The European Commission has cleared Apple's $3bn acquisition of US headphone maker and music streaming business Beats.

Brussels had been concerned the takeover of Beats Electronics, founded by rapper Dr Dre and music industry giant Jimmy Iovine, by the technology giant could hurt competition as both make headphones.

However the European Union's executive arm has ruled that even combined they would have only a very modest market share and face stiff competition from the likes of Bose, Sennheiser and Sony.

In terms of digital music sales, the Commission came to a similar conclusion.

Last week, audio technology veteran Bose sued Beats Electronics over the alleged use of patented technology for cancelling noise in earphones.