P2P: to be surprised soon?

I guess many people in the world paid attention to the most recent triumph of “KaZaa”. Slowly but surely KaZaa made it! As Yahoo Buzz Index World Report shows, KaZaa made its way into the top 3 most popular searches in the US. Remarkably, but KaZaa has become the top search in the UK, Canada, Germany, Mexico and some other countries.

As I was reading about KaZaa success, I asked myself if there is any interest towards developing P2P systems in my native country, Russia. It is no longer uncommon that many Western companies outsource their software development projects to the countries with much lower labor costs. Russia, India, and China got enough developers to build quality Web sites at a fraction of costs you would incur onsite either in the US or Europe. But how about developing much more complex solutions, like P2P systems? Do Russians and Chinese have any experience in developing such sorts of solutions? To answer that question, I searched through numerous Web resources. The answer came from CNEWS, a well-known Internet news agency. According to CNEWS, the ranking of the largest Russian IT companies looks as follows. I spent a great deal of time reviewing the product/ services offerings from those companies. Unfortunately, none of those IT giants seems to pay enough attention to the development of P2P, although P2P is a pretty hot sector and potential rewards could be high. I was intrigued with such lack of attention, especially because I personally knew many folks spending virtually nights and days exchanging multimedia files through P2P systems. To find if there are any P2P systems developed in Russia, I used www.yandex.ru , my favorite Russian search engine. After I typed in some key phrases such as “P2P”, “file swapping”, “peer-to-peer system”, “file sharing”, Yandex retrieved lots of links. No surprise, but the first pages were mostly dedicated to KaZaa and Napster: latest news and rumors, downloads, etc. However, at last my patience was rewarded. I came across Novosoft , a large software development company, featuring “file swapping peer-to-peer system” among other completed projects.

As I found out, developing a full-scale P2P system was not the only accomplishment by Novosoft. The company offers a full range of Web and mobile solutions. Because the development force mostly resides in Russia, Novosoft customers seem to be enjoying hefty development savings of up to 50-70% off the standard on-site development rates. Of course, when you look at “file swapping peer-to-peer system”, you could say it’s a classic client-server solution similar to the one by Napster. However, if you look at the company info in detail, you see that one of the core competencies for Novosoft is mobile/pocket pc software development and porting solutions from legacy Web to emerging mobile platforms. Why would that matter? Blending the promise brought to the market by cutting-edge mobile technologies with experience in P2P might well shock the IT market one day by giving birth to the “explosion solution” like KaZaa and Napster. There are already large online companies in the market who could buy that service (www.mail.ru, www.yandex.ru, etc), as there is clearly a demand for that sort of service from final users. What’s interesting about Novosoft, the company is located in a large scientific center at Silicon Taiga and heavily invests into its own R&D department. I think that clarifies why would the company be able to develop something more sophisticated rather than just another Web site.

Mikhail Filatov, Russia
Mikhail Filatov is an experienced software market analyst.