RE: CNET: Former Netscape duo reunites for P2P start-up

From: Adam Rifkin (
Date: Tue Mar 06 2001 - 11:31:36 PST

Regarding Zodiac...

> A kind of Netscape Communications reunion tour is bringing Jim Barksdale
> and Marc Andreessen together again, as the two work with a stealth company
> that hopes to merge some of Akamai Technologies' approach with a
> Napster-like model, sources say.

When last I checked, Akamai's market cap was $1.4 billion and
Napster had no business model.

> ...Funded in part by Benchmark Capital, The Barksdale Group and several
> Netscape alumni...

"From the funders who brought you Tellme, Webvan, and Crossgain..."

> The idea, according to sources, is to distribute content to individual
> users more quickly than is typically possible.

Faster than light speed?

> Although details are slim on how Zodiac aims to do this, sources say the
> company is developing a model that takes a page from Akamai and
> peer-to-peer companies like Napster, with a bit of now-defunct PointCast's
> old push technology thrown in.

Oh goody, throw some PointCast in there, that'll give em a business model.

> "I've seen a lot of proposals for peer-to-peer content networks in the
> year, and I couldn't in the end say that any of them were a good idea,"
> said Peter Christy, a Jupiter Research analyst.

Amen, brother.

> Andreessen when reached declined to comment specifically on the start-up.

Translation: "Andreessen was so busy on the Loudcloud roadshow that
even his assistant Arsho wouldn't return our phone calls..."

> Content distribution networks need to be absolutely secure and
> Christy said. That's difficult to do when bringing individual computers
> into a network responsible for distributing major media content, he said.

Amen, brother.

> Zodiac appears to be going down a path blazed most effectively so far by

What path? The path of selling lots of stock?

> Individuals using the system might select what type of content they want
> view, whether it's content from CNN or the latest Billboard top 10 hits.
> That content would be pushed to people's computers and stored there. It
> would be available to them, but also could be available to other nearby
> computer users who later decided they wanted the same content, sources

Isn't this called Freenet?

> Like technology from Akamai, which tries to host content inside Internet
> service provider networks physically close to computer users, this would
> potentially greatly speed downloads and access times to popular content.

And where's the 10x improvement over what Akamai offers?

> Zodiac appears to be on the leading edge of a next wave in peer-to-peer
> technologies, aimed at creating industrial-strength content-delivery
> services with the help of a model that so far has been used largely for
> trading music and video files of doubtful legality online.

And where's the need for "industrial-strength content-delivery services"?

> With the firepower of Andreessen, Barksdale and the other Netscape alumni,
> Zodiac appears poised to gain significant momentum directly out of the
> gates, however.

Wake up CNET, it's 2001. It's a nice year to visit. Perhaps you'd even
to think about living here someday...

> Andreessen has been involved in other infrastructure projects in recent
> years that could aid Zodiac immeasurably. Alongside his Loudcloud
> full-service Web infrastructure company, the Netscape co-founder is an
> investor in Sigma Networks, an infrastructure provider that links
> high-speed backbone and metropolitan fiber networks.
> Sigma recently netted a massive $435 million in its first round
> of funding, an astonishing amount considering current market conditions.

Hey kids, wanna know how to make a million dollars?
First, you get four hundred thirty five million dollars...

> Larger technology companies are increasingly interested in the potential
> for peer-to-peer services.

Translation: "Larger technology companies are increasingly interested in
new ways to sell their products."

> Sun Microsystems Chief Scientist Bill Joy said
> late last month that his company is kicking off an effort to create a
> standard development platform for peer-to-peer services, dubbed Jxta.
> Intel has also taken a lead in creating a peer-to-peer working group that
> hopes to develop standards for the young model.

The party's over, people. Will the last one out please turn off the lights?
This is California, after all; we have to start conserving energy...


In the midst of the p2p hype these days, I think a lot of the beautiful advantages of web applications are getting forgotten about. Applications delivered over the web still have big advantages in terms of accessibility-from-anywhere, maintainability, ease-of-adoption, collaboration, and multi-platform support. -- Evan Williams,

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:13:38 PDT