Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

EU Has 'Issues' With Apple's Shazam Acquisition

The European Commission will investigate Apple's takeover of music startup Shazam | Emmanuel Dunand  AFP via Getty Images The European Commission will investigate Apple's takeover of music startup Shazam | Emmanuel Dunand AFP via Getty Images
Sherry Houston | 24 April, 2018, 05:34

Apple confirmed plans to buy music tagging service Shazam back in December, but Apple's acquisition of the London-based firm still hasn't received European Union antitrust regulatory approval yet.

"Access to such data could allow Apple to directly target its competitors' customers and encourage them to switch to Apple Music", the EC said. In particular, to check whether it would contravene EU Merger Regulation, given Shazam is "the leading music recognition app for mobile devices in the European Economic Area (EEA) and worldwide".

Apple, which makes iPhones and Mac computers, is the world's largest public company, valued at $844 billion. Currently, Apple is attempting to acquire Shazam, the program that identifies music for users who would like to know what song they are listening to.

Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner for... The commission is wary of the merger limiting the number of choice consumers have in streaming music.

European regulators are anxious about Apple's access to Shazam's data. Currently, the app will identify a song and then refer people to a streaming music service such as Spotify, Deezer or Apple Music to purchase it. The commission noted that it has until September 4 to make a decision regarding Apple's proposed acquisition, which should give it plenty of time to scrutinize the company's plans.

The biggest concern, however, appears to be the fact that the acquisition could give Apple access to data about its competitors' customers.

Apple said when announcing the takeover in December that Shazam would be a "natural fit" with its Apple Music streaming service and would help users discover new songs.

Seven countries including France, Italy and Spain had asked the European Commission to review the deal.

But Shazam has struggled to find a way to make money off its technology, even as it said that it had reached one billion downloads on smartphones past year.

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