The Day the Napster Died
Brad King 05.15.02
Napster, the software application that ignited the music file-trading frenzy, came to an apparent end on Tuesday after its board of directors nixed a sale that would have kept the company afloat.
When founder Shawn Fanning and CEO Konrad Hilbers abruptly resigned on Tuesday, the company that launched the most innovative Internet program was gone, just like that.
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Facebook is to Napster, as some yet to be named entity is to Gnutella. Back in the day, Napster built the world’s most popular and infamous file sharing service reaching over 80 million users atop a centralized index. Its central server index and its users were an easy target for the music industry to take down. In its place, a couple of guys from AOL’s Nullsoft unleashed Gnutella, a file sharing service with a distributed peer to peer architecture which lives on today. While external forces conspired to bring down Napster, internal forces concerned about privacy and data ownership may lead to Facebook’s implosion. Instead of trading in one centralized social network for another, users will seek to control usage and access to their data by deploying distributed peer to peer social networks.