European Union hits pause on Apple's Shazam purchase

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After initial consideration, European Commission has launched an antitrust investigation into Apple's recent acquisition of music identifying service Shazam.

The app already presents users with a link to buy songs on Apple's iTunes download service, which provides Shazam with revenues as well.

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. Neither company has confirmed how much the deal cost, but TechCrunch reported at the time that it was around $400 million. But the European Union complaint suggests that the Commission is concerned, in part, that Apple might use this acquisition to claw its way back to domination with its Apple Music service.

The Commission has until September 4 to make a decision about the acquisition. However, Apple has not responded to a request for comment on Monday Morning.

Digital services are increasingly important to Apple as iPhone sales slow. Additionally, the authorities want to find out if Apple Music competitors would be harmed if Shazam stopped referring customers to them after the acquisition.

"Apple [c] ould obtain access to commercially sensitive data about customers of its competitors for the provision of music streaming services in the European Economic Area", the complaint notes.

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Those rivals include Spotify, the global market leader.

Apple Music is also a key component in the marketing of the HomePod smart speaker, which relies on Apple Music as its sole music service.

In the wake of that announcement, Shazam said it couldn't imagine a "better home" for its platform than Apple.

The technology is also no longer quite as novel, with Shazam facing rivals such as SoundHound and with smartphones capable of ever more advanced recognition functions.

In other words, it's a farcical sham of an excuse to mess with Apple.