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Mshow.com and Akamai in Alliance

Akamai and Mshow.com today announced an alliance where Mshow will utilize Akamai's streaming delivery network to enhance its services.

Mshow ( www.mshow.com) provides companies with streaming solutions for business communications, training, broadcasting, and Web collaboration. It features telephony applications, audio and video streaming, and other rich media mixed together with interactive elements like chat, polls and messaging.

The deal is interesting because Akamai (www.akamai.com) has its own e-business conferencing products. Akamai president, Paul Sagan, says that MShow will resell applications that are applicable to its customers. "Also," Sagan points out, "Akamai is focused on 'one to very many' applications, while MShow is highly interactive with more collaborative features."

Mshow says this the deal with Akamai will allow them to stream richer content, leveraging Akamai's distribution network. "It's not a change in offerings for us," said Mshow CEO and founder, Bob Ogdon, "but the ability to offer high quality and richer media to end users."

Ogdon says that many organizations use Mshow inside and outside of their organization. With Akamai's offering, companies will be better prepared to deliver their streams over the Internet.

MShow will also become a reseller of Akamai's content delivery services, including Akamai's FreeFlow Streaming services, as well as Akamai's interactive broadcast streaming media application systems.

Sagan says the deal today is important to Akamai. "It allows us to grow our channel to add strategic resellers," he said. Currently Akamai has a "very rich reseller channel" of about 20. "But each are focused on different customers," he said. "Our goal is not to partner with everyone on earth but to specialize in vertical industries."

Both Akamai and Mshow said that the overall dismal market is a concern but since both are focused on business applications of streaming, they're not feeling the pinch. "The downturn is in B2C," said Ogdon. "We're focused on the enterprise." He said that companies are coming to Mshow primarily to reduce time to market, not so much for saving money.

"The benefits are that new products come faster, and today there's greater competition than ever so you want to roll out faster," said Ogdon. "Getting a product out to the channel used to take months, now it can take hours or days. That takes months off a product release or off training time. They don't look at that as pure economic savings."

Last week Microsoft, Yahoo! Broadcast, Digital Island and others said that B2B streaming was the real growth area. Microsoft president and CEO, Steve Ballmer, predicted that eventually every company will use streaming media on their intranets.

Mshow and Akamai no doubt agree. "We're very focused on business usage of streaming," said Sagan. "That's where people have money and spend money."

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