Akamai's Red Swoosh deal continues to make waves. Om sees it as a sign for P2P becoming a mature technology that is starting to find its way into almost everything from VOIP to video delivery.

One detail that I find interesting is that Red Swoosh lately has been working on their own browser-based Bittorrent client called Foxtorrent, which merges the Bittorrent protocol with the Red Swoosh P2P Content Delivery Network.

Why is this relevant? Red Swoosh used to cater to the very same audience as Akamai, simply offering a different type of technology for pretty much the same goal: Moving lots of bits for big web platforms.

The Silicon Valley-based startup has been spending lots of energy shifting focus lately though. Red Swoosh founder Travis Kalanick had some blunt words to say about the reasons for this shift twelve months ago:

"For a start-up, rigidity is a death-knell. Especially for Swoosh. . . . we started our company 4 years too early. . . only now is the market catching up to our ideas and technology. Thatís potentially 4 years of rigidity built into my company. We need renewal as bad as any large tech company thatís gotten used to business as usual.

Re-launch your company. Rewrite your core client software; rewrite your backend systems, re-think and redesign your website and customer touch-points. Renew your thinking. Renew your inspiration. Renew your creativity. Breathe life into your company. Innovate your routine. Rebrand. Refocus. Regenerate."


What followed was a beta launch of Red Swoosh 2.0, offering P2P content delivery technology to end users without big pockets. This relaunch was clearly geared towards bloggers, video podcasters and other creative folks in the field of user generated content. And with that, the business model started to shift from licensing deals to advertising.

Red Swoosh 2.0 hasn't really gotten too much traction so far. The technology clearly has it's advantages to Bittorrent, especially if you don't want to deal with the hassles of setting up your own Tracker server. But it's hard to convince people to install yet antoher piece of software just to get some free content.

This is where Foxtorrent comes in. A solid Bittorrent implementation for Firefox could help the Redswoosh team to gain some significant traction - and in turn push their own technology as a copy and paste P2P solution for bloggers and podcasters.

Now how does Akamai fit into this picture? To be honest, we don't know yet. The recent press release seems to focus on Red Swoosh's established business:

"Red Swoosh's technology is designed to empower content publishers and distributors to manage and monetize large-file distribution to edge devices, such as set top boxes and personal computers."


To me the key seems to be that edge devices are run by end users who are increasingly becoming content producers as well. Akamai could profit off of this by getting a whole new customer base, and potentially a new revenue model as well. Or they could just see Red Swoosh as a way to save some bucks while moving the same old bits for the same old platforms.

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