The European Commission today gave its approval to Apple’s $3 billion takeover of Beats Electronics and Beats Music. The regulator concluded that the two companies are not close competitors, and that the headphones they sell are “markedly different in function and design.”
The EC’s main concern with Apple’s Beats buyout was that the deal could provide a monopoly on the headphone market. But the EC today said in its statement that “the combined market share of Apple and Beats Electronics is low,” and so even after the takeover is complete, “competitors such as Bose, Sennheiser and Sony would remain.”
The EC also looked at the effects Apple’s acquisition of Beats Music may have on other subscription-based music streaming services like Spotify and Deezer, with iTunes already offering a major music download service that’s already hugely successful in Europe.
It found, however, that the many competitors Apple faces in the EU make it “implausible that the acquisition of a smaller streaming service that is not active in the EEA would lead to anticompetitive effects.”
“The Commission also concluded that the transaction would not give Apple the ability and incentive to shut out competing streaming services from access to iOS,” it added, given that Apple already allows music services that could compete against iTunes to distribute apps through the App Store.
Apple is still waiting for its Beats deal to be approved in the U.S., but it’s thought regulators on the other side of the pond will take much the same view as the EC. It won’t be completely plain sailing for the Cupertino company, however, thanks to a recent lawsuit from Bose that accuses Beats of using its patented noise-cancelation technology.
Source: European Commission