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EU to investigate Apple's Shazam purchase for antitrust issues

​The European Commission received requests to investigate from Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor on
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Video: Shazam will make Apple smarter

The European Commission has agreed to investigate antitrust claims lodged against Apple for its proposed acquisition of music recognition app Shazam. The EC said it received requests from Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden to assess whether Apple's purchase of Shazam would have an "adverse effect on competition in the European Economic Area."

A provision in EU merger regulation law allows Member States to submit a request to the Commission to review a merger that affects trade within the EU Single Market, regardless if that merger has a specific EU dimension or not. The EC said Austria submitted the request first, with the other countries following suit.

"On the basis of the elements submitted by Austria and the countries joining the referral request, and without prejudice to the outcome of its full investigation, the Commission considers that the transaction may have a significant adverse effect on competition in the European Economic Area," the EC wrote in a press release. "The Commission has also concluded that it is the best placed authority to deal with the potential cross-border effects of the transaction."

The Commission said it now intends to ask Apple to notify the transaction.

Apple announced its acquisition of UK-based Shazam in December. The deal serves multiple purposes for Apple beyond hooks into services such as Apple Music. Shazam houses a team that's skilled at training models, developing algorithms and managing data. Going forward, Shazam's data engineering knowhow will apply to multiple areas of Apple and likely bolster Siri in the future.

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Apple may integrate Shazam's song ID technology into the next iOS. If the partnership plays out, Shazam would likely see a boost to song referral fees and more importantly set itself up for more uses for its technology.

Apple's purchase of Shazam goes well beyond music as it adds data, algorithm knowhow and talent

Shazam may be a natural fit for Apple Music, but the acquisition is also going to make Siri smarter and bring expertise in data engineering and algorithms to the company.

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