Microsoft announced the development of Avalanche– a P2P filesharing system hyped as being a potential successor to BitTorrent – at an interesting time, just as hype of BitTorrent proliferating spyware flew across the bit-waves. Coincidence? I don’t like to speculate, but given the obvious redundancy of the BitTorrent/spyware hype (ANY p2p mechanism only serves out what’s put into it, of course), the fact that Avalanche isn’t much more than theory and paperwork right now, and the general timing of the news events, it sure feels a bit suspicious to me.
As you’d expect, Avalanche also recieved a healthy dose of punditry afterwards, specifically a rather pointed public lambasting by BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen calling Avalanche out as vaporware. Sour grapes? Perhaps. Interesting points, however.
My first thoughts on all the news were that MS simply needed to get a stake in the P2P community ASAP, although I found the absence of any DRM-related applications in the Avalanche news interesting, given its context and corporate sponsor. As Alex posed here, I’d also expected Google would jump first into the P2P market, but either way you slice it a migration to distributed transfer methods will definitely help free up per-capita Internet bandwidth and lower the overhead of media proliferation overall. Which can only be a good thing for us media junkies.
But can Microsoft build the right consumer-based application of this technology to gain leverage above and beyond the freely-available and popular open-source P2P alternatives? Should be an interesting project to watch either way… ;-)