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Apple Pulling The Plug On Beats Music

November 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple is dropping the ax on Beats Music on Nov. 30, shortly after launching the beta of an Android app for its Apple Music streaming service.

The company is now encouraging both Android and iOS users of Beats Music to transition to the Apple Music streaming service, which was launched by the company in June.

After the launch of the Apple Music app for Android phones, it has become easier for Apple to do the inevitable – shut down Beats Music, transition Android users and focus on Apple Music.

“All the pros that curated music for you are still crafting more amazing experiences,” wrote executive Dale Bagwell on a Beats support page. “Plus, on Apple Music, you’ll get even better recommendations based on music you already listen to and love, 24/7 global radio with Beats 1, exciting material from your favorite artist, and more.”

Beats Music subscriptions will be cancelled on Nov. 30, but users have the option to move their picks and preferences over to Apple Music, he added.

The company also provided detailed instructions for users moving from Beat Music to Apple Music on the support page. Apple had said earlier it was no longer accepting new subscriptions for Beats Music and recommended to users to move their current Beats subscriptions over to Apple Music.

Apple unveiled in June the subscription music service, which is priced at US$10 a month with a family service also available for up to six family members for $15 per month. The subscription rates vary in some countries.

The service offers a three-month free trial. Unlike some of its rivals, Apple Music doesn’t offer free music supported by advertisements.



T-Mobile Threatens ‘Data Thieves’

September 1, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

T-Mobile USA is on a mission to stop data thieves, which it says are taking advantage of the company’s unlimited high-speed data plan through excessive tethering — the use of smartphone data service on other devices.

The carrier offers unlimited 4G LTE on smartphones, but limits data usage through tethering to 7GB a month under a Smartphone Mobile HotSpot feature, which reduces speed beyond that limit. If a customer needs more LTE tethering, he or she can add on more.

But CEO John Legere has accused some users of “hacking” the system to swipe high-speed tethered data, by strategies like downloading apps that hide their tether usage, rooting their phones or writing code to mask their activity.

“It’s a small group — 1/100 of a percent of our 59 million customers — but some of them are using as much as 2 terabytes (2,000GB!) of data in a month,” Legere wrote.

“I’m not sure what they are doing with it — stealing wireless access for their entire business, powering a small cloud service, providing broadband to a small city, mining for bitcoin — but I really don’t care!,” he added.

Legere said the company was going first after the 3,000 users who know exactly what they are doing, as they can compromise the network experience for other T-Mobile customers. The company claims to have developed technology that can detect the people who choose to break its terms and conditions.

Erring customers will be warned, and then lose access to the company’s unlimited 4G LTE smartphone data plan, and be moved to an entry-level limited 4G LTE data plan, according to a support page.



HP Moves To Lower The Price Of SSDs

August 31, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

HP has become the second major player to bring an “affordable all-flash array” to market with new additions to the HP 3PAR StoreServ range.

The new 8000 series consists of a Starter Kit (20800 AFA) and software updates for the full StoreServ range, and HP can now offer multi-petabyte systems offering 3.2 million IOPS with scale out from two to eight controllers and proven tier-1 resiliency.

“Regardless of your size, budget, growth rate, quality of service requirements or even your storage network environment, HP 3PAR StoreServ storage offers a best-in-class flash solution to power your public, private or hybrid cloud with uncompromising adaptability from a single architecture,” said Manish Goel, senior vice president and general manager of HP Storage.

HP has also announced additions to the existing 20000 range, including a 20800 All-Flash Starter Kit clocking in at $99,000, and the 20450, a 6PB all-flash array with 1.8 million IOPS.

Using these products together can create up to 60PB of aggregate usable capacity. Both ranges offer the same hardware acceleration from the HP 3PAR Gen5 Thin Express ASIC, which offers double the bandwidth of competing platforms and up to 20GBps of read bandwidth.

Both ranges are now also certified for use in SAP HANA Tailored Data Centre Integrations. Priority Optimisation can bring latencies as low as 0.5 milliseconds through a QoS engine that requires almost no interaction from system admins.

This is just part of an aggressive strategy in cheap, scalable enterprise storage. In April the company launched the Openstack based StoreVirtual range.

HP has also announced data protection enhancements to the 3PAR StoreServ powered by StoreOnce Recovery Manager Central, offering complete granular recovery of backups taken incrementally based only on changed data to minimise resources.

Finally, Fibre customers can use the new HP SmartSAN, which uses Express Provisioning Technology to orchestrate SAN fabric zoning, reducing the process of SAN configuration by 80 percent.

The products are designed to be a little more robust than SanDisk’s InfiniFlash, which is designed for no more than a few writes of archiving, and the price tag goes up accordingly starting at $19,000, but it’s still a significant drop in price for all-flash and hybrid flash arrays.

An eight-node enterprise flash family with density equivalent to a mechanical drive array starts at $1.50 per gigabyte, based on its predecessor line. That’s a big drop given the speed advantages that could pay for itself in certain sectors.

The products will be rolling out over the next few months starting with the StoreServ 8000 which will be available immediately. More products will be available next month, and RMC-V brings up the rear in October.


Samsung Going HBM 2 In 2016

August 28, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) will define the future of graphics and it looks like Samsung will be ready to release products using the technology soon.

Our friends at Computerbase have broken the story about Samsung making High Bandwidth Memory HBM 2 memory. HBM 2.0 will find its way to HPC and Graphics cards in 2016 and Samsung expects that by 2017 this super-fast type of memory will reach the network market.  The plan is to see HBM 2.0 mainstream by 2018.

Our well placed, camera shy sources within the computer graphics industry have confirmed that SK Hynix and Samsung will be providing the memory for graphics cards in 2016. Hynix has started shipping the first generation HBM to AMD for its Fury X products and has a head start over Samsung.

Usually Samsung doesn’t fall that far behind and is quick to learn. We hear that both companies are competing for graphics cards designs in the 2016.

AMD has the Greenland high end GPU lined up while Nvidia has pinned its hopes in its first ever High Bandwidth Memory 2.0 product codenamed Pascal.

The second generation HBM offers 8Gb per DRAM die, 2Gbps speed per pin, 256 GB/s bandwidth and Four Hi Stack of 4GB or 8 Hi Stacks of 8GB per chip.

HBM2 means that there can be cards with four HBM 2.0 chips, 4GB per chip, or four HBM 2.0 chips with 8GB per chip. This results in 16GB and 32GB cards. This sounds like an appropriate amount of memory for high end GPU in 2016.

It was naive to believe reports that AMD will have SK Hynix love since it had a head start with the Fiji codenamed Fury X branded cards. Nvidia has close to 80 percent of the market, memory manufacturers including SK Hynix or Samsung cannot ignore that. They are in the business of making money.



Memory Chips Appear To Be Dropping In Sales

August 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The production value of memory chips in Korea fell by a percent on the previous quarter, affected mainly by a low bit growth of DRAM and NAND flash chips from SK Hynix.

Beancounters at Digitimes Research said that sales totaled US$12 billion in the second quarter of 2015, increasing 1 per cent from the previous quarter,

Server-use DRAM products became the primary product line for SK Hynix for the first time in the second quarter as sales of its PC-use DRAM chips suffered a significant decline compared to a quarter earlier.

Price reductions of PC DRAM chips were greater than market expectations in the second quarter due to an oversupply in the market, affecting sales performance of SK Hynix.

Samsung was less affected by declining PC DRAM prices because mobile DRAM products accounted for 35 per cent of its total DRAM income.

Samsung memory and semiconductor revenues hit a record high in the second quarter.

For the third quarter, the bit growth rates of NAND flash shipments at Samsung will rise 10 per cent and SK Hynix will increase 13 per cent on quarter.

SK Hynix will manage a five to eight per cent growth while Samsung is expected to see shipments of its DRAM chips grow 12-14 per cent.

Digitimes Researcher flipped their iChing coins and came to the conclusion that Korea’s memory products are expected to increase 3 per cent on quarter and 12 per cent on year in the third quarter of 2015.


Verizon Gearing Up For Super-fast 10Gbps Broadband

August 14, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Verizon engineers recently completed lab and field tests of a new fiber optic network capable of 10Gbps, or 10 times the speed of Google Fiber and some other currently-available networks.

A popular Verizon FIOS service now offering 75Mbps speeds can transfer a two-hour HD movie in 17 minutes; the new 10Gbps network can transfer the same movie in just 8 seconds, according to Shweta Jain, a FIOS engineer at Verizon. She spoke in a Verizon video to announce the successful testing.

Verizon hasn’t said where the service will first be offered and at what cost. The company will seek proposals for equipment and software later this year to support commercial development.

Both residential and business customers will benefit. Businesses gain the advantage of greater reliability since data will move over multiple channels in a single fiber optic cable, Verizon said. The technology has the capability of growing to as much as 80Gbps by simply adding new colors of light onto the existing fiber, each color augmenting the capacity by 10Gbps.

Fiber optic transmissions are limited only by the equipment on either end of a connection. In the recent tests, Verizon used equipment from Cisco and PT Invacao.

The field test was recently completed from Verizon’s central office in Framingham, Mass. to a FIOS customer’s home three miles away, as well as to a nearby business location. Lab testing was done in Waltham, Mass.

Verizon officials said the new technology, known as NG-PON2 (next generation passive optical network) could become an industry standard.

While Verizon FIOS faces competition from Google, AT&T and others, a spokesman said Verizon’s research is designed to prepare for the adoption of 4K video content and the expansion of the Internet of Things, with 25 billion Internet-connected devices expected in five years. “Our mission is to future-proof the network,” said spokesman Philip Santoro in an interview.




Samsung Rolls Out 256Gb V-NAND

August 13, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung has started mass producing what it claims is “the industry’s first” 256Gb 3D Vertical NAND, or V-NAND, in a race with the likes of Intel, Micron, Toshiba and SanDisk to become the industry’s flash memory champion.

Based on 48 layers of three-bit multi-level cell (MLC) arrays for use in solid state drives (SSDs), Samsung’s 256Gb 3D V-NAND flash doubles the density of conventional 128Gb NAND flash chips.

The new V-NAND chip consists of cells that use the same 3D Charge Trap Flash structure in which the cell arrays are stacked vertically to form a 48-story mass that is connected electrically through some 1.8 billion channel holes, punching through the arrays thanks to a special etching technology.

Samsung said that each chip contains over 85.3 billion cells, which can store three bits of data each, resulting in 256 billion bits of data in total, “in other words, 256Gb on a chip no larger than the tip of a finger”.

A 48-layer three-bit MLC 256Gb V-NAND flash chip delivers more than a 30 percent reduction in power compared with a 32-layer, three-bit MLC, 128Gb V-NAND chip when storing the same amount of data.

The new chip also achieves approximately 40 percent more productivity over its 32-layer predecessor during production, bringing greatly enhanced cost competitiveness to the SSD market while mainly using existing equipment.

In addition to enabling 256Gb, or 32GB, of memory storage on a single die, the firm’s new chip is said to double the capacity of Samsung’s existing SSD line-ups, providing a better resolution for multi-terabyte SSDs.

“With the introduction of our third-generation V-NAND flash memory to the global market, we can now provide the best advanced memory solutions, with even higher efficiency based on improved performance, power use and manufacturing productivity, thereby accelerating growth of the high-performance and the high-density SSD markets,” said Young-Hyun Jun, president of Samsung’s memory business.

“By making full use of Samsung V-NAND’s excellent features, we will expand our premium-level business in the enterprise and data centre market segments, as well as in the consumer market, while continuing to strengthen our strategic SSD focus.”

Samsung introduced the second-generation V-NAND chips a year ago, which consisted of a 32-layer three-bit MLC, and has patted itself on the back for ushering in the next generation “in just one year”.

The Korean chip maker plans to produce third-generation V-NAND throughout the remainder of 2015 in a bid to accelerate the adoption of terabyte-level SSDs. Samsung also plans to increase its high-density SSD sales for the enterprise and data centre storage markets with PCIe NVMe and SAS interfaces.

The announcement comes just days after Toshiba and SanDisk started production of the first 48-layer Bit Cost Scalable (BiCS) flash memory chip.

The joint venture, announced in March, will begin pilot production of BiCS, a two bit per cell, 128Gb (16GB) device with a 3D-stacked cell structure flash, in the second half of this year as planned.

BiCS is said to improve density and significantly reduce the overall size of the chip, and uses a ‘charge trap’ that stops electrons leaking between layers, improving the reliability of the product.

Toshiba is already using 15nm dies so, despite the layering, the finished product will be competitively thin and is expected to find its way into the usual suspects, including consumer and enterprise SSD drives, smartphones, tablets and memory cards.

Intel and Micron also announced big plans in memory for the year ahead. The firms have promised to deliver 3D NAND flash memory that has three times the capacity of that currently on the market, which is sampling now and is said to allow for up to 10TB SSDs in a standard 2.5in format.


Apple Offering Free Beats Headphones For Back-to-school Promo

July 27, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple launched its annual back-to-school promotion in the U.S., switching the deal to a free pair of Beats headphones for customers who buy eligible Macs.

The promotion launched later this year than in the past: In 2014, for example, Apple started its back-to-school campaign July 1.

Buyers who purchase a qualifying Mac between now and Sept. 18 receive a $199.95 credit toward a a pair of Beats Solo2 On-Ear Headphones, which list for that amount. Alternately, the credit can be applied to a pair of Beats Solo2 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, which run $299.95, making the out-of-pocket expense $100.

The promotion launches today in Apple’s retail stores and participating authorized on-campus stores but won’t appear on the company’s e-store until Aug. 6. first reported on the promotion earlier today.

This year’s back-to-school promotion gives parents of college students and incoming freshmen, and teachers and staff members of all grade levels — including K-12 — the credit when they buy a new iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Unlike years past, iPads and iPhones do not qualify.

For the last four years, Apple has handed out gift cards and maxed the amount of the offer at $100. Before that, a more generous Apple gave rebates of up to $300 toward the purchase of an iPod Touch.

Educational discounts on the hardware also apply. MacBooks and MacBook Airs are reduced by $50 for parents of students and for faculty and staff. The discounts on other products are $100 on MacBook Pros, $100 to $200 on Retina 5K iMacs, $50 to $100 on iMacs, and $200 to $300 on Mac Pros.




SanDisk Debuts New Wireless Streaming Thumb Drive

July 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

SanDisk has released the newest addition to its wireless storage line – the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick.

The Connect Wireless Stick ranges in capacity from 16GB to 128GB and in price from $30 to $100.

SanDisk’s first Wireless Stick, the Connect Wireless Flash Drive, was released two years ago and it came in 16GB and 32GB capacities and was priced at $49.99 and $59.99, respectively.

As its predecessor did, the new wireless thumb drive also uses a USB 2.0 (480Mbps) connection to upload content before being able to stream it over Wi-Fi. SanDisk claims the Connect Wireless Stick has enough bandwidth to stream high-definition movies and music to up to three devices at the same time.

The drive is capable of supporting a single video stream for up to 4.5 hours on a single charge, SanDisk said.

The new flash drive is controlled via the SanDisk Connect app, which is free and downloadable from SanDisk’s or or’s website.

The Connect Wireless Stick is compatible with iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Android devices, Windows PCs and Apple computers. It works with iOS version 8.0 or higher, Android 4.2 or higher, Windows Vista/7/8, Mac OS 10.6 or higher, and via web browser for other Wi-Fi enabled devices, according to SanDisk.

The thumb drive is 3.03-in x 0.75-in x 0.43 in. in size and comes with a one-year warranty.



MIT Develops Super Efficient Flash Memory

July 15, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have unveiled a new network design called BlueDBM that they claim could make servers using flash memory more efficient for big data applications.

Originally presented at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture in June the new flash memory is just as efficient as servers using conventional RAM, while preserving their power and cost savings.

Researchers at MIT were looking at ways to integrate flash memory for big data applications as an alternative to conventional RAM because it’s about a 10th as expensive and consumes about a 10th as much power.

“A processor can retrieve data from RAM tens of thousands of times more rapidly than it can from the computer’s disk drive,” explained MIT.

“But in the age of big data, data sets are often much too large to fit in a single computer’s RAM. The data describing a single human genome would take up the RAM of somewhere between 40 and 100 typical computers.”

The researchers presented experimental evidence showing that if the servers executing a distributed computation have to go to the disk for data even five percent of the time, the performance falls to a level that’s comparable with flash.

They were then able to make a network of flash-based servers competitive with a network of RAM-based servers by moving a little computational power off the servers and onto the chips that control the flash drives.

“By pre-processing some of the data on the flash drives before passing it back to the servers, those chips can then make distributed computation much more efficient,” explained the university.

“And since the pre-processing algorithms are wired into the chips, they dispense with the computational overhead associated with running an operating system, maintaining a file system, and the like.”

To show this, the researchers built a prototype network of 20 servers, each connected to a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), which is a kind of chip that can be reprogrammed to mimic different types of electrical circuits.

MIT said that each FPGA was then connected to two 500GB flash chips and to the two FPGAs nearest it in the server rack.

“Because the FPGAs were connected to each other, they created a very fast network that allowed any server to retrieve data from any flash drive,” MIT added.

“They also controlled the flash drives, which is no simple task. The controllers that come with modern commercial flash drives have as many as eight different processors and 1GB of working memory.”

The FPGAs also executed the algorithms that pre-processed the data stored on the flash drives, and to prove it worked the researchers tested three of the algorithms, geared to three popular big-data applications.

One was image search, or trying to find matches for a sample image in a huge database, another was an implementation of Google’s PageRank algorithm, which assesses the importance of different web pages that meet the same search criteria, and the last was an application called Memcached, which large database-driven websites use to store frequently accessed information.

MIT believes that there are quite a few applications which could benefit from accelerators like the three above and, since FPGAs are reprogrammable, they could be loaded with different accelerators, depending on the application.

“That could lead to distributed processing systems that lose little versatility while providing major savings in energy and cost,” added the university.



Car Companies Limiting Data They Share With Technology Partners

July 14, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Automobile manufacturers are limiting the data they share with technology partners Apple Inc and Google Inc through new systems that link smartphones to vehicle infotainment systems, defending access to information about what drivers do in their cars.

Auto companies hope that the vehicle data will one day generate billions of dollars in e-commerce, though they are just beginning to form strategies for monetizing the information. Apple and Google already make money from smartphone owners by providing a variety of products and services, from digital music to targeted advertising, and connecting phones to car systems will almost certainly extend their reach.

But as infotainment systems such as Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto become more widespread, auto companies hope to keep tech providers from gaining access to a wealth of potentially profitable information collected by computer systems in cars.

Some auto companies have specifically said they will not provide Apple and Google with data from the vehicle’s functional systems – steering, brakes and throttle, for instance – as well as information about range, a measure of how far the car can travel before it runs out of gas.

“We need to control access to that data,” said Don Butler, Ford Motor Co’s executive director of connected vehicle and services. “We need to protect our ability to create value” from new digital services built on vehicle data.

Consultant AlixPartners estimates global revenues from digitally connected cars will grow in value to $40 billion a year worldwide by 2018, from $16 billion in 2013, and auto companies would like to hold on to as much of that money as possible.

“The risk is, if you give up control and somebody else figures out that business model, then you lose the future revenue stream,” said Friedmar Rumpel, vice president in AlixPartners’ automotive practice.




Google Launches Free Streaming Music Service

June 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Google Inc has unveiled a free version of its music streaming service, as it sought to upstage the debut of Apple Inc’s rival service next week.

Google Play Music has offered a $9.99 per month subscription service for two years but Tuesday’s launch is the first free version of the streaming service. It is available online and will be available on Android and iOS by the end of the week, Elias Roman, Google product manager, said.

Apple said earlier this month it would launch a music streaming service on June 30 for $9.99 per month along with a $14.99 per month family plan, with a free three-month trial.

As with other streaming services, such as Spotify and Rhapsody, Google Play Music curates playlists. Users can tailor playlists based on genre, artist or even activity, such as hosting a pool party or “having fun at work.”

“We believe this is a play that will expose a lot of people to the service,” Roman said in an interview.

Unlike Google’s subscription music service, the free service will carry ads, be unavailable offline and exclude certain songs.

Roman said millions of people look at Google Play Music each month but are not ready to pay for a subscription. By offering a free version of the service, he said, the search engine hopes more people will be compelled to pay for an upgraded version.

Ted Cohen, managing partner of TAG Strategic, a digital entertainment consultancy, said the timing of Google’s launch was strategic.

“It’s a smart time to do it with all the attention around Apple,” Cohen said. “If they did it absent the Apple service, it wouldn’t be the same story.”

Google declined to say how many subscribers it has but said they more than doubled in 2014 from the previous year. But rivals Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music had far more mobile downloads than Google Play Music in 2014, according to data from analytics firm App Annie



Is An Asus Bid For HTC In The Works?

June 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Asustek Computer is possibly putting together a bid for HTC, but HTC said it wants nothing do with it.

Last week, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih said he wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of buying HTC.

Such a move could help both companies: Asus has been trying to move beyond its traditional PC business into sales of Android smartphones, and acquiring smartphone maker HTC would boost its market presence. It could also provide support for HTC, which has seen its market share dwindle in the face of tough competition from Apple, Samsung Electronics and Chinese smartphone vendors.

Such arguments hold no sway with HTC, though.

“We didn’t contact Asustek, and will not consider the acquisition,” the company said in a posting to the Taiwan stock exchange on Monday.

With a deal out of the question — at least as far as HTC is concerned — both companies will need other strategies.

Asus is counting on organic growth in its smartphone business. This year it aims to ship 17 million phones, double last year’s total, but still a tiny fraction of the global market. It has already started selling phones in the U.S. in a bid to reach its target.

HTC’s future financial performance remains in question. Earlier this month, it revised its financial outlook for the second quarter, and said revenue would be down further than expected on slower demand for high-end phones. In the past three months, the company’s stock price has also dropped by almost half.

In March, HTC founder Cher Wang took over as CEO, with the hope of engineering a turnaround. She has said the company will cut operating costs, and look for opportunities outside selling handsets.



Line Enters The Music Streaming

June 12, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Messaging app maker Line Corp rolled out its music streaming service in Japan on Thursday, getting a head start in the virtually untapped business for mobile music subscriptions in the world’s second-biggest music market.

Line’s move marks the most ambitious attempt yet to reverse the declining market for digital music in Japan, where compact discs still account for more than 80 percent of total music sales. Hobbled by rights issues, foreign companies have yet to break into Japan’s music streaming business.

Available for Android and iPhone users, the service, called Line Music, will offer unlimited access to a library of more than 1.5 million songs initially for a monthly fee of 1,000 yen ($8.13), or 20 hours of access for half that. Line, Japan’s largest social network with 58 million registered domestic users, said in a statement it would offer the service for free for the first two months.

Line Music is jointly held by Avex Digital, Sony Music Entertainment and Line Corp, which itself is owned by South Korea’s Naver Corp. Universal Music Group is also scheduled to take a stake in Line Music.

Line said it plans to expand its library, featuring domestic and overseas artists such as Taylor Swift and Sam Smith, to more than 5 million songs by the end of this year, and over 30 million next year.

The global market for streaming music has grown in recent years, offering record companies a much-needed boost amid a steady slump in digital downloads. Apple Inc this week unveiled the $9.99-a-month Apple Music service, aiming to muscle into an industry led by Spotify, Pandora and others.

Despite its size, the Japanese music industry saw revenues of just 5 million yen ($40,660) from subscription-based mobile music streaming in 2014, according to the Recording Industry of Japan. Overall sales of digital music in Japan fell for the fifth straight year, to about $350 million, against a peak of $1 billion in 2009.


Apple Music Being Reviewed For Potential Antitrust Violations

June 11, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The attorneys general of New York and Connecticut are investigating Apple Inc’s negotiations with record labels to find signs of potential antitrust violations.

The attorneys general want to know whether music labels colluded or were pressured into favoring Apple’s paid music subscription service, which was released on Monday.

Apple launched Apple Music on Monday, a $9.99-a-month streaming music service that will likely alter the dynamics of how consumers listen to music as the music industry grapples with declines in downloaded songs and tries to figure out new ways to get people to pay for music.

In a letter to the New York Attorney General, Universal Music Group said it had no agreements with Apple or music companies like Sony Music and Warner Music that would impede the availability of free or ad-supported services, or prevent it from licensing its recorded music to any music streaming service.

Universal Music also said it offers limited exclusive content to some music streaming services where such exclusivity is not part of an agreement to restrain competition.

“This letter is part of an investigation of the music streaming business, an industry in which competition has recently led to new and different ways for consumers to listen to music,” said Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for the New York attorney-general, Eric Schneiderman.

“To preserve these benefits, it’s important to ensure that the market continues to develop free from collusion and other anticompetitive practices.”

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the investigation. Reuters could not immediately reach Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.