Former Netscapers launch P-to-P startup

Kontiki, a peer-to-peer (P-to-P) startup backed by a handful of former Netscape Communications executives, unveiled itself Monday, touting its content delivery technology that it says can outperform traditional content distribution networks.

Using the P-to-P method made famous by file-swapping service Napster Inc., Kontiki said in a statement that it can deliver digital media ten times more efficiently and at one-third of the cost of traditional networks, such as those operated by Akamai Technologies Inc. and Digital Island Inc.

The Kontiki Delivery Network is largely software-based, with some servers controlling the system. Kontiki determines which computers have requested the same files, identifies the best paths across the Internet to connect them and uses this virtual network to deliver the files. Akamai and Digital Island have invested heavily in their own networks.

In addition, Kontiki said it saves cost by time-shifting downloads. Files requested by users are delivered at off-peak hours, resulting in economic bandwidth use. Typical content distribution systems charge customers for fixed connections or peak bandwidth utilization, Kontiki said.

The company waves away one of the main obstacles for commercial P-to-P networks: lack of control. The computers that make up the network are owned by individuals; there is no saying when they will disconnect. Central network management makes the Kontiki Delivery Network reliable and secure, according to Kontiki, adding that the network has self-healing capabilities, with an automatic fail-over to origin servers.

The Kontiki network is designed to distribute TV-quality video, CD-quality audio, software and games. PC users will be able to download a free client to find, schedule, download, and play files. Users will also be able to subscribe to automatic delivery services. Copyright is protected through integrated digital rights management. Kontiki will go into private testing this week with a public beta planned this year.

Mountain View, California-based Kontiki has been operating in stealth mode for nine months and currently employs 50 people. The company received US$18 million in funding from a number of venture capitalists, including The Barksdale Group, founded by former Netscape Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jim Barksdale. Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen is another investor.

Kontiki's management is also made up of several former Netscape and America Online Inc. (AOL) employees. Mike Homer, chairman and CEO, was general manager of Netscape's Netcenter portal site. Wade Hennessey, chief technology officer (CTO), worked on personalization services at AOL.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joris Evers

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?