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Apple hasn’t even launched its rumored new streaming music service and already it may be drawing scrutiny from regulators.
The concern, according to the reports, is that Apple might use its leadership in digital music markets to unfairly compete against free or advertising-based rivals such as Spotify.
The FT says regulators have requested information from music labels as well as streaming services related to any agreements with Apple.
Music has been one of the bigger areas of success for European startups, with Spotify and Deezer leading the way.
The potential move comes amid reports that the EC is preparing to file an antitrust case against Google. In general, the EC has been taking a more aggressive regulatory approach toward U.S.-based tech giants as it seeks to create a more favorable competitive landscape for European tech companies.
The timing of the probe could complicate life for Apple, which lost a major antitrust case last year in the U.S. related to its agreements for ebooks. The company was fined $450 million and forced to accept an antitrust monitor.
Apple is attempting to rethink its approach to digital music as its own sales of digital media have been declining. The company has been expected to relaunch its streaming efforts this summer, possibly at its Worldwide Developers Conference. The company acquired Beats last year for more than $3 billion, in part for its streaming music service, which is expected to be the core of the new offering.
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