Apple's Shazam Buy Under Investigation by European Union for Antitrust Violation

Apple's Shazam Buy Under Investigation by European Union for Antitrust Violation

It was reported in a press release by the European Union that a new in- depth investigation into Apple's proposed acquisition has been opened by the European Union on account of Shazam, a London-based music identification service.

"Our investigation aims to ensure that music fans will continue to enjoy attractive music streaming offers and won't face less choice as a result of this proposed merger", European Commission antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said of the probe.

Apple announced that it was buying Shazam in December.

The regulator said in February that it would look into the merger after requests from Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden. The deal is one of Apple's largest acquisitions, at a reported $400 million according to people familiar with the transaction a year ago. TechCrunch, which was first to report the acquisition talks, pegged the price at around $400 million.

"As a result", the regulatory body continued, "competing music streaming services could be put at a competitive disadvantage".

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The main question is what Apple might do with the existing referral data garnered from user-service directories that have taken place. Shazam, which "listens" to audio playing in an ambient environment and identifies it for users, would likely be integrated into Apple's streaming-music service Apple Music for that feature. The question there is if Apple Music would obtain an unfair competitive advantage with data from the United Kingdom firm it wishes to take over.

Those rivals include Spotify, the global market leader. Shazam has also been experimenting with augmented reality (AR).

The commission is particularly concerned that Apple will be able to access "commercially sensitive data" from Shazam customers who also use rival music services, which Apple might use to its advantage.

In other words, it's a farcical sham of an excuse to mess with Apple.

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