With Napster edging toward a subscription-based service, attention has shifted somewhat to Gnutella, which has just gone though a renovation. According to a ZDNet writer, the latest version of the Windows client may provide reason for the music industry to worry. Much needed improvements in the interface and performance may win over Napster users who balk at fees. With no central server subject to court orders, Gnutella would be much harder to shut down than other file-sharing services.
In related news, a number of analysts have begun to express doubt that Bertelsmann AG’s investment in Napster will ever pay off. AOL Time Warner co-chief operating officer Richard Parsons, for instance, says that he has not yet seen a legal business model for Napster that makes money.