KaZaA Founder Tips His Hand
In an interview with Boardwatch, Light Reading's sister site for the telecom service provider industry, Zennstrom let it slip that he is working on a P2P voice communication business (see KaZaA Founder, Niklas Zennstrom).
He says it would allow people everywhere to talk to each other using intelligent end devices communicating across the Internet using P2P protocols. The need for "big hummer" telephone switches would disappear.
"Will it use SIP [session initiation protocol]?", Boardwatch asked.
“NO,” said Zennstrom, assertively.
Hmmm. How will it work then? He declined to say, for now. But expect something later this year.
Meanwhile, Zennstrom has other irons in the fire -- notably Altnet Inc., which is the paid-content distribution mechanism integrated with the KaZaA Media Desktop client. It's a joint venture of Brilliant Digital Entertainment and Zennstrom's third company, Joltid Ltd. (more on Joltid in a moment).
Essentially, Altnet provides a marketing and distribution campaign for content owners and distributors. All of the Altnet files are wrapped with DRM (digital rights management) software, and users pay for them. Songs that are legally on the KaZaA network with permission from the content owner are clearly marked with a gold label.
So why pay for them if they're also available, for free, on KaZaA? In the interview, Zennstrom likens this to selling mineral water to people who could drink tap water for free [ed note: which has always had me scratching my head].
As for Joltid, which Zennstrom just launched, it aims to help service providers reduce P2P congestion in their networks, using caching technology (see Euro ISPs Deploy P2P Cache).
Interestingly, Zennstrom says he doesn’t use the KaZaA service he invented to download music. “I buy CDs,” he retorts.
Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?
— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Boardwatch