Brash cans-maker Beats wants to pull the cord on its relationship with hard-up HTC, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Beats bigwigs Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine want to buy back the 25 per cent stake HTC holds in their headphone company and find fresh investment to fuel growth. Beats apparently has new speaker and car audio systems planned, as well as a streaming music service.
"People familiar with the matter" reckon hip-hop hospitaller Dre and his main mogul Iovine are fed up with HTC's strategic direction, which may be polite business-speak for "it's skint".
The Taiwanese company posted its first ever loss last month, and is facing an uphill struggle to flog any phones at all against the overbearing might of Samsung. That's despite producing some of the best kit around, with the gorgeous HTC One and One Mini among the very best smart phones on the market.
Both of those blowers feature the famous Beats b on the back. That's thanks to HTC taking a 50.1 per cent stake in the trendy earware-peddler in 2011 for $300m, hoping to exploit its popularity with the yoof. Beats bought back 25 per cent for $150m last year, citing a desire for "more flexibility for global expansion".
It's not the first time Beats has skedaddled on a relationship that didn't suit it. Earlier this year the father and son team behind Monster, Beats' original manufacturing partner, claimed in interviews with Gizmodo that they'd been talked into taking all of the risk and ended up with none of the brand's copious rewards.
Do you think Beats has conveyed any cred on HTC? Or is it the other way round -- is HTC better off without the b? Drop a line in the comments, or on our fractious Facebook page.