It seems as though Microsoft is working on a technology that is very similar to the popular BitTorrent file sharing protocol. The technology is code-named “Avalance”, and is being created by researchers at the Cambridge facility:
While Avalanche is based on a different system than BitTorrent, both are essentially used for the same purpose–to distribute large files between a number of users.
A Microsoft research paper on the technology both praises and criticizes BitTorrent: “Despite their enormous potential and popularity, existing end-system co-operative schemes such as BitTorrent, may suffer from a number of inefficiencies.” The coding system used by Avalanche, which is based on network coding, is 20 percent more efficient with downloading, according to the research paper.
While the company currently has no plans to implement the technology in any products, or to otherwise release it, you never know, it could find it’s way into something like Windows Media Player in the future. A technology like BitTorrent that includes some sort of DRM would be perfect for Microsoft to allow movie downloads right inside Windows Media Player. I wouldn’t be surprised anyway!
Read: CNET News.com