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

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The European Union's competition watchdog has launched an in-depth investigation into Apple's deal to buy music app Shazam, delaying the California giant's takeover of the United Kingdom company.

United Kingdom -based Shazam is best known for an eponymous app that listens to an environment's music and identifies tracks based on matching snippets against an extensive audio database. "As a result, competing music streaming services could be put at a competitive disadvantage", the European Union competition enforcer said.

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

The investigation also hopes to determine whether rival music services, such as Spotify, will be harmed if Apple decides to stop referring users to them from the Shazam app, Reuters reports.

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"Access to such data could allow Apple to directly target its competitors' customers and encourage them to switch to Apple Music", the Commission said.

The Commission has until September 4 to take a decision on the case.

Apple announced its acquisition of UK-based Shazam in December.

The EU executive launched a preliminary review of the deal in February following a request from seven European countries including France, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

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