Apple-Beats deal to get EU decision by July 30

The European Commission told reporters on Wednesday that it could give the deal the go-ahead -- or go as far as launching a drawn-out investigation over competition issues.

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From left: Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Beats co-founder Dr. Dre, and Apple SVP Eddy Cue. Apple

The European Union's competition watchdog, the European Commission, will make a decision on Apple's $3 billion deal to buy Beats by the end of next month.

The Commission announced the news Wednesday, saying that while it could clear the deal with no concessions, it reserves the right to launch an in-depth investigation into the agreement to deal with any competitive issues that might result from the acquisition.

Late last month, Apple announced plans to acquire Beats for $3 billion. Apple has been cryptic about its plans, but seems to be most interested in the Beats Music streaming service. While Apple already has a music-streaming service in iTunes Radio, the pending acquisition suggests that Apple sees greater potential by folding Beats Music into its lineup.

The European Commission is just one of several governmental bodies that need to approve the Apple deal, including US regulators, who will also examine whether it poses any anticompetitive concerns. That seems unlikely, given the sheer amount of competition in music streaming today and the small sliver occupied by Beats Music in the space owned by Pandora and Spotify.

In addition to streaming music, Apple would get its hands on Beats' popular headphones. Apple's brand has arguably lost some of its "coolness" factor over the last few years, while Beats, riding the success of its headphones, has become a pop culture phenomenon.

When the deal closes, Apple will also bring aboard rap star and Beats co-founder Dr. Dre, as well as Interscope Records chairman and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the EU approval date. We will update this story when we have more information.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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