world would be a better place without them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by thaylin ( 555395 )

      But then again so is apple.

      • by Aqualung812 ( 959532 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:57AM (#49928481)

        Apple only charges around 2-3 times more for a cable than the competition.

        Monster's level of bullshit is another sport entirely.

        Buying genuine Apple stuff is like buying parts from the dealership for you car. More expensive, and may or may not be any better than what you can get elsewhere.

        Buying anything Monster is like buying a bottle of $100 window cleaner that has specially aligned atoms that will reduce wind resistance and increase speed on your car.

        • Apple only charges around 2-3 times more for a cable than the competition.

          Yes, but they bought Monster's headphone brand and are now selling "Monster" price and quality headphones..

        • I admit, I have to wonder if Apple's markup is to encourage manufacturers to make cheaper cables.

          I can buy MFi certified cables from Monoprice or even off of Amazon, and they're much cheaper than Apple's stuff. It's certified, so I'll trust it not to light on fire. If Apple made cables and sold them at cost, which they could surely do, they'd price everyone else out of the market. Apple has economies of scale that these other guys can only dream of.

          So Apple marks up the prices on the adaptors, takes the abu

        • Apple only charges around 2-3 times more for a cable than the competition.

          I like saving money same as anyone else, but to my experience an Apple cable stands a better chance of actually fitting the socket and not breaking after 2 months of occasional use.
        • Aha! I knew I wasn't the only one who cleansed my car with Flüidé!
        • by sootman ( 158191 )

          > a bottle of $100 window cleaner that has
          > specially aligned atoms that will reduce wind
          > resistance and increase speed on your car.

          link please?

  • Poor little monster (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rigel47 ( 2991727 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:03AM (#49928123)
    Getting pushed around? Not used to having to deal with someone that can bite back? Keep in mind this is the company that has a track record of attacking any and all start-up cable and connector makers.

    This is a great read - a small-time cable maker basically telling monster suck it after they sent their default "infringement" claim. http://www.bluejeanscable.com/... [bluejeanscable.com]
  • It's okay to hope neither side wins. May they spend many years in litigation fighting over the right to sell overpriced bullshit like cables and headphones.
    • It's okay to hope neither side wins. May they spend many years in litigation...

      The lawyers always win.

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:14AM (#49928179)
    Seems like it would be a natural market for them.
  • Luckily I have shitloads of old appliances that I can cut the power cords off of and a bag of wire nuts.

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:24AM (#49928241) Journal

    The company whose entire business is based on selling overpriced cables to phools is accusing another company of fraud?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    so that's like what? 6 cables?

  • Trendy Crap (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It just amazes me that Brand names tied to artists still govern sales.
    Beats are crap, we all know it, and that same $300 could be better spent on a Pair of AKG's or Sony's etc....
    The Kids will buy what looks cool and trendy, and at least we can then tell who's got Bling and who's got IQ.
  • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @07:59AM (#49928491)

    12 million in licensing fees? so they only sold 12 cables in that time?

  • by Pascoea ( 968200 ) on Wednesday June 17, 2015 @08:17AM (#49928603)
    So now the good folks at Monster will have to go put black stickers over the "Made for iDevice" logos on their packages, and the millions of hipsters will cry out in horror as their overpriced headphones will no longer work with their iPhones.
  • Someone might not want to buy their $5 for $50 anymore! Boo hoo!

  • In January of this year, Monster sued Beats, accusing its founders of fraud....Monster is accusing Apple of bullying them

    I think the term you are looking for here is psychological projection [wikipedia.org]

    Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.

  • Apple buys Monster and continues selling overpriced cables, as usual, except now with a "Monster Beats!" brand on them! :)

I THINK THEY SHOULD CONTINUE the policy of not giving a Nobel Prize for paneling. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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