[FoRK] Is Streaming the Future of Software Distribution?

Peter Kilby peterkilby at dsl.pipex.com
Mon Nov 15 11:23:42 PST 2004


Op-Ed, November 15, 2004: When Jason wants games for his PC, he's more than likely to buy them from his local Wal-Mart or PC World superstore. And there's the problem. In all probability, Jason's got a cottage industry going making illegal copies of software and selling them on to his buddies at rock bottom prices. So, how do you stamp out piracy, which the Business Software Alliance trade group reckons is costing the software industry about $29 billion each year in lost sales?

Then there's software in the enterprise. Do IT administrators really want to continue updating each and every machine within the enterprise with the latest security patch or upgrade? Is this best use of their skillset? Or would they be better used in managing how licensed software is distributed and used on PCs across the enterprise?

It seems the software industry is approaching a cross-roads and questioning how software should be distributed in the future. Software leaders at the recent SoftSummit conference is Santa Clara had little else on their minds. For them, software nirvana could very well be based on software streaming technologies.

Some of the biggest players in the software industry are already ahead of the streaming curve. Take SOFTBANK BB Corp. of Japan as an example. It uses the streaming technology of Stream Theory to deliver software games packages on a monthly subscription basis to Yahoo BB's 4.5 million users. Thanks to Stream Theory, games can be used and enjoyed on user desktop and laptop PCs, but never copied. Why? Quite simply, because the software is never installed on a hard disk. 

Inevitably, Microsoft is also getting into streaming software technologies. Stamping out piracy of all its Windows-based titles is a sure revenue winner. It's turned to the AppExpress streaming technology of Endeavors Technology to deliver trialware versions of popular software titles such as Encarta to users on demand. Thanks to AppExpress, Microsoft's software can be used and tried on a PC, but never copied.

Then there's the student world. Adobe uses AppExpress to stream software titles on a rental basis to Drexel University's students via campus servers for a few dollars a month. Students need powerful software, but often only need it for a month or two to complete a project. The standard "perpetual license" is not appealing to them, so they, too, often resort to piracy. Is streaming how Adobe and other software will be distributed within schools and universities in the future.

Adobe, Autodesk, MCI, Microsoft, Parsons, SOFTBANK, Volvo IT, Wyse . they're all into streaming software.

So, who's the major force in streaming technologies? A UK-listed company called Tadpole Technology (LSE TAD) seems well positioned to become industry leader. Just last month, it strengthened its position by acquiring Stream Theory and combining it with subsidiary Endeavors Technology.

"Tadpole's vision is to become the industry norm for streaming technology in both the enterprise and consumer games markets," says Keith Bigsby, CEO of Tadpole's streaming technologies businesses.

With Stream Theory's and Endeavors' growing customer bases, Tadpole might just have done that. And Jason might just be looking for other sources of easy income.

All trademarks mentioned in this release are the property of their respective owners.

Websites -

Tadpole Technology - http://www.tadpoletechology.com
Endeavors Technology - http://www.endeavors.com
Stream Theory - http://www.streamtheory.com

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