European Commission opens in-depth investigation of Apple-Shazam deal

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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.

Apple said in December it would buy the maker of the popular song-recognition app, which Apple's digital assistant Siri had been competing with.

However, several EU countries, including Austria, France, and Italy, asked the European Commission in February to review the deal to ensure it didn't run afoul of regulatory requirements. TechCrunch, which was first to report the acquisition talks, pegged the price at around $400 million.

"The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services", Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, said in a statement.

Shazam only recently announced it had become profitable, thanks to advertising and steering traffic to other sites such as Spotify and Apple Music.

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Apple did not respond to a Fortune request for comment on the European Commission's decision. Shazam is a mobile app and service that can use a mobile device's microphone to identify playing music. 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.

Well, it looks those fears may delay the deal further, because the European Commission (EC) has just launched an in-depth investigation. Analysts say the purchase is a part of its larger move back into music with Apple Music, a service created following its purchase of Dr. Dre's Beats Music in 2014. Regulators also said they have concerns about Apple's gaining access to data on Shazam users and the competing music services they use.

Those rivals include Spotify, the global market leader.

European regulators are anxious about Apple's access to Shazam's data. Shazam has also been experimenting with augmented reality (AR). Apple has invested deeply into adding augmented reality capabilities to the iPhone and other products.

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