Friday, July 08, 2005

Opera-Bit Torrent: A Deal with the Devil?

Mark Evans

Not sure what to make of a deal that will see Opera launch a technical preview that integrates BitTorrent to support faster downloads. Of course, Opera says these would only be legal downloads such as "Linux software and computer game demos" rather than all those songs and movies that have driven the entertainment industry crazy. Opera said it twigged onto the benefits of Bit Torrent after the release of Opera 8 knocked out its servers due to high demand. There are a couple ways to look at this deal. It's either the beginning of the legitimization of Bit Torrent and torrent technology as a way to efficiently deliver digital content. This would give Opera a competitive advantage/head start over browser rivals such as Internet Explorer and Firefox. Then again, this could be an act of strategic desperation by Opera, which has lost its status as the "other" browser since Firefox exploded on the scene. Sure, Bit Torrent has cache and its become one of the tools to download movies, TV shows and music but it's a digital rebel - in other words, a modern-day Napster. The entertaiment industry has already pursued legal action against other Torrent sites so Opera shouldn't be surprised if it finds itself under the legal spotlight.


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