Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
This man is working flat out to revolutionize the Internet and is having plenty of success at it. He’s not up there just yet, but give it a couple more years and Zennstrom could be gracing the boards with Bill Gates. Hell, Zennstrom and Gates even look alike.
In case you've just turned on a PC for the first time, KaZaA is a piece of software that when downloaded from the Internet onto a desktop computer, allows the user to swap music files across the Net with other KaZaA users. Millions and millions of songs have been traded in this way and the craze has the record industry cracking down on everyone from 12-year old girls to geezers.
It’s a serious problem, but it’s not holding Zennstrom back by any stretch. He’s launched Altnet, the world's first secure P2P network promoting content for sale to millions of consumers, and two more software companies this year -- Joltid and Skype -- that utilize the same peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture that made KaZaA such a success (see Skype Me? Skype You! and Skype Spooks Operators).
Joltid provides software that caches P2P content, and Skype is a P2P telephony service. Nothing new in IP telephony, you rightly point out: It’s been done to death by Pulver and other tree-hugging geeks, so why will Skype be any different?
Here’s our theory. It has the Zennstrom zing about it and a certain something the Swedes do so well: simplicity. Think Ikea, but for Internet services. Low-priced, available everywhere and super cool.
But does Zennstrom have enough sway to break the U.S. carrier market? If you thought the music industry was full of self-righteous, stuffy old coffin-dodgers, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Ring up Ma Bell, Niklas, and you’ll see what we mean.