BitTorrent Buys uTorrent Application

BitTorrent, the company behind the file sharing protocol of the same name, has used some of the $25 million it recently received from investors to purchase the popular uTorrent application. uTorrent is one of the top BitTorrent download programs for Windows.

Although BitTorrent has long offered its own application for the protocol, others such as Azureus and uTorrent have been the primary innovators in the space, building up large user communities in the process. uTorrent will ostensibly be merged with the official BitTorrent client.

Ludvig "Ludde" Strigeus, author of uTorrent, wrote in a forum post Thursday that not much should change for the uTorrent community.

"The intention is to maintain the website as it is, and keep the forums and community active," he said. "Moving forward behind the scenes, we will continue to develop µTorrent and will be using the codebase in other applications, especially ones where a fast, lightweight implementation is more suitable, such as embedded systems on TVs, cell phones, and other non-PC platforms."

Reaction to the news on the uTorrent forum was decidedly mixed. Some users congratulated Strigeus for reaping the rewards of his hard work, while other questions the intentions of BitTorrent, a company that has recently turned to the movie studios in order to build a legitimate business around a technology that has largely been used for piracy.

"The day there's a single byte of DRM software in my uTorrent client, I'm gone. I don't trust BitTorrent Inc since they made a deal with the movie industry, which values its profit margins more than its customers," wrote a user by the name of Ikonoclasm. "uTorrent just went from being hands down the best client available to a murky grey zone as its fate is determined by people who are paid by an industry convinced that the technology is solely used for illegal purposes."

"How will Ludde be able to ensure that the client code is as optimized as it would have been had he done it himself?" another user asked. "That was the reason Ludde has always been the sole developer, so this move comes as a surprise. I think we'd all like a little more elaboration on the future of uTorrent development."

A FAQ posted about the acquisition states that Strigeus will become a technical consultant to BitTorrent, and that uTorrent and its Web site will continue to exist - at least for the time being. "Although uTorrent is lightweight, it is missing the patented innovations BitTorrent has made at the protocol level. It is also lacking an implementation for Mac and Linux. We will improve uTorrent in these arenas," the FAQ reads.

Terms of the deal between uTorrent and BitTorrent were not disclosed.

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