Microsoft is developing a file-sharing technology that could make it easier to distribute big files such as films, television programs and software applications to end-users over the Internet. Code-named Avalanche, the technology is similar to existing P-to-P file swapping systems such as BitTorrent’s. Avalanche encodes the file pieces at the server with a special algorithm before they are distributed. When a user receives enough encoded files, they assemble them to make the original. The system differs from BitTorrent’s eponymous software in a few ways. It does not depend on central servers, called “trackers,” to orchestrate the download. The Avalanche client on each PC shares the files automatically among users; they do not look at other users’ hard drives to find what they want. And the system works well in smaller networks, such as a corporate intranet. Perhaps more importantly for content creators, Microsoft claims its system prevents users from redistributing copyright material, because Avalanche will only forward files that have been signed by the publisher

Microsoft is developing a file-sharing technology that could make it easier to distribute big files such as films, television programs and software applications to end-users over the Internet. Code-named Avalanche, the technology is similar to existing P-to-P file swapping systems such as BitTorrent’s. Avalanche encodes the file pieces at the server with a special algorithm before they are distributed. When a user receives enough encoded files, they assemble them to make the original. The system differs from BitTorrent’s eponymous software in a few ways. It does not depend on central servers, called “trackers,” to orchestrate the download. The Avalanche client on each PC shares the files automatically among users; they do not look at other users’ hard drives to find what they want. And the system works well in smaller networks, such as a corporate intranet. Perhaps more importantly for content creators, Microsoft claims its system prevents users from redistributing copyright material, because Avalanche will only forward files that have been signed by the publisher