Paidcontent published an "interview with the pirate king" today, the king being Bittorrent CEO Ashwin Navin. In the text writer Jeremia Kiss reported that Bittorrent is employing 32 people now and that their new content distribution platform will launch at the end of the year.

One detail Kiss mentioned was previously unreported tho. From the text:

"There will be plenty of changes to improve the user experience and the new service will no longer be open source."

This caused a bit of a stir in the P2P world, with P2Pnet rumbling about "BT's relegation to the dark realm of closed systems". It's also a bit surprising because much of the success of Bittorrent is based on it's Open Source license, which allowed software deveopers from Azureus to Opera to develop their own clients.

P2P Blog asked Bittorrent Inc. for a clarification, and the company's Director of Communications Lily Lin replied:

"We are committed to maintaining an open-source reference implementation of BitTorrent. That hasn't changed. To power our new retail marketplace and for other technology implementations, there will be an enhanced, closed-source version of the BitTorrent client."

This certainly makes more sense than going closed source completely. One can assume that the "technology implementations" have to do with the previously announced cooperation with Cachelogic, allowing Bittorrent to maintain localized superseeds of licensed / commercial content.

It's hard to tell yet which, if any, effect the development of an improved but closed source client will have on Bittorrent's client market share. But it's probably safe to say that it won't help to improve the already strained relations between Bittorrent and other vendors.
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