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Apple announced the deal with London-based Shazam, worth a reported $400 million, in December past year in a fresh bid to secure an edge in the intensifying battle of streaming services in which Sweden-based Spotify dominates.

In its announcement about the move, the Commission said the investigation was prompted by concern that the merger "could reduce choice for users of music streaming services".

The Shazam app uses the microphone on a smartphone or computer to identify nearly any song playing nearby, then points users to places they can listen to it, such as Apple Music or Spotify Ltd.




The European Commission said in February it would consider an inquiry into Shazam at the request of EU states Austria, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden, and non-EU Norway and Iceland, which form part of the affiliated European Economic Area. TechCrunch, which was first to report the acquisition talks, pegged the price at around $400 million. "As a result, competing music streaming services could be put at a competitive disadvantage", the European Union competition enforcer said. Shazam, which "listens" to audio playing in an ambient environment and identifies it for users, would likely be integrated into Apple's streaming-music service Apple Music for that feature.

Apple revolutionized the digital music with iTunes in the early 2000s, but fell behind as people opted to buy access to music through streaming services rather than purchasing their own tracks and albums on iTunes. The European Commission has until September to conclude the investigation. Analysts say it is poised to overtake Spotify as the market leader in the US within a year. In particular, Apple offers the music streaming service "Apple Music", which in the last three years has become the second largest music streaming service provider in Europe. Shazam has also been experimenting with augmented reality (AR). Regulators also said they have concerns about Apple's gaining access to data on Shazam users and the competing music services they use.

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


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