The EU is looking into Apple's acquisition of Shazam
The EU worries that the purchase could adversely impact competitionBy Cohen Coberly
Broadcom and Qualcomm might not be the only companies to have a merger squashed due to anti-competitive fears from government officials. This time around, the EU is reportedly looking into Apple's recent acquisition of music identification platform Shazam.
To be clear, this investigation hasn't come completely out of the blue. According to The Verge, it has been at least a couple months in the making.
The situation started when several European countries, including Austria and Iceland, asked the European Commission to look into Apple's merger to determine whether or not it fully complied with the EU's existing competition laws.
"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," a European Commission statement released in February reads.
It seems the request has finally been granted - the EU has officially opened an "in-depth investigation" into Apple's acquisition of Shazam.
"The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in a statement on Monday. "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."
It's worth noting that the Commission's fears don't stem from the belief that Shazam is an actual competitor to Apple Music. Indeed, the Commission claims they don't consider Shazam a "key entry point" for music streaming services.
Rather, the Commission is primarily worried that Apple might "obtain access to commercially sensitive data" about their competitors' customer base through Shazam. The Commission fears that Apple may later use that information to target those customers and convince them to switch to Apple's proprietary music streaming platform, Apple Music.