Apple's Shazam acquisition hits a roadblock as European Union investigation gets underway


Apple announced its purchase of the UK-based app in December, for a reported 0 million, which would make it one of Apple's largest acquisitions. The Shazam deal, reportedly worth $400 million, wasn't actually big enough for the European Union to automatically investigate the transaction.

The Shazam app uses a smartphone or computer microphone to identify nearly any song playing nearby, then guides users to places they can purchase or stream the song such as Apple Music or Google's YouTube.

Apple had sought approval for the deal from the Austrian competition agency because the bid falls short of the revenue threshold for an European Union review.

Apple's purchase of music recognition service Shazam is to be reviewed by the European Commission following requests from seven countries fearing the deal may "adversely affect competition". However, the deal required approval from regulators in Austria under merger rules there, and it has chose to bounce the investigation up to the EC.

The EU may be also be concerned that Apple will make Apple Music the only option for listening to tracks found on Shazam, which now are referred to Spotify.

Late previous year following the rumors, Apple announced that they would be acquiring song recognition service Shazam. While this deal may not sound like one to experience antitrust hurdles, the European Union is launching a probe to review the acquisition's effect on competition. And because Shazam is based in the United Kingdom, the European Commission can investigate the deal legally.

The request for the investigation was made by Austria, but they were later joined by other European Union countries such as France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

The reason behind their requests is that they're concerned Apple's buying of the market-leading music recognition app could actually have fundamentally adverse effects on competition across borders.