EU opens competition probe into Apple's bid for music app Shazam

24 April, 2018, 05:42 | Author: Courtney Reynolds
  • Apple Shazam

And in case you've forgotten, some European regulators were a teensy bit anxious that Apple + Shazam might adversely affect competition, unfairly giving Apple Music a leg up on other music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and Tidal.

Apple said in December that it would buy Shazam, the song-recognition service that has been a mainstay on people's smartphones for years with its ability to name a track after listening for a few seconds.

Seven countries including France, Italy and Spain had asked the European Commission to review the deal. Neither company has confirmed how much the deal cost, but TechCrunch reported at the time that it was around $400 million. Regulators are anxious that Apple will use the service to push consumers to its own streaming service, hurting competition and unfairly advantaging its own service.

The European Commission said it will investigate whether Apple could hurt rival music services by referring Shazam users to iTunes and not others. However, Apple has not responded to a request for comment on Monday Morning.

It's unclear what the worry is here, as Apple doesn't dominate digital music anymore and music identification capabilities are fairly common.

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Apple's acquisition of Shazam has caught the attention of the European Commission, and not in a good way, with an in-depth investigation being opened over whether it harmfully impacts user choice.

Those rivals include Spotify, the global market leader.

The main question is what Apple might do with the existing referral data garnered from user-service directories that have taken place.

"At this stage, the Commission is concerned that, following the takeover of Shazam, Apple would obtain access to commercially sensitive data about customers of its competitors", the agency said in a statement.

But it's not just about referrals that regulators is anxious about - it actually "does not consider Shazam as a key entry point for music streaming services". Apple has invested deeply into adding augmented reality capabilities to the iPhone and other products.



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