Kazaa, Skype Creators Turn to TV

The creators of the popular Skype and Kazaa applications have turned their sights on television, aiming to create a new way to distribute video over the Web, BusinessWeek.com reported Sunday. Dubbed the "Venice Project," a product could debut as early as late this year, and negotiations are apparently underway with major television networks.

The hope is that the service will become the method by which all networks distribute their video content across the Web, although how it would work is not known at this time.

Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis have assembled a worldwide team of developers to complete the project. However, the new project does not mean either would leave Skype, which eBay bought last year. In fact, the company seems to be encouraging the two to continue innovating, although no investment has been made in their current venture.

If Zennstrom and Friis' past projects are any indication, their newest venture should have no trouble being successful. Kazaa was one of the leading P2P networks behind Napster in the early part of the decade, with millions of users. Skype in just three years has amassed some 100 million users worldwide, and is the world's fastest growing online messaging program.

According to BusinessWeek, Zennstrom would invest in the company, although play a limited role in the overall product. Much of that work would be left to Friis, who would spend a good deal of time developing the business model behind the new service. Neither would be involved in the day to day operations of the company.

"Skype co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are at it again. After disrupting the music and voice cartel's operations, the duo is taking on television," Internet pundit Om Malik said. "It shouldn't come as a surprise."

Malik said he believes that the duo's days at Skype are numbered, and their attention is likely no longer on the VoIP application.

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