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The Respect of Your Peers?

Peer-to-peer computing is coming, But is it good for your company?

This story appears in the June 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Back before Napster's legal morass, the ultrahip Web music provider's ability to attract tens of millions of MP3 file-swappers virtually overnight caught everyone's attention-and led to dozens of copycat peer-to-peer networks. Indeed, P2P networking among individuals is supposed to be the proverbial new computing paradigm. Some have gone so far as to deem 2001 "The Year of the Peer."

If so, that's not necessarily a good thing. There's a chance your company could get served a heaping helping of P2P before the concept is fully cooked. So? That's how streaming video, biometrics and most new technologies come to fruition, isn't it? True, but the acronym "P2P" doesn't refer to only a technology. It's also a socio-economic philosophy that's best summed up as "What's yours is all of ours."

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