Microsoft has bought Pando, according to Israeli website Calcalist. The article says that Microsoft spent no more than $11million on the technology and implies that it intends to use it in the next Xbox. But what is Pando?
It’s a file-sharing technology that works peer-to-peer (P2P), similar to bit-torrent. The website pitches it as a kind of add-on service for anyone wanting to send large files via IM, email or social networks. It’s also a content delivery network that can host assets for websites, similar to Amazon Web Services that many of your favourite sites (including this one) probably use in some way.
The report also indicates that the CDN is used by at least one television network in the US – NBC – to power their HD TV streaming. This leads to some interesting speculation about possible uses Microsoft might have for the tech.
The next Xbox, which this report seems to think will be released in June (rather than simply shown off at E3 in June), will doubtless have some form of streaming technology associated with it. The simplest thing would be to continue the partnerships they already have with myriad content streaming companies around the world. But the PlayStation 4 reveal put a heavy emphasis on their Gaikai streaming and their partnership with Ustream to share your gaming with the web. Microsoft must surely have something similar planned for their next home console and that might be made much easier for them with this acquisition.
Of course, Microsoft is more than just its Xbox division (although not much more, these days) so it’s equally conceivable that they wanted the Pando technology to power some aspect of their Windows Phone App Store or even something as mundane as Service Pack delivery to Windows 8 users.
Time will tell.