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BitTorrent, Inc. Acquires µTorrent
December 7, 2006
Thomas Mennecke
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There's little doubt that BitTorrent - both the protocol and the company - are quickly becoming the most important Internet event since the arrival of the World Wide Web. In many ways it already has supplanted the importance of the web, as it's responsible for utilizing a majority of the Internet's bandwidth and is the definitive distribution method for millions.

The road towards creating an Internet phenomenon has not been easy for file-sharing and P2P developers. In fact it has been a road filled with legal obstacles since the concept went mainstream with Napster. To date, the only successful P2P protocol seemingly capable in traversing from the legally questionable to outright legitimate is BitTorrent.

With a massive userbase and highly advanced protocol capable of transferring large files with ease, the entertainment industry has taken a much softer stance on the BitTorrent issue. Both mainstream and independent studios are gradually using the BitTorrent protocol to distribute their work and take advantage of the massive user potential.

As BitTorrent, Inc. continues to exist unmolested in the P2P fray, it has slowly built up its reputation as a pro-artist and legitimate avenue for online distribution. Its understanding between the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) in November of 2005 helped solidify this fact, as well as its continued expansion of entertainment on BitTorrent.com.

Now it appears BitTorrent, Inc. has taken the next step - the acquisition of µTorrent (microTorrent.) In an joint announcement made today, the two firms have publicly solidified the merger.

"Together, we are pleased to announce that BitTorrent, Inc. and µTorrent AB have decided to join forces," a forum post on uTorrent states. "BitTorrent has acquired µTorrent as it recognized the merits of µTorrent's exceptionally well-written codebase and robust user community. Bringing together µTorrent's efficient implementation and compelling UI with BitTorrent's expertise in networking protocols will significantly benefit the community with what we envision will be the best BitTorrent client."

Since µTorrent's arrival in 2004, it quickly became the BitTorrent client of choice for a significant amount of users. It's small memory footprint, single executable, and diminutive size (~1 megabyte) has simplified BitTorrent for millions of users. Often considered one of the last heroes of file-sharing, today's news will no doubt spell concern for the µTorrent faithful.

However in attempt to thwart this inevitable concern, both BitTorrent and µTorrent have been adament that the user experience will remain unchanged. In fact, BitTorrent, Inc. assures its users this event will only benefit the end user.

"Following the acquisition, patented content delivery innovations made by BitTorrent, Inc. will be integrated in the µTorrent client in a manner that will remain seamless to the community of users. Ultimately, the integration of best-of-breed BitTorrent technology will result in an improved client and an enhanced user experience. It will also accelerate BitTorrent's plans to provide high-performance content delivery services that power websites seeking the most efficient platform for distributing large, high-quality files. Lastly, the incorporation of µTorrent's lightweight codebase strengthens the adoption of BitTorrent technology in embedded systems, including televisions, mobile phones and other non-PC platforms."

For now, both BitTorrent, Inc. and µTorrent will remain visually independent. There's a lot of action going on behind the scenes, and the integration of the two clients will evolve as time progresses. BitTorrent, Inc. saw a great client with the loyal following of millions, and today's event is likely just the beginning of the great BitTorrent consolidation. The details of the acquisition are currently not being made public.


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BitTorrent :: BitTorrent Inc.

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