CNET también está disponible en español. Don't show this again. "What we're all observing is the legal history," said Peter Christy, an analyst for the Nets Edge Research Group, who has followed the sector closely since its beginning. "Once you start the (legal) process, you can't just say you don't want to do it anymore.". At the center of the legal battles is Boston-based Akamai, the company that launched the content-delivery network craze when it burst onto the scene in 1999. Akamai, like a handful of other companies before and after it, figured out clever ways to avoid network congestion by storing pieces of Web sites, applications or streaming media in hundreds of servers located inside local networks around the world. Using its system, Web surfers going to Yahoo's site might download much of the content from servers physically close to them, and avoid digital traffic jams at Yahoo's central servers, for example.
The idea took off, and Akamai became an overnight success, After going public, its market capitalization soared above $30 billion, without ever having turned a profit, Rivals sprung up using similar techniques, but only two serious competitors remain: Cable & Wireless-owned Digital Island, and independent Speedera, All three are now mired in bitter interlocking lawsuits, Akamai was the first to launch litigation, suing Digital woman butterfly iphone case Island in late 2000 for patent infringement, That first lawsuit against Digital Island has percolated through courts for nearly two years, and a judge finally issued an injunction against Akamai's rival last Wednesday..
But the lawsuit did touch a firestorm of other litigation that promises to drag on for years. Cable and Wireless has filed three patent-infringement lawsuits against Akamai. It's already lost one of them, but executives believe they have a chance with the other two, or at the very least, they're angry with Akamai and want to extract their own pound of flesh. They're not suing any of their other rivals. "As a matter of course, we're not that litigious or aggressive," said Cable & Wireless Associate General Counsel Howard Lasky. "Akamai is another matter.".
With Speedera, the only other pure content-delivery company, the relationship is even uglier, Akamai originally sued the company for violating the same patent allegedly infringed by Cable & Wireless, But earlier this summer, the suit woman butterfly iphone case took a bizarre turn when Akamai accused Speedera's chief technical officer of hacking into a partner's database and stealing proprietary marketing information, Speedera, denying everything, has countersued Akamai for trade libel and unfair competition, What, if any, effect all of these lawsuits are having on the underlying market is difficult to tell, Analysts say customers are still largely making their decisions on what technology actually works, and all three services seem to function reasonably well, offering slightly different cost structures and features, Though the business never reached the heights promised in the Net's go-go days, major Internet companies, from Yahoo on down, continue to see the services as a critical part of being online, analysts say..
Akamai, with yearly revenue of about $163 million in 2001, still has a commanding market lead, with about 60 percent to 70 percent of the market, according to Gartner analyst Robert Batchelder. Despite its smaller market share, Digital Island has several financial advantages over its larger rival, since it's housed inside a larger network that can help it defray infrastructure costs, analysts say. Speedera, the smallest of the survivors, claims it will be cash-flow positive by the end of this quarter.